The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) Child Friendly Cities initiative began in 2005 when, on the recommendation of the Mayor of Amman, the Executive Agency for a Child Friendly City (EACFC) was created to improve the quality of programmes offered to children in greater Amman. That same year, a policy document entitled “Greater Amman Municipality’s Policy and Priorities for Children” was developed under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdallah. The municipality adopted the nine building blocks of the original Child Friendly Cities Framework and charged the EACFC to oversee the implementation of the policy.
The priorities of the initiative are clustered into five main themes: health; informal education and reduction of school drop-outs; child safety and protection; the built environment; and culture. Under these five clusters, the initiative promotes several projects and activities related to children’s participation, gender and disabilities as well as targeted initiatives on informal schooling, nutritional programmes, and raising awareness on child protection issues.
Central to the initiative is the establishment of Child Municipal Councils (CMCs). These democratically-elected councils provide 12–15 year old adolescents with the opportunity to engage in dialogue with municipal policymakers and actively participate in policy planning and decision-making on matters affecting them. They also provide training on child rights, democratic governance, participation and planning. Between 2006 and 2017, four CMCs were established in 22 districts in Amman reaching 100,000 children. As part of this initiative, municipal decision-makers such as city council members, were given training about child rights and the initiative was embedded in the Municipal Agenda and Master Plan.
The CMCs are the result of a strong partnership between the Greater Amman Municipality, UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and many others who have demonstrated a commitment to creating an enabling environment for adolescent participation.
In 2016, the CMC model was extended to other municipalities in Jordan, starting with Madaba and Zarqa governorates as a pilot. This included training municipal staff to become youth trainers and advocates for child rights, as well as leading CMC elections in schools in which 100,000 children participated in the two governorates.
In addition to continuing the initiatives in Amman, Madaba and Zarqa, there are plans to establish CMCs in Mafraq and Karak governorates in southern Jordan during 2017-2018.
Adolescent participation is also pursued through a youth volunteer network called Jeel962 (Jeel = generation in Arabic; 962 = Jordan calling code) that encourages young people to be civically engaged and agents of change in their communities through various channels of dialogue including online platforms and an SMS application. The network targets youth aged 13-24 throughout Jordan’s 12 governorates.
© UNICEF Jordan
Pop. under 18: 3,160,000
• Greater Amman Municipality (GAM)
Dina Al Jamal
Chief of Youth and Adolescents Development Section
United Nations Children’s Fund
Jordan Country Office
Amman 11194 – Jordan