Wednesday marks the birthday of HRH Princess Basma Bint Talal, a long-standing advocate of women and children’s rights and pioneer of sustainable human development in the Arab region.
Princess Basma established and chairs the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), the non-profit NGO which this year celebrates its 45th anniversary.
Today, JOHUD represents a unique participatory model that relies on a national network of 51 locally-managed community centres spread across the country.
Princess Basma’s vision of community governance and participation remain a cornerstone of JOHUD’s work and future thinking, reflected in the organisation’s increasingly decentralised approach and high degree of local involvement.
The Queen Zein Al Sharaf Institute for Development (ZENID), is home to JOHUD’s administrative and specialised support offices, however, regional councils of local representatives, women leaders and young volunteers set priorities and oversee much of the organisation’s work.
JOHUD’s national network is a dynamic platform where community engagement and social innovation can thrive, as evidenced by a diverse range of projects and programmes related to participation and civic engagement, as well as enterprise development and business support, with a particular emphasis on women and young people.
As a member of the Advisory Board of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global movement working to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide, Princess Basma has also been advocating increasingly for JOHUD’s regional networks to become hubs for environmental activism.
National initiatives launched and directed by Princess Basma include the Goodwill Campaign (est.1991), that every year reaches thousands of families living in need, and the Queen Alia Competition for Social Responsibility, which for decades has raised social awareness amongst generations of Jordan’s school children.
Princess Basma has chaired the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW), since its establishment in 1992. JNCW is the highest official entity responsible for addressing women and gender-related issues, with a focus on legislative and policy reform. The Princess is an Honorary Human Development Ambassador for UNDP and Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women and UNFPA. She holds a doctorate degree in development from Oxford University.
Princess Basma is married to Walid Kurdi and has four children; Farah (JOHUD’s Executive Director), Ghazi, Saad and Zein Al Sharaf, and eight grandchildren: Fatima Al Zahra, Zein Al Sharaf, Abdulaziz, Aysha, Iman, Basma, Haya and Alia.