Finn Church Aid (FCA) is the largest Finnish organization for development cooperation and the second largest provider of humanitarian assistance. FCA operates in around fifteen countries across four continents, and has over 60 years of experience. FCA specialises in supporting local communities in three priority areas: Right to Livelihood, Right to Quality Education and Right to Peace. Our operations include long-term development cooperation, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.
FCA launched a humanitarian operation in Jordan in 2012 as a response to the growing influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the violent conflict of the neighboring country. Over the course of 5 years, the programme has consisted of various projects providing (i) basic skills (literacy & numeracy, English, ICT), (ii) technical skills (e.g. mobile maintenance, hairdressing, agriculture, photography, handicraft, recycling, more recently also entrepreneurship) and (iii) recreational activities (e.g. sports, circus) to conflict-affected young people.
In parallel to the core educational activities, FCA has complemented its response with additional components to ensure its successful implementation. These components include elements such as in-job training of teachers and trainers involved in the courses as well as provision of early childhood education to ensure that young mothers have an opportunity to take part in activities. FCA has also worked to ensure the inclusion of youth with disabilities.
Linking Learning to Earning
Another notable feature is the recent push to connect education to opportunities in labor market and business according to the linking learning to earning principle. FCA promotes the right to develop, secure and sustain livelihoods through employment, entrepreneurship and strengthened resilience. We reinforce the resilience of rural and urban communities where livelihoods are challenged by poverty, crises and migration. We focus on creating job opportunities for youth in vulnerable life situations. Furthermore, we promote business incubation, start-up, advisory and financial services that facilitate entrepreneurship. We assist women and youth in expanding their small-scale income generating activities into businesses that have growth and employment potential, and in gaining equitable access to finance and other resources.
The agreement signed between FCA – MERO and Aflatoun International opened the door for FCA to integrate Aflatoun programmes within its youth programmes. In Jordan, as a component of FCA’s Youth Empowerment project for the refugees in the camps, Aflatoun curriculum was chosen to empower youth with financial and social skills in a project. As a first step, FCA expertise facilitated Aflatoun training in Zaatari camp, and in Azraq camp, for a selected number of youth beneficiaries. Thereafter, among those who participated in the training, seven volunteers were nominated to deliver Aflateen training for seven groups of youth aged 18-24 years.
The interactive training encouraged the participants to learn more about their rights and responsibilities, appreciate the importance of their role in their communities, and most importantly learn how to express and share their feelings.
Aflatoun training does not only focus on the personal exploration and social skills, but also opens the participants’ eyes on the best saving and spending practices, and encourages them to think of social and financial enterprises that serve their communities. Additionally, Aflatoun equips the participants with the Training of Trainers facilitation techniques, which help them deliver other trainings further.
The trainings were a big success, the beneficiaries showed active engagement, and spent wonderful times sharing knowledge, experiences and laughs. The participants showed high enthusiasm and engagement, and came out with a number of initiatives that are beneficial for their communities. Moreover, in the next coming weeks, FCA will start integrating the Aflatoun programme in a livelihood project that aims to improve prospects of refugees and vulnerable host communities with a special focus on women and persons with disabilities in Jordan.
Bilal, a volunteer at FCA who has trained to become an Aflatoun trainer says, “I faced some challenges in the first two days, but with peer support and FCA’s follow up, I managed to overcome those challenges and create a friendly training environment to help those youth and get the best out of them, and think of ways to serve their communities, I’m so grateful for this chance, it helped me to discover my abilities and develop my skill!”.
Rami Al Jaber, one of the participants in the Aflatoun programe with FCA says, “I liked the variety of activities in the sessions.. Nothing is replicated. Every time there is something new.. The material is new and useful.. I managed to obtain new skills and I know how to communicate better with people”.
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