JOHUD, UNICEF and the NRC launch new innovation labs for young people in Jordan


UNICEF launched four innovation labs in Jordan today in partnership with the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

The launch event took place at al Hashmi Al Shmali under the patronage of Ms. Farah Daghistani, the Executive Director of JOHUD with the participation of representatives from the donor community, media, and young people.

Ms Farah Daghestani stated that she was “so proud of the ongoing partnership we have cultivated with UNICEF and others. I believe it will give excellent opportunities for our young people to develop their skills and creativity, helping them to invest their energies productively”. Ms Daghestani also emphasized the unique strengths of JOHUD, particularly its network of Community Development Centres; by working directly to harness the energies of young people, our community centres can help move communities forward and one day make comprehensive development progress in Jordan.

The Jordan Innovation Labs initiated by UNICEF aims at  empowering adolescents and young people in the country, particularly the most-at-risk and vulnerable youth, by providing them life skills training, access to information and technology, and opportunities to positively engage in their community.  

Called the ‘Centres of Excellence’, the three innovations labs located in Hashmi Shamali (Amman), Madaba and Irbid are managed by JOHUD, while the fourth one at the Za’atari refugee camp is run by NRC.  

Inside the labs, adolescents and youth are partners rather than beneficiaries, where they own and lead the design and implementation of their innovations. Girls and boys acquire the capacity to develop, grow and implement their own initiatives and projects, with the aim of building their capacity and triggering the replication of this type of interventions in other communities.

Over 15,000 adolescents and youth in Jordan are expected to access these innovation labs, allowing them the space and support to identity challenges in their school or community, and find innovative solutions to address them. 

“The youth have enormous potential in bringing about positive change in Jordan. The Innovation Labs will be a platform for girls and boys to learn, develop themselves, and take innovative actions to address challenges in their community,” said the UNICEF Representative Robert Jenkins. “UNICEF will continue investing on adolescents and young people, providing them the necessary skills and tools for their development and well-being.” 

In 2016, UNICEF aims to establish innovations labs in Makani centres  (centres that offer a comprehensive set of services, including psycho-social support, life skills training, informal education, and community outreach) across the country in collaboration with NGO partners. Mobile innovation labs will also be introduced, providing adolescents and youth continued motivation, incentives, and resources to engage in social innovation.  

The innovation labs are funded by the European Union and the Government of Germany through KFW.