Jordan Dev Net: A Forum For A Simple Exchange of Information.

This site had an intriguing premise. The content below is from the site's 2002-2006 archived pages.

Why A Development Website?

We felt we needed a forum where those involved in development could simply exchange information. We don't have time to meet and discuss our work - most of us are very busy and don't want to spend even more time in meetings. But as a result we miss opportunities to learn from each other's experience. We repeat the same mistakes, we duplicate efforts, and fail to maximize our impact. The best way to tackle this problem seemed to be through a development website. We knew we didn't want a simple database - driven format. They are useful, but very few people log on more than once. We wanted to create more of a magazine format with news, activities, notice boards, job offers and a discussion forum. Our aim is that people will log on because they find the site interesting and because it meets their needs.

Who is it for? 

Anyone who is interested in development- they can be government, donors, INGOs NGOs, voluntary societies, the private sector, and civil society. The focus is mainly on work carried out in Jordan but we have plenty to learn from regional and international experience. The information is on the site because someone involved in development thinks its important enough to have put it there. People will log on to look for information that they can use. So its really important that the website is easily accessible and has up-to-date information. We've thought about different possible users and how the site could meet a range of different interests. We think the site is flexible enough to meet new needs as they emerge.

What will the format be? 

Its more like a magazine, but there is a database of development organisations embedded in the site, and there are hyper-links to other sites. We want the news section to be easy to read-pictures, small stories, successful projects, reports on key activities.

In essence it's driven and managed by the organisations that work in development in Jordan. If they want to have their details on the site they contact the webmanager and, provided they meet the criteria then they put their information on the site. They have a password for their particular entry and they can update their own information regularly. When they have events they want to advertise then they send the information to the manager, similarly if they are searching for staff or research and consultancy services.

How is it different from other websites?

It's owned by the user-not by one organisation- and the aim is to promote good development practice in Jordan. Many organisations have their own sites (and we provide hyper-links) but this one is shared. It will provide a good challenge to see whether the donors / INGOs and NGOs can actually co-operate and coordinate enough to run a website effectively!

Who decides what information can go on the site? 

We had lots of discussions on this point: how to ensure that the information was honest and accurate and didn't offend or break any laws. But then we realised that it should be self-policing as far as possible. All the organisations putting information on the site have a common aim: to support the development of Jordan. It's not the interests of anyone to put information onto the site that creates any risk. So, as far as possible we won't edit any entries.

The right of veto 

But….there may be times when there is a need to 'edit' the site in some ways. We all felt that we need to set standards of 'best practice' in development. Especially in terms of ensuring that the site was free from discrimination- like using gender- neutral language etc, and presenting 'excluded people' in a positive light. But we have different standards of what is 'politically right', especially when people are writing in a second or third language (English). Often the discussion about the words we use forms part of the core substance of our development work- so we have to provide a forum where people are not afraid to use terms they feel familiar with. We'll have to review the issue later on.

Why is the site in English when most people here speak Arabic? 

In the long-term we want the site to be bi-lingual, but there were practical constraints (it would have been much more expensive to establish the site in Arabic in the first instance). We recognise that one major aim is to coordinate development activities and to utilise resources more effectively. The language of development funding in Jordan is English- so we started with English. If the site is successful, then we will add the Arabic interface as well.

Who owns and manages the website? 

The website brings together various organistions working in development. And so they 'own' the concept of the site and take responsibility for making it work. In the first stage we had funding from the UK bilateral aid programme (DFID Department for International Development), but the long-term aim is that a donors and funded NGOs will group together to support the core costs. The technical management of the site is carried out by Jemstone, a UK based media and development organisation.

What about organisations in Jordan which don't have access to internet? 

One of the interesting issues in Jordan is the extent of internet access throughout the country - there are internet cafes in most towns here- and people are much more aware of the role of the internet than in many other countries. But lack of internet / computer systems doesn't mean that organisations can't get access to the information on the site: there's a full time webmanager working on the site- she can download information and send it by fax or by mail for those organisations that can't get access directly. We start our contact with most organisations through a simple phone call - and much of the information exchange can take place in this way.

How do you see the future of the website?

We hope it will be unpredictable - it's a new idea for most of us and we can't really plan how it will change overtime. There's a summary of the main project documentation available: using a DFID standard Logframe approach to set out the Goal, Purpose, Outputs and Activities of this small project- and we'll be reviewing its progress over the next year. It's a process project, Which means we agree the 'purpose' level of the project, and we can be quite flexible about the best way to achieve it. That's one of the main advantages of working with a single bilateral donor- they can be more flexible in the way the project changes in response to new needs.

Sponsors play a vital role in supporting social responsibility initiatives, and we've seen an inspiring level of commitment from both local companies in Jordan and international businesses, including those in the US. One noteworthy example is a family from the Middle East who, after relocating to the US, established a successful business. Their company has become a beacon of social responsibility, offering significant employment opportunities to immigrants in the NYC area and serving as a role model for integrating business success with community support. A US company known for its bulk toilet tissue and hygiene products, operating through, exemplifies corporate social responsibility at its best. They have stepped forward with the noble intention of donating their products to refugee camps in Jordan. This act of generosity highlights their commitment to aiding vulnerable communities and underscores the importance of businesses playing an active role in humanitarian efforts. These examples reflect a growing trend where businesses are not just about profit but also about making a meaningful impact on society. By supporting refugee camps and providing employment to immigrants, these companies are setting a high standard for social responsibility, demonstrating how businesses can be a powerful force for good in the world. Their actions inspire others to follow suit, creating a ripple effect of positive change across communities and borders.



The potential possibilities of such offers to reach out are exactly what we are encouraging.



News 2006


One million homeless and displaced people in Lebanon -- please donate

Questscope has written that a Lebanese NGO is launching a campaign to provide a sleeping bag for each displaced person.


World Press Photo Exhibition to Jordan

The annual World Press Photo Exhibition is coming to Jordan this month for the first time. Two hundred of the most dramatic, moving and significant pictures of last year demonstrate the power of news photography to tell a story and make an impact.


Students begging in streets Amman

As summer holidays begin, hundreds of students from impoverished families have flocked to upper-class neighbourhoods of the capital to eke out a living by begging near upscale coffee shops and busy traffic intersections.




News 2005


Campaign to measure pollution percentage begins today





The Ministry of Environment will launch a campaign today to measure the percentage of pollution resulting from vehicle emissions. Conducted in cooperation with the Public Security Department, the campaign will target the capital and the Zarqa, Balqa, Irbid, Karak and Aqaba governorates over a period of six weeks. The campaign is part of the ministry\'s measures to implement recommendations of the ministerial committee tasked with finding solutions for pollution caused by vehicle emissions. The goal of the campaign is also to reduce pollution percentage in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol, which the Kingdom along with other 141 countries is a party to





Princess Muna opens charity bazaar




HRH Princess Muna on Monday opened a charity bazaar at the Hyatt Amman Hotel displaying handicrafts by 20 women running small businesses. At the bazaar, which was organised by the Humanitarian Aid Club, 50 paintings by Karam Saad and Dina Darwish are on display. The proceeds of the bazaar will benefit 52 underprivileged university and community college students, according to the club\'s president, Dalal Etoum.





Survey to determine poverty levels in northern region




Minister of Social Development Riad Abu Karaki on Sunday held talks with committees tasked with conducting a comprehensive survey of the poverty situation in the northern region of the country. At the meeting in Yarmouk University, he said the survey was required to guarantee that aid reached the targeted poor families in urban, rural and badia areas. Families whose monthly income does not exceed JD150 are eligible for assistance from the National Aid Fund.





Human rights experts to convene today




Amman will today host a meeting of 80 human rights experts and activists who are to discuss a mechanism for enhancing the concept of humanitarian security in the Arab countries. The Jordan Institute of Diplomacy, which is sponsoring the two-day meeting, said the participants represent 11 countries plus UN agencies operating in Jordan.





NCFA adopts national family strategy




(JT) — The National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA), board of trustees officially adopted the National Strategy for the Jordanian Family, during a meeting on Thursday.

Convened by NCFA Vice-President and Secretary General Senator Rowaida Maaitah, members of the board were briefed on the council\'s main achievements in 2004, the current progress of work and the units\' 2005 plans of action, including the budget, which they also endorsed, according to a NCFA statement.

The National Strategy was developed through the concerted efforts of specialists, researchers and officials, under the supervision of the council, and in close consultations with ministries, public institutions, civil society organisations and families.

It is based on analytical research and studies pertaining to the status of the Jordanian family, its traits, and needs, as well as the challenges facing it, with the aim of identifying tools through which the family can better perform its duties and enjoy its rights, while assuming a pivotal role in development.

The strategy stems from local laws and legislation; international agreements and covenants Jordan has ratified; and a national family-centred vision, based on human, Jordanian and Arab religious and moral principles and values, as well as the council\'s mandated mission, vision and roles, the statement said.

The NCFA also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Awqaf and Affairs, under which they will collaborate in areas relating to awareness and training on issues pertaining to the family, in general, and family protection, in particular.

During the meeting, the first issue of a policy newsletter was unveiled, which corresponds to the council\'s role as a national policy think-tank.

The first installment tackles the long-standing issue of poverty, shedding light on the country\'s status quo, including the challenges it faces, the pivotal role of policy and decision makers in dealing with such challenges and the progress Jordan has made in the field in relation to the rest of the Arab world and the international community


Draft Childhood Act


            With the aim of advocating for the Draft Childhood Act, currently on the Parliament’s agenda , a roundtable discussion was held on Thursday (7 October, 2004) at the Amra Hotel. It was organised by the National Council for Family Affairs and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Jordan.

Chief of the Islamic Justice, Sharia judges, members of parliament, including senators and members of the Lower House, the judiciary, the head of the legislative bureau, and human rights advocates stressed the importance of Parliament adopting the Childhood Act.

The Act represents Jordan\\\'s effort to harmonise its legislation with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also emphasizes the child’s right to participate and to be heard. Thus, the Draft Law focuses on protecting the rights of the child and ensures that children are protected against abuse and neglect.

In addition, the Draft Law calls for raising the age of criminal responsibility from 7 to 10 years. The draft law also holds child care providers, such as teachers and parents, responsible if they witness a child being abused and do not report it.

Jordan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991 declaring its commitment to upholding children’s rights. Article 4 of the Convention stipulates that: “States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognised in the present Convention.”

Since the ratification of the Convention, the Kingdom has embarked on a process of legislative change. Although many laws have been changed and been amended, the process has neither been systematic nor comprehensive. There is a need for a law that guarantees for children all their rights based on the principles highlighted in the Convention. The Draft Childhood Act encompasses all rights and principles. It takes into consideration the best interests of the child such as in decision making, the right to participate, non-discrimination, and the right to be protected against violence, neglect, and abuse.

These rights are an integral part of Islam which cherishes a child starting with the right to life, the right to health, nutrition, education and non-discrimination.


News 2004


UNICEF’s Progress For Children report launched globally


            Even with child mortality reduced by nearly two thirds in the past decade, some 600,000 children under-five continue to die every year in the Arab World. At least half of these deaths are easily preventable through improved nutrition and immunization interventions, says the Progress for Children Report, launched by UNICEF.

This new report measures the advancement of governments in meeting their obligations agreed to at the UN Special Session on Children in 2002 and addresses one of the Millennium Development Goals objectives to reduce under-five mortality rates by two thirds between 1990 and 2015. The Millennium Development Goals set precise standards for measuring results in developing countries and for rich countries to help fund development programmes. Current UNICEF projections show that some 53 developing countries will meet the goal. In the Middle East and North Africa Region, two-thirds of the countries are on track to meet this objective as of 2002.

The Arab World showed an impressive decline in infant mortality and under-five mortality rates in the last decade, from an average 80 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 58 in 2002. The Arab region was the first in the developing world where most countries reduced mortality rates of under-five children to the target of 70 per thousand by 1990, well ahead of the global goal. But the region is still faced with the challenge of preventing child deaths caused by infectious, parasitic, and communicable diseases, often associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, poor sanitary conditions and early child malnutrition.

While the region has done well in reducing child mortality, especially if compared to other regions (East Asia and Pacific, Developing countries, sub-Saharan Africa) there has been a decade of stagnation in sustained reduction of neonatal deaths. Some countries that have performed acceptably in the region will now need to devote greater efforts to curbing infant and perinatal mortality while other high mortality nations will need to reinvigorate their basic child survival strategies.

UNICEF considers infant and child mortality rates the most important indicators of a nation\'s development.

\"Taken as a whole, the Arab world has witnessed a far faster reduction in young child mortality than we have seen in other regions. However, good regional averages obscure a few countries where young child mortality remains surprisingly high. We have also seen examples of countries reversing their progress. This remains a vulnerable region, and one in which we can take little comfort in averages\", said Thomas McDermott, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

With malaria, diarrhoea, respiratory infections, measles and perinatal mortality still among the biggest child killers in the world, the Arab World needs to improve the quality and access to basic health services for children, expand immunisation and adequate antenatal and Emergency Obstetric care for women.

Understanding the variables in a mixed environment

Gulf countries have the lowest infant mortality rate in the Arab world (11,3 deaths / 1,000 live births). Not limited to holding back infant mortality, these figures also reveal great progress in the Gulf’s effort to combat illiteracy and improve the quality of health services and facilities. UAE presents the highest performance in child mortality reduction in the whole Region, with IMR of 9 per 1000 live births and U5MR of 8 per 100 live births.

According to WHO, among nations that achieved the greatest reduction of U5MR between 1970-2000 were UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Libya . (Btw. 10-25/1000 live births). However, where sustained progress has been noted, interventions to further reduce child mortality will need to change. While several countries in the region are on the right track towards reducing under-five mortality (U5MR), recent statistics reveal that middle- and high-income countries now need to focus on factors that lead to neo-natal mortality.

Even in countries with good health indices and high GNP, early malnutrition and low birth weight are seen a key challenge. This is largely due to poor maternal health and nutrition, high prevalence of anaemia coupled with decline in exclusive breastfeeding and inadequate complementary feeding practices. In contrast, children in countries with the highest mortality rates in the Arab world (Somalia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Yemen and Sudan) are subject to malnutrition coupled with a serious lack of access to potable water, poor sanitation (spread of water-borne disease, cholera, typhoid, diarrhoea); inadequate maternal and child-health care (antenatal complications, high infant and peri-natal mortality) and high illiteracy among women.

In spite of the fact that maternal mortality has decreased significantly in Arab countries over the last decade, the regional average (440/100,000 live births) remains higher than the global average of 400/100,000 live births, with sub-regional disparities ranging from 23 in Saudi Arabia to 550 in Sudan and over 1000 in Somalia in 2000. At least eight countries report high MMR (above 100 per 100,000 live births). Despite improvements in immunization, the region has yet to eradicate polio, a goal that should have been accomplished by the year 2000. Each year, roughly 13,000 women in the region die of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, although the maternal mortality ratios vary greatly by country. Three out of five maternal deaths in the region occur in four countries: Egypt, Iraq, Morocco and Yemen. Yemen and Iraq have some of the highest levels of maternal death in the world, with around 300 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Although the current prevalence of HIV is low in the Arab world, it has the second fastest rate of increase in the world due to increasing risk factors (premarital and extra marital sex, commercial sex, injecting drug use, men having sex with men). Unless timely efforts are in place, HIV threatens to reverse the gains in child survival in the region.

A good regional average, not good for some countries

Statistic generalizations may not always alert on the specific situation of low-income and/or crisis-ridden countries or regions in particular. Djibouti, for example, has an infant mortality rate of 100 per 1,000 live births and U5MR of 143/1,000, second only to Somalia in the Arab world. Major causes of mortality are diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, acute respiratory infections and malnutrition. War-stricken Sudan has an infant mortality rate of 64 deaths/1,000 live births and 94/1000 U5MR; an average that may well be amplified by the effect of continuing conflict and displacement on women and children.

Last September, WHO published a survey on mortality in Darfur. It concludes that 6,000- 10,000 people are dying each month in the crisis-racked region and death rates amongst internally displaced people still surpass the threshold for a humanitarian emergency, underscoring the need for urgent increases in assistance to displaced people in the region. The survey found the mortality rate to be 1.5 deaths per 10 000 people per day in North Darfur, and 2.9 in West Darfur. Many of these deaths are related to diarrhoeal illnesses, but violence continues to represent the most significant cause of death for the 15-49 age range.

War has also boosted poverty and mortality in formerly buoyant nations such as Iraq, a case that clearly contributes to a significant decrease in the regional average. Indeed Iraq is the only country in the Arab World where the child mortality rate increased from 1990 to 2002. There, 1 in 10 children die before the age of five.

In comparison, a number of countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia are middle income countries that nevertheless have a strong political commitment and a high level of investments to social development, especially health and education that have been the key factors in reducing child mortality.

\"Mortality among children can only be reduced if we take up interventions that go well beyond health care. We have to also address education of parents, and potential parents - particularly girls. \", said UNICEF Regional Director Thomas McDermott.

A more judicious analysis of the “root causes”

The Arab world has also to tackle vulnerability from the gender perspective. Despite progress over the past few decades, many gender indicators in the region are among the worst in the world. In general, Arab women are not empowered to better their quality of life and that of their families .

The fact that more than half of Arab women still cannot read or write translates into stunted development for more than half of Arab children. Studies show that mothers with more education are more likely to have their children immunized. In the Middle East and North Africa, the proportion of children 12 to 23 months who had been immunized was 60% for mothers with no education and over 80% for mothers with secondary education and higher (World Bank, 2001: 9) .

As for crisis-shaken countries in the Arab world, priority must be given to interventions in the areas of water and sanitation, immunisation, prevention and treatment of communicable diseases, therapeutic and supplementary feeding programmes, as well as education. While peace remains nonetheless the best strategy for progress, emergency programmes need to focus on a critical set of life-saving interventions to prevent children from succumbing to the structural, long-standing causes of deterioration and failure.



News 2003



The global AIDS epidemic shows no signs of abating. Five million people became infected with HIV worldwide and 3 million died this year alone – the highest ever.



On the 14th anniversary of the international adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy called on world leaders to put children at the heart of their development agendas.

“The generation of children being born today are the ones who need us to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves,\" Bellamy said, referring to the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the nations of the world in 2000. “We’ve promised that by 2015, all girls and boys will be in school; that the spread of AIDS will be reversed; that poverty and hunger will no longer affect more than a billion people. The generation that will hold us accountable to these promises is already here.”

Bellamy called on governments to renew their commitments to ensuring that every child’s full rights are protected and fulfilled. She stressed that these rights are central to achieving all development goals.

“Although the world has made tremendous progress since 1989 to see that children’s rights are universally accepted and realized, we are not there yet,” said Bellamy. “Children are still forced to serve as soldiers, children orphaned by AIDS are abandoned by society, millions of children die from preventable diseases -- as do their mothers. The rights of these marginalized and forgotten children need to be our highest priority if we really want to achieve the social and economic goals we’ve set.”

The Millennium Goals present a series of time-bound, quantifiable development targets. If the world is to eradicate extreme poverty and eliminate hunger -- the first of the goals -- children now being born must get what previous generations of marginalized children have not gotten: a healthy start in life; a quality basic education; and a safe and loving environment in which to thrive.

UNICEF’s mission for children is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Some examples of how UNICEF is working with governments to achieve the goals include:

·           Providing an expanded set of immunizations against childhood diseases, as well as basic health care for children

·           Efforts to ensure that all boys and girls have a quality basic education

·           Raising awareness about HIV/AIDS to give young people the knowledge, skills and support they need to protect themselves

·           Working to protect children from violence, abuse, exploitation and discrimination

·           Providing children in their earliest years with services they need to survive and thrive, including sound nutrition and clean water

At the heart of UNICEF’s mission is the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted by Member States of the United Nations in 1989. The convention, the most widely ratified treaty in history, spells out the basic rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.

Bellamy noted that with the global endorsement of the Millennium Development Goals, child rights must come to the forefront of long-term social and economic development thinking.

“The Convention is a sine qua non of the Millennium Development Goals,” said Bellamy. “If children’s rights to education, to protection and to survival and health are not fully realized, the world will not be on track to meet the goals. True development progress hinges on children.”




Three new SGP projects


Three grant agreements worth around US$ 123,000 were signed on 11 November 2003 at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) headquarters in Amman.

Ms. Christine McNab, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Jordan and heads of the beneficiary non-governmental organizations (NGOs) signed the agreements, which support the implementation of environmental community projects. The grants fall within the activities of the Global Environment Facility/ Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP) administered by the United Nations Development Programme.

Abdel Rahman Ben Awf Charity Society implemented the “Community Management of Water and Land Resources in East Bayuda/ Balqa Governorate” project. The project aims at assisting the local community of East Bayuda, 15 Km north of Salt city, to implement small projects that would improve their living conditions, contributing at the same time to the sound management and preservation of natural resources, mainly water and soil resources, and to maintain the significant natural environment of the village.

Activities to be implemented under the project include training of local community members, water harvesting through digging cisterns and construction of water reservoirs, bee keeping and production of medicinal plants. Support to the individual projects will be provided on a revolving loan basis, in order to insure sustainability of the project.

The project will also enable the NGO to become a member of the electronic sgpforum connecting SGP supported NGOs for the purpose of exchanging experiences and lessons learned in sustainable development issues. Grant value amounts to US$ 45,000.

In central Jordan Valley, Princess Basma Community Development Center/ Southern Shouneh is planning to implement the “Women in Sustaining Environmental Resources in Southern Shouneh” project. The project aims at transferring the knowledge gained on Permaculture from the pilot project implemented by the Center over the past three years, with financial support by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to home gardens at the local community level in South Shouneh and the surrounding areas, with special focus on women. This would entail training of women who will participate in project activities and raising the awareness of the local community of the benefits of this approach, specially that it goes in line with the traditional approach of farm management that used to prevail in the country in the past. Support to implement home garden projects using permaculture approach will be provided through a revolving loan system in order to sustain project activities and broaden beneficiary base. Production of safe organic agricultural products for the use of the organic kitchen that will be starting operation soon on the pilot site are also part of the project outcomes. Grant value amounts to US$ 45,000.

In Al Mujib reserve, the Hammamat Qoseeb Agricultural Cooperative will implement the “Rehabilitation of Natural Rangeland in Al Mujib Reserve” project. The project aims at reviving the natural rangeland in the reserve, in the Hammamt Qoseeb area, improving at the same time the livelihood of the local community. Hammamat Qoseeb area is located in Wadi Al Heedan which stretches west to meet the Dead Sea after meeting Wadi Al Mujib; the flowing waters gather to form a creek within Wadi Al Heedan passing through Al Mujib, before finally settling in the Dead Sea.

Due to draughty seasons, rainfall fluctuations, impoverished plant cover, restricted grazing and high cost of fodder, local community who depend mainly on livestock raising have been facing a lot of hardships. To address the situation, the Cooperative intends to work with the Mujib Reserve management to revive plant cover in the area, organize grazing in a sustainable manner, promote awareness of the importance of natural rangeland and nature reserves and support individual income-generating activities at the local community level. Grant value amounts to US 32,800.

The United Nations Development Programme has initiated the Small Grants Programme in Jordan and has been managing it since 1992. Signing the project agreements today, the Programme would have supported (91) projects in different parts of the country for a total value exceeding US$ 3 million. Supported projects under this Programme deal with issues of biodiversity protection, climate change control, protection of international waters and land degradation control, addressing at the same time environmental and livelihood problems of the local communities.


News 2002


IT to be the focus of the Higher Education Project


            JordanDevNet--A $65m, five year long term project launched in October last year to enhance higher education throughout the kingdom has achieved its first priority to computerise the Ministry of Higher Education’s administrative and management support systems, said the Ministry’s Secretary General, Dr Omar Shdeifat.

Financed through a $35m International Bank loan supported by a $30m injection of the government funds, the project’s next stage will see a $20.7m investment to provide an IT network infrastructure, library and management information systems and faculty training for colleges and universities across the country.

Project manager, Zaidun Rashdan, told JordanDevNehad been a substantial response from private sector companies bidding for a range of contracts, all of which are currently being considered. He added that no date had yet been fixed as to when the contracts and successful bidders would be announced.

However, it is known that raising computer literacy standards is a major part of the project’s overall aims, and, therefore hard fought competition among the major players in the IT sector seeking to win contracts is certain.

One of the projects key aims is to make compulsory computer proficiency courses, with funding made available to set-up specially equipped classrooms containing computers and audio-visual equipment.

Other components involve strengthening the government’s capacity to oversee control of the universities’ planning and management capacity, as well as introducing radical reforms to the community college system, including management systems, facility and equipment upgrades.




Jordanian Children Celebrate the ICDB         


            JordanDevNet--Jordan media and UNICEF marked the International Children’s Day of

Broadcasting (ICDB) on Friday 14, December. UNICEF launches this activity every year and in

Jordan this event continued to bring together children from all ages.

Children will work as radio and television producers, hosts and announcers at Jordan radio

and television. The children will focus on poverty, discrimination, HIV/AIDS and conflict.

Members of the children’s parliament, INJAZ, the community service office at the University

of Jordan, and the UNICEF youth group, and many others are taking part in this event.

JordanDevNet has invited Bashar Abdul Jawwad a volunteer from UNICEF to write on some of the challenges being tackled today.

In a bid to Jordan’s business community the economic benefits of the latest networking technology, one US based IT giant is reverting to more traditional, land based methods to transport its message that investing in today’s technology equals future commercial success.

Arriving in Amman via Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Jeddah, the technical crew aboard the Cisco AVVID truck is inviting Jordanian businessmen to visit its array of voice, video and data solutions until Thursday this week.

Parked outside the Hyatt Hotel in Amman Cisco staff will introduce businessmen and university students to new technological developments involving IP telephony, networking management, video conferencing and wireless technologies.

According to Mohammed Abdul Malek, Regional Manager for Cisco, the idea of this truck came out of the competition on the technology adaptation in Europe.

As a result we decided to bring this technology as soon as possible into the countries of the region to help them cope with the technological development throughout the world.



University Graduates Facing Proficiency Tests


            JordanDevNet--A Government crackdown on ‘university graduates’, who buy or otherwise obtain falsely accredited degrees from non-Jordanian universities, is currently being planned by the Ministry of Higher Education.

When given the go-ahead, all Jordanian and non-Jordanian university graduates will have to pass strict proficiency tests set by relevant professional associations, comprised of practicing experts in their field, before their degrees are fully recognised.

According to the Higher Education Ministry Secretary General, Omar Shdeifat, healthcare graduates are likely to be the first group to take these tests, “determining how professional they really are.”

Jordan accredits certificates of Arab University graduates, but, says Shdeifat, “the accreditation of international universities has been a persistent problem” which up till now has not been resolved.

However, although the issue is seen by the Government as a real one, there are no official statistics as to how many falsely qualified ‘graduates’ exist.

Spelling out the Ministry’s drive to raise and maintain high professional standards, Dr Mahmoud Habis told JordanDevNet that “we will accredit the certificates of students who pass the proficiency test, but we will also give another chance to those who don’t pass first time.”

Dr Habis, a Higher Education Ministry official, said that as Jordan is considered to be the first country in the region with such a high number of graduates in relation to its population, there was a clear need to find a way to accredit degrees.

According to official figures the number of higher education graduates in the year 2000-2001 is 22,140 in all fields, comprising 19,989 BA graduates and 2,020 postgraduates. In addition, this last year saw 277 vocational and 454 higher diploma students graduate.

The accreditation process, he continued, would directly assist the identification of weak areas, allowing universities to target and correct specific subject deficiencies.

“In addition, these tests will help improve the country’s economy, as the only graduates in the market will be the fully qualified ones,” added Habis.



 EU agree on spending to boost Jordanian economy


            AMMAN (AP) - The European Union agreed to spend 20 million euros ($17.7 million) to promote private-public partnership in key Jordanian economic sectors, the European Commission said in a statement on Monday.

It said the initiative will help liberalise "key infrastructure sectors through autonomous regulation and enhanced public-private partnership."

The programme will take more than five years to implement and focus on "developing the role, organisation and functioning of regulatory bodies in the telecommunications, electricity and civil aviation sectors," the statement said.

It said technical assistance will also be provided to boost regulatory needs and the potential restructuring of other sectors of the Kingdom's economy. It did not elaborate.

The programme received European Commission approval and "backing" from European Union member states at a recent meeting in Brussels, the statement said. A financing agreement will be signed soon.

The grant - Jordan's first allocation under an EU programme for 2001-2007 - takes the overall value of European assistance to the Kingdom to more than 600 million euros ($530.4 million) since 1996, the statement said.