Jordan currently has one of the youngest demographics in the Middle East – over 40 per cent of the population is under the age of 18. The government is taking robust action and making rapid advances to make sure that the almost 4 million children are protected, their rights guaranteed and safety ensured.
In 2021, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan made a formal and public commitment to end violence against children, becoming the world’s 35th and the middle east’s second Pathfinding country. This came a year after Jordan endorsed the Safe to Learn Call to Action, a high-level framework that outlines what needs to happen to end violence in and through schools. The country is transforming its commitments into tangible progress towards ending violence against children across settings – at home, in communities, online and in schools.
Creating safe environments at home and in communities:
- Soon after becoming a Pathfinding country, the Government of Jordan launched a National Study on Violence Against Children in Jordan to highlight community practices and attitudes on the issue and to assess the most recent data on prevalence. The study was supported by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children and End Violence Board Member Najat Maalla M'jid, UNICEF and the End Violence Partnership, and has informed important reform for children’s safety in the country.
- In 2022, Jordan’s parliament passed a new Child Rights Bill with UNICEF’s support that put in place provisions to better protect all children in Jordan from economic exploitation and child labour and ensure better access to multisectoral child protection services including education, health and legal aid.
- Jordan has also taken steps towards eliminating corporal punishment, the most common form of violence against children that affects 8 out of 10 children in Jordan. The new Child Rights Bill has prohibited corporal punishment by law in schools.
The country is continuing to bolster efforts. Ayman R. Al-Mufleh, Minister of Social Development, of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, speaking at the Together to #ENDviolence Leaders’ Event, reiterated Jordan’s prioritisation of the issue of violence against children, outlining recent efforts including the establishment of health, psychological, and legal services to child victims of violence and children deprived of parental care.
Ensuring that children are #SafeToLearn:
Jordan’s endorsement of the Call to Action, which built on years of commitment and results to ensure children are protected from violence in schools, shows the country's vision to accelerate efforts to end violence in and through schools:
Following the Call to Action endorsement, Jordan has been one of the five pioneer countries in the world in conducting a Safe to Learn Diagnostic Study. The results of the Diagnostic Study of National Efforts to Prevent and Respond to Violence in Schools in Jordan, funded by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, were launched in 2021 by the Ministry of Education of Jordan, UNICEF, and Safe to Learn. It provides clear evidence on what has been achieved and what remains to be done under each component of the Call to Action and establishes a baseline for tracking Jordan’s progress at the national, state and school level.
Not only has Jordan generated critical evidence on its efforts to end violence in and through schools, it has also undertaken information sharing and dialogue to ensure this data informs action.
- Jordan’s diagnostic report was discussed at a national roundtable with the government and key partners. To enable dialogue and learning across country contexts, the findings were also presented at a Together to #ENDviolence affiliate event in November 2022, where the governments of Uganda and South Sudan also shared findings from their national Safe to Learn diagnostic studies.
- The collaboration between Safe to Learn, the government of Jordan and UNICEF also resulted in the adaptation of the Safe to Learn diagnostic tool to the Jordan context and in its translation together with the interview guides in Arabic . These resources, published by Safe to Learn, can support other Arabic-speaking countries in conducting diagnostics as part of their efforts to address violence against children in and around schools.
- Former Jordanian Minister of Education Dr Wajih Mousa Owais wrote an essay for the Safe to Learn Essay Collection, which brings together diverse expert perspectives into a holistic series of insights into the issue of violence in and through schools. Dr Owais’ essay raised the visibility of the issue of violence in schools and made the case to other Ministers in the region and beyond to step up their political action. Jordan also restated their own commitment to ensure safe learning for all children in their national commitment at the Transforming Education Summit, specifically highlighting the ongoing ‘Together Towards a Safe School Environment’ Program.
Keeping kids #SafeOnline:
The country is also making important strides to keep children safe online. Jordan’s Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention Unit (UPOCSE) mandated to identify and handle cases of online sexual abuse is the only unit of its kind in the Arab world and is officially accredited by INTERPOL and linked to its International Child Sexual Exploitation database.
- With USD $1 million invested by the End Violence Partnership through its Safe Online initiative, UNICEF Jordan supported the Unit to build the capacity of professionals across sectors and to spearhead the introduction of new technologies for obtaining forensic digital evidence to combat online sexual abuse in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. It has also supported the national awareness campaign “Mush_Sah” (Not Right) to raise awareness of risks and harms that children may face online. The campaign targeted 7-18 years old children, caregivers and professionals and reached more than 5 million people.
Use End Violence’s interactive Country Dashboard to track milestones and progress from Jordan and other Pathfinding countries around the world.
ACTION TO #ENDVIOLENCE
Despite the global challenges society faces today, positive change for children is taking place across countries and sectors – driven by governments, individuals and organisations fighting to ensure safe, secure and nurturing childhoods for girls and boys. As part of the Together to #ENDviolence campaign, we are placing a spotlight on these dedicated efforts that are delivering impact.