Neighborhood Development Activity Mobilization the third Neighborhood – Old Town

9 October 2008
 Old Town NET members signing the commitment statement in front of Citizens

The citizens of Old Town have benefited from their unique past experience with an active citizen group and collaboration with the local government. With the support of Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) and the Jordan River Foundation, a group of Old Town Neighborhood members had already formed a local citizen’s “committee” to analyze the most pressing needs for their neighborhood and recommend potential projects for ADC to fund. During this period (from late 2006 through mid-2008), a detailed citizen survey and needs assessment was completed and several priority issues identified. In June 2008, ADC, ASEZA and the ACED Program signed an MOU to incorporate Old Town into the ongoing Neighborhood Development Activity (NDA) of the ACED Program. Since the MOU signing in June, the steps taken toward mobilization of Old Town Neighborhood include:  
  • Held initial informative visits with key stakeholders including: school directors, NGOs, religious leaders, other known community leaders. [8/13-14 /2008]
  • Met with the members of the existing “committee” in the Old Town to introduce the NDA. Explained Neighborhood Enhancement Team (NET) roles and responsibilities, and encouraged participation in the NET and the Neighborhood Wide Meeting. [8/16 /2008]
  • Summarized the previously completed Old Town needs assessment survey conducted by ADC through JRF. [8/14 /2008]
  • Conducted 4 focus groups (two for women and two for men, both including youth attendees) with 52 participants to verify the survey results, collect additional needs, and nominate additional leaders for NET; [8/17-18 /2008]
  • Contacted nominated neighborhood leaders about participating in the NET and the Neighborhood Wide Meeting. [8/22-26 /2008]
  • Raised awareness of the program and the Neighborhood Wide Meeting throughout the neighborhood by having volunteers as well as ACED Program, LCDD, ADC and JRF staff hang up posters and distribute brochures. [8/24-30/2008]
  • Held the Neighborhood Wide Meeting to discuss the priority needs of the community and to formally select members for the Old Town NET. Over 90 participants attended the meeting (87 participants signed the attendance sheets). [8/30/2008]
 Details and Outcomes of the Old Town Neighborhood Wide Meeting: 
  • LCDD, ADC and ACED Program representatives introduced this Neighborhood Development Activity as a new and innovative partnership between ASEZA and the citizens of Aqaba starting with Sharqia and Al-Rimal neighborhoods, and announced that Old Town is the third neighborhood invited to partner with the NDA.
  • Facilitator explained the step-by-step process for the Neighborhood, including:
    • What had been completed already (survey, focus groups, awareness building);
    • What would be accomplished at this meeting (discussion of local priorities, introduce Old Town NET members.
    • What the next steps are (NET translates needs to potential projects and verifies these with community, applies to ASEZA, ADC and the ACED Program for funding support, raises community contribution, oversees implementation of project, repeats the process starting with identifying priorities).
  • Facilitator presented the results of the survey and asked smaller groups to discuss these priorities with co-facilitators in order to choose their three highest priorities.
  • At the meeting, attendees ranked their three highest priorities as:    
    • Poor environmental and health situation including poor waste collection, lack of pest control, poor waste network, poor water systems and debris in some areas like unoccupied houses;
    • Lack of social awareness programs and counseling including family counseling, education, awareness programs for youth on the dangers of smoking, alcohol and drug abuse; and
    • Lack of sufficient attention to public properties including the health center, the cemetery and mosques.
  • Facilitator explained the roles and responsibilities of the volunteers selected by the citizens for the NET.
  • Facilitator explained that 11 volunteers (from the existing “committee” plus those nominated in focus groups) accepted to be on the Old Town NET and that more volunteers could be added at the meeting. Four men and two women were added.
  • Formed Old Town NET with 17 members (6 women, 9 men, 1 female youth, 1 male youth).