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Together for Better Communication Environment in Naour Public Schools

Partners-Jordan is proposing a 12-month project to introduce an alternative to violence, through teaching mediation skills to school students in Naour, in order to encourage creating a culture that despises violence, and use mediation as an effective non-violent tool to deal with conflicts in the school environment. Using the mediation tactic to deal with troubles will have a positive impact on several stakeholders: students, teachers, school administration and parents, which will encourage these students to practice the acquired skills more often, and use them within their neighborhood, and at later stages on university level. With a view to expand program reach to additional schools that will build champions within the broader community, the project also include PJ’s cooperation with Ithra — a specialized center in the psychological needs youth and adults go through in their daily lives and which affects their attitudes, choices, and behaviors, and the establishment of ‘mediation zones’ in schools to ensure sustainability and longevity of program results. The problem Partners-Jordan is tackling in this project is the manner used by people to deal with any conflict that occurs in schools. Looking more in depth at that, Partners-Jordan noticed five issues that are relevant to conflict management at school level: first, teachers lack the awareness of the tools available to potentially avoid, or at least manage, violence among students; second, the lack of dialogue practice among parents, teachers, and students; third, “violence is the first quick reaction to deal with conflict” — as argued by a student; fourth, the absence of a mentality despising violence; fifth, the gap in discussing conflict management in both curriculum and extra curriculum activities. In light of the above, the main goal of the initiative it to create a better school environment by opening dialogue spaces and new communication channels between students, as well as between the students and the administration, in 8 public schools in Naour city. For this to be possible, four main objectives have been identified: (1) present communication and dialogue “mediation” skills as an alternative to violence in 8 public schools in Naour; (2) introduce psychological theories through the “Relational Needs module”, to understand conflict, to a selected numbers of trainees (teachers and students); (3) Build on the mediation skills which will be taught to establish at least 3 “Mediation Zones” in the schools in Naour; (4) Improve the outlook of the schools administration when dealing with conflicts, by counting the successfully managed conflicts. Relying on a specifically designed participatory learning process, the learner-centered training will open the floor in front of the trainees to think, question, critically analyse, and to encourage them to share inputs about dealing with conflicts on school level. This will result in improving the attitude, in addition to increasing their knowledge and skills, of the target groups when dealing with conflicts. In particular, PJ will stress on interactive role plays functional to raising the awareness of non violence resolution in a creative way; capacity building through interactive and non lecturing methods; reaching for a behavioral change in conflict management; developing long lasting institutional mechanisms for continuing project activities including Teacher and Admin champions, Mediation Zones, and Action Plans. By combining theoretical notions with in-the-field action - the Mediation Zones -, the program provide hands-on, practical experience in creating, and spreading, a solid Mediation culture. The fact that students as well as teachers will then be able to return to their home and put their learning into practice within their family environment serves as a crucial resource , in that it will allow the beneficiaries of the project to practice and exercise - thereby refining - the acquired skills on a constant basis. The students’ parents involvement - with a view to sensitize them to the Mediation and Relational needs principles, bringing them closer to their respective schools realities, as outlined in the previous section -, is therefore key to the sustainability of the project in the long-term as well, and needs to be understood as a way to ‘ensure’ the longevity of the benefits of the initiative itself. As the x factor to make this possible, the joint learning process shared between students, teachers, and parents shall thus be regarded as an extremely important resource to leverage on. While the project will start with focused ambitions, potential scaling exists and is envisaged. Precisely insofar as they are focused on training and mentorship supplemented by students engagement and teachers support, both phases of the project are designed to leave a lasting impact and help Mediation Zones transition into more established ‘hubs’ benefitting also the next generations of students, whose involvement is seen by PJ as a way to ensure that new blood and new ideas are entering the ‘sector’. The envisaged activities - outlined in the detail in the attached document - include: Project Preparations (Months 1-2); Communication and Dialogue (Mediation) workshops (Months 3-5); Relational Needs training (Months 4-7; Ga'det wasata (Mediation zone) (Months 7-12); Promoting for non violent school environment (Months 9-10); Donor visibility (throughout the implementation phase); Reporting (quarterly basis).
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