Ammon News, Culture & Society

Swiss Foreign Minister inaugurates project in Azraq refugee camp

[5/20/2017 1:03:07 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Swiss Foreign Minister, Didier Burkhalter, late Friday officially handed over a borehole and the main connecting pipelines, funded by his country, to provide sustainable and safe drinking water supply in Azzraq refugee camp. The project, which was announced by Swiss Foreign Minister in October 2015 during his last visit to Azraq camp, is financed and supervised by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in cooperation with UNHCR, UNICEF and Jordan's Ministry of Water and Irrigation . The project’s cost amounted to 2.2 million Swiss Francs (1.5 million Jordanian Dinars) and will allow a reduction of running costs related to the water supply of approximately 650,000 JOD per year. During his visit to the camp, which hosts 35,500 Syrian refugees permanently, Burkhalter took at first hand look at the Jordan Civil Defense paramedic services provided to the refugees, including two fully equipped ambulances with trained staff . The ambulances and the trainings of the paramedics were provided by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, which is part of a wider project through which Switzerland will supply the Jordan Civil Defense with 143 ambulances until 2018. Burkhalter expressed his appreciation to the Kingdom for the great effort of providing safety and security to more than 650,000 Syrian refugees that have fled the ongoing violent conflict in Syria, noting that Switzerland will support Jordan within its international cooperation program with approximately 26 million Swiss Francs (18 million Jordanian Dinars) in 2017. In the evening at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa (WEF-MENA), currently held on the shores of the Dead Sea, Burkhalter co-hosted a "Swiss dinner", during which the role of young entrepreneurs in fostering economic prospects in the Middle East and North Africa was discussed. Discussions during the dinner focused on unemployment, viewed by young Arabs as the biggest obstacle facing the MENA region, according to the Arab Youth Survey 2017. Also on Friday, Burkhalter and his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing bilateral political and security policy consultations. During their meeting, the two officials discussed bilateral relations and issues of common interest. The Swiss minister expressed his appreciation for Jordan’s contribution in welcoming Syrian refugees fleeing war. The WEF-MENA, which is held this year under the theme "Enabling a Generational Transformation" aims at building inclusive economies, enabling collaborative innovation, empowering youth and supporting humanitarian efforts and diplomatic dialogue. Hosted in Jordan for the 9th time out of a total of 16, the forum is a unique opportunity that gathers more than 1,100 political and business leaders from more than 50 countries, to discuss issues of empowering women and the youth, aiming at creating jobs for the unemployed and addressing the needs of refugees and host communities.

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Queen Rania Chairs Royal Health Awareness Society Board of Trustees meeting

[5/15/2017 9:58:27 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah chaired the Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS)’s annual Board of Trustees Meeting, on Monday, during a visit to the Ballas Secondary School for Girls in Ajloun Governorate. Her Majesty and attending board members overviewed the progress of the society’s programs, including Nestlé’s Ajyal Salima program and the Healthy Kitchen Project, that are aimed at raising health awareness in schools across Jordan. The Director of the society, Ms. Hanin Odeh, and the Ballas Secondary School for Girls Principal, Ms. Hanan Ayoub, welcomed Her Majesty to the school, where she joined other board members for the meeting. During the meeting, Ms. Odeh reflected on the Royal Health Society’s achievements over the past year, which were made possible through partnerships with the Ministries of Health and Education, the private sector, and other international organizations. Her Majesty emphasized the importance of encouraging positive health practices and stressed the need to focus on maintaining the cleanliness of public areas and parks. She said that this is only achievable through local campaigns aimed at raising the public’s awareness and setting foundations to limit adverse behaviors like littering. Ms. Odeh also expanded on the society’s priorities and future strategic plans for the upcoming year, highlighting their emphasis on developing existing programs and assessing their impact and scale in reaching a larger audience of beneficiaries. Her Majesty then headed to the school’s first floor library where she observed fourth and fifth graders from different schools across Ajloun partake in hands-on activities from Nestlé’s Ajyal Salima program. The Queen also met with a few school teachers before heading to the Ballas Charitable Society across the street to take a look at some of the Healthy Kitchen Project’s operations there. At the society, Queen Rania was received by its President, Mr. Mohammad Ananbeh, who introduced Her Majesty to the local women working on producing healthy meals for schools in the area. The women described how beneficial the Healthy Kitchen Project has been in providing healthy meals to local school children, and expressed how integral the project has been in generating employment opportunities for local women wishing to support their families. The Royal Health Awareness Society is a Queen Rania initiative established in 2005 for the purpose of promoting health awareness in Jordan and empowering Jordanians to adopt healthy lifestyle options. The society implements programs that are aligned with national health priorities and are designed to respond to local community needs. The Nestle Ajyal Salima program and the Healthy Kitchen Project are two of the society’s initiatives targeting school children, youth, and the wider Jordanian community. The Ajyal Salima program was first launched in Lebanon in collaboration with the American University of Beirut’s School of Agriculture and Nutritional Sciences in October of 2010 with the objective of spreading nutrition awareness, healthy eating habits, and an active lifestyle among school students. In Jordan, the program was launched through the Royal Health Awareness Society in 2015, and has thus far been implemented in 36 schools across Amman, Irbid, Madaba, Ajloun, Zarqa, and Balqa governorates, targeting over 6,000 students and 115 teachers in total. The Healthy Kitchen Project was launched by the Royal Health Awareness Society in 2015 in partnership with the Ministries of Education and Health and the World Food Program. The project aims to provide healthy food alternatives to students by linking schools to productive kitchens within community based organizations. The project has already generated one-hundred job opportunities for local women across Jordan. As part of the project, these women have received training on operations and meal production standards, and have been taught basic financial literacy skills as well. The Ballas Secondary School for Girls was established in 2009 and currently has over 350 students between the fifth and twelfth grade.

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Princess Basma attends 40th anniversary of JOHUD

[5/1/2017 4:13:35 PM]

AMMONNEWS - HRH Princess Basma, president of the board of trustees of the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), on Sunday attended the fund’s 40th anniversary celebrations. During the ceremony, held in Jerash, 48km north of Amman, Princess Basma commended the fund’s achievements, calling it a “national institution” that contributes to achieve development through its partnerships with institutions from both the public and private sectors. For her part, JOHUD Executive Director Farah Daghistani showcased the fund’s 2020 plan to boost transparency, accountability and sustainability.

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Queen Rania Joins Participants of Thru Hike 2017 in a Visit to Dana Village

[5/1/2017 3:34:50 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah visited Dana Village, on Monday, taking part in a portion of the Thru Hike program organized by the Jordan Trail Association (JTA). Her Majesty’s visit comes in support of local tourism initiatives that aim to improve the livelihood of local communities and encourage eco-tourism. Queen Rania was welcomed by Ms. Muna Haddad, the President of the Jordan Trail Association, and Mr. Bashir Daoud, the General Manager of the association. The Queen then joined Mr. Andrew Evans, a National Geographic writer, and Tony Howard and Di Taylor, Authors of three outdoors books on Jordan and the first to conceive of the idea of the Jordan Trail, along with other internationally renowned writers and Jordanian volunteers for a walk towards the village. At the village, Her Majesty stopped by Dana Shop and the Mini Souq where she watched local women bake traditional "shrak" bread using a "saj" oven. She also took part in conversations with local community members about the touristic programs that help bolster their economic opportunities. Her Majesty then met with some of the Jordan Trail Association staff members, attendees from the local community, volunteers, and hikers who have previously crossed the Jordan Trail. At the meeting, the Queen commended all ideas contributing to the creation of exceptional local innovations like the Jordan Trail. She also stressed the vital role that the Jordan Trail plays in promoting tourism and giving participants a distinct view of Jordan and its local communities, while creating income-generating developmental opportunities. The meeting was moderated by Mr. Daoud, who along with Ms. Haddad, discussed the objectives of the Jordan Trail Association. Beneficiaries of the trail shared some of the positive socio-economic impacts that the project has had on local communities situated across its various stops. Hikers who have previously walked the trail also shared their experiences with Her Majesty. Speakers included the first three women to hike the entire trail. The Jordan Trail Association was established in July of 2015 with the aim of developing and maintaining The Jordan Trail and supporting the development of economic opportunities along its 52 participating villages. Since its inception, the association has received support from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the USAID Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism project, the Jordan Tourism Board, and various local companies and individuals. The trail constitutes a 650 kilometer path stretching from Um Qais in the north of Jordan to Aqaba in the south. It requires a total of forty continuous days of walking to be completed. The first official Thru Hike – the crossing of the entire trail – commenced on March 31st, and will end on May 13th. The Thru Hike is intended to become a yearly event open for public participation.

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Bazaar offers opportunities to deepen Jordanian-Turkish trade, cultural ties

[4/29/2017 4:52:13 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Dozens of Jordanians on Saturday gathered for the 2nd Turkish and Jordanian Products Bazaar, where they had the opportunity to shop, taste food and discover Turkish culture and products. The bazaar was opened by Murat Karagöz, Turkish Ambassador to Jordan, who expressed his pride in the event, which was organised by the Turkish ministry of economy and Ankara’s embassy in the Kingdom, in cooperation with the Turkish-Jordanian Friendship Association (TJFA). The ambassador said that the exhibition was of great importance in promoting Turkish and Jordanian products, especially following celebrations of 70 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Amman and Ankara. “In all areas, you can find the best products to be tasted, so we are proud of our entrepreneurs. People would like to improve their relationships in the fields of economy and trade [through] marketing, branding and direct sales.” Karagöz told The Jordan Times. The ambassador noted that the main aim of such activities was to bring new investments to both Jordan and Turkey, and to better implement the free-trade agreement. Manar Balbeisi, chairperson of the TJFA board, said that the event sought to introduce as many people as possible to the Turkish brands that have recently entered the Jordanian market, as well as to offer Jordanian companies a chance to explore the Turkish market and improve cooperation. “The largest sum of the proceeds will go to support our [JTFA] annual charity work during Ramadan [the holy fasting month], through Ramadan charity boxes which we distribute to support needy families in different governorates,” Balbeisi added. Forty-five companies participated in the exhibition of products and services, 57 per cent of which were Turkish and the rest Jordanian. Food, home accessories, electricity, tourism and educational services, furniture, clothes, accessories and shipment services were exhibited at the one-day bazaar. The Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO)’s acting CEO Riyadh Khatib highlighted the exhibition as a good opportunity to increase commercial cooperation between the two countries and to bring new investments to Jordan. Aisha Gul, a Turkish trader who exhibited handmade home accessories, said that she knows from personal experience that Jordanians are interested in Turkish products, because she has lived in Jordan. Mohammad Abu Taleb, the owner of the ON LINE clothing store in Amman, said that his participation in the bazaar aimed to advance his company’s promotional goals, particularly as he has recently become the local agent a Turkish clothing brand. Sales manager at Grand Arabia logistic services company, Amjad Sharar, said that their participation in the bazaar was especially important given that the shipment sector between Jordan and Turkey is witnessing a high level of competition among companies in both directions. “Turkey has become a destination for Jordanian tourists, as it offers good packages at good prices,” Sharar noted. A Turkish language student, Muna Taleb, said that people are increasingly choosing Turkish products for their high quality, while interest in the Turkish culture is also growing, in part because of its closeness to the Arab, Muslim culture.

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Queen Rania visits QRFCC in Amman

[3/28/2017 12:12:11 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, on Tuesday visited the Queen Rania Family and Child Center (QRFCC)’s newest interactive programs for child and family welfare in Jordan. Her Majesty was welcomed by Enaam Barishi, Director General of the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), and Ghada Abu Al Rous, QRFCC’s Manager. The Queen’s first tour stop was "Beit Sgheer," or "My Little Home," a simulated home environment that includes a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, a living room, a garden, and a ‘feelings’ room. The team at QRFCC explained that the program aims to teach children and families about concepts of child abuse prevention through hands-on activities. Her Majesty was introduced to the Power of Art program which offers interactive art projects including pottery, drawing, and puppet making to help raise its participants’ awareness on child safety. Parents often partake in some of the program’s sessions. The Queen then joined several Syrian refugee families and listened to the mothers recount how art has helped them and their children communicate more effectively and develop new skills. Barishi and Abu Al Rous guided the Queen through the center’s Green House Corner, which hosts joint activities for children and parents to help improve their self-esteem with a variety of gardening and planting activities. The space is also used for children to apply the social and financial literacy skills they have built through the international financial literacy project, "Aflatoun." Her Majesty’s last stop was at Al Karma Kitchen, the center’s newest branch, established in March of this year for the purpose of providing economic empowerment opportunities for women. The Queen Rania Family and Child Center is a community center established in 2005 under the Jordan River Foundation’s Child and Safety Program. The center currently offers child protection activities targeting areas with more than 250,000 inhabitants mainly from Jordanian, Palestinian and Syrian origins. Today the center offers holistic services that aim to combat child abuse and strengthen families across Jordan. It also works on spreading awareness on child protection and strengthening family dynamics in order to create safer environments for children. The Jordan River Foundation has also been working since 1997 to ensure the proper implementation of child rights and the reinforcement of appropriate child-rearing methods within families in Jordan.

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Jordan honours women on Mother’s Day

[3/21/2017 4:44:09 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordanians celebrate Mother’s Day today along with several countries around the world. Every year on March 21, Jordanians have developed a habit of celebrating their female relatives — mothers, grandmothers or mothers-in-law — by buying them gifts and spending time with them. Over the years, the occasion has become increasingly commercialised, with advertisements of offers and discounts on potential gifts such as home appliances and jewellery displayed in newspapers, social media and street billboards. Meanwhile, the current economic difficulties facing many families has moved Mother’s Day gifts down the list of spending priorities in March. Asma Ali, an employee at a private information technology company, said she usually takes her mother out for a nice dinner or buys her a decent gift, but this year, she is replacing that with a bouquet of flowers. “It is difficult to allocate at least JD50 for the gift, especially since salaries are due in a week or so,” she told The Jordan Times over the phone on Monday. Jamal Wreikat, a father of three, agreed, adding that he does not feel a need to buy his mother a gift on this occasion, especially since she lives with him. “I am constantly blessed by my mother’s presence at home and I do not wish for an occasion to bring us closer together,” he said. Yet, Anas Arrab still makes sure he does something special that day for his mother and elder sister. “Even if I do not believe in this occasion, I do not want my mother to feel that the sons of her relatives or neighbours have bought their mothers gifts and her son did not,” he said, noting that he always buys her something she needs. As for Marah Najjar, another interviewee, the day is an occasion to celebrate with her aunt and two grandmothers, as her mother passed away five years ago. “There is always that ache of losing my mother, but I am glad I can make other important women in my life happy,” she said. Mother’s Day is celebrated on various dates in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. The celebration of Mother’s Day began in the United States in the early 20th century, according to web sources. In the Arab world, one of the main instigators of Mother’s Day was writer and journalist Mustafa Amin after he heard a story of a widow who raised her son, explained the website Live Rich, Live Well. The woman is said to have made many sacrifices so that her son could become a doctor. When he achieved success and got married, he left her on her own, showing no gratitude. Amin found this appalling, according to the website, and campaigned to have a Mother’s Day held in Egypt. The first official Mother’s Day in Egypt was marked in 1956, and other Arab countries later adopted the holiday. *JT

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