Jordan: Community service provides opportunities, gives hope

22 Nov 2022

In Jordan, the LWF is offering young delinquents new opportunities and hope. The LWF community centers in the country were recently approved as venues for community service of children convicted for minor offenses.

Nirmeen SAADEH, LWF Jordan's protection focal point, in discussion with a young woman. Photo: LWF Jordan

Nirmeen SAADEH, LWF Jordan's protection focal point, in discussion with a young woman. Photo: LWF Jordan

LWF community centers certified to rehabilitate young offenders

(LWI) - LWF in Jordan supports the rehabilitation of young delinquents: The LWF community centers recently received government approval to offer community service to children convicted for minor offenses. Community service instead of detention is still relatively new in Jordan. In this way, the LWF supports the rehabilitation of the young people.

In September 2022, LWF Jordan's "Aman" community centers in the Irbid and Zarqa governorates received accreditation from the Ministry of Social Development as establishments offering community service opportunities to children convicted of minor offences. LWF Jordan has also adopted a holistic approach to managing the cases of young people who have been referred to the centers.

Adolescent boys participate in a mosaic session. Photo: LWF Jordan

Adolescent boys participate in a mosaic session. Photo: LWF Jordan

Community service is a new concept in Jordan

Despite decreasing juvenile crime numbers, Jordan is still battling high levels of child offence and misdemeanor. While the Convention on the Rights of the Child prescribes that detention and arrests should be last-resort measures, the practice of using non-custodial sentences as alternatives to post-trial detention in Jordan is relatively new. Through the joint memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Social Development, LWF Jordan joins early the effort to uphold juvenile rights by promoting and providing community service opportunities.

“Substituting limiting freedom with community service for minor juvenile crimes reduces the cost to the public and protects children from the risks and harms of incarceration. It also has a restorative effect on children in conflict with the law, their families, and society,” says Nirmeen Saadeh, LWF Jordan's protection focal point.

The presence of children in safe community space provides them with acceptance and opportunity to develop their skills and create healthy social relationships. This, in turn, helps them correct their behavior and think in new ways.

Nirmeen SAADEH, LWF Jordan's protection focal point

"The presence of children in safe community space provides them with acceptance and opportunities to develop their skills and create healthy social relationships. This, in turn, helps them correct their behavior and think in new ways."

Psychosocial supports and training

Last month, the “Aman” Community Center in Zarqa received its first case, a young man. His case management plan included twenty hours of psychosocial support sessions and volunteer work experience at the ‘Darzet Aman’ boutique. Volunteering at the boutique presented an opportunity for him to develop his sales, communication and social skills.

The boutique in the community center, one of the places where the delinquent youth can do their community service. Photo: LWF Jordan

The boutique in the community center, one of the places where the delinquent youth can do their community service. Photo: LWF Jordan

More importantly, the young man was so excited to realize that there was a safe community space in his neighborhood catering to the needs of youth, that he brought two of his close friends to the center. LWF’s staff is now developing a plan for all three youngsters to be involved in skills-developing creative activities, such as ceramics workshops and sessions raising awareness about important issues prevalent in the community.

LWF Jordan works with the youth and their families to address multiple risk factors at all levels in a child-friendly and safe social environment. Upon referral by the court and the behavior monitor, the young person and their family are provided with complete case management and psychosocial support services to identify their specific needs. After an introductory session, the adolescent also participates in different educational activities that help them develop their skills and benefit the local community.

The LWF community center in Zarqa. Photo: LWF Jordan

The LWF community center in Zarqa. Photo: LWF Jordan

“At our centers, the youth have an opportunity to be productive members of society and join educational and entertaining activities, which is much better than detention and institutionalization,” Saadeh concludes.

“This accreditation is a new responsibility, but it is also an acknowledgment and a recognition of the work LWF does in Jordan, and the partnership we have with the Jordanian government”, says Caroline Tveoy, LWF Regional Program Coordinator for the Middle East.

 

The work of LWF Jordan in the “Aman” community centres in Irbid and Zarqa is supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Act Church of Sweden, and the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren.

LWF/K. Stoykova, edited by C. Kästner-Meyer