Sustainability at Aramex
Since its founding in 2005, The Arab Foundation for Sustainable Development ‘Ruwwad’ has been a model that represented all of our six sustainability pillars. Ruwwad is a non-profit community empowerment organization that helps disadvantaged communities overcome marginalization through youth activism, civic engagement and education.
Ruwwad was first established by Aramex’s founder, Fadi Ghandour, and a group of social entrepreneurs who approached Jabal Al-Natheef, a marginalized community in East Amman, Jordan and home to the Mohammed Amin informal Palestinian refugee camp. The goal was to partner with community members and to mobilize them to address critical challenges.
The conversation that started back in 2005 led to what Ruwwad is today: a unique model of development in the region that is fully supported and sustained by social entrepreneurs and the Arab Private Sector represented in Aramex, The Abraaj Group and Cairo Amman Bank. Ruwwad today is present in Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt. Its community centers in the region mainly provide three programs based on the community’s needs: Youth Empowerment and Education (through the Mousab Khorma Fund), Child Development and Community Empowerment.
Youth is at the heart of Ruwwad’s mission; they receive university scholarships in return for spending four hours each week in serving their communities. Since its inception, Ruwwad has graduated 610 youths. There are currently Ruwwad 214 youths in Jordan, 122 in Lebanon, 69 in Palestine and 21 in Egypt.
Ruwwad Tafeela: In cooperation with Royana organization, Ruwwad laid the foundations for establishing a community center in Tafeela governorate in Jordan. Full college scholarships were granted to 46 active youths who are conducting four hours of community service on a weekly basis. This summer, Ruwwad Tafela – in collaboration with Ruwwad Jabal Al-Natheef – held a summer camp for 75 children. The theme of the camp was exploring self and identity through arts, music and games. The Tafeela center will officially start its operation in early 2014.
Ruwwad Lebanon was established in Tripoli in 2012 and has since granted full scholarships to 122 youths. Its empowerment programs benefit 200 children from the local communities and 191 families.
Ruwwad Palestine, based in Budrus, a village close to Ramallah, has granted 69 full scholarships. The model is now expanding to include five more neighboring villages.
The critical political situation in Egypt affected the planned growth of Ruwwad Egypt, and the number of youth scholars remained at 21 for this year. The team members encountered different challenges and transitional phases, whereby the regional director and Aramex team had to step in to ensure the program continued.
Community Organizing Campaigns
Ruwwad utilizes community organizing as a way to mobilize community members to identify critical challenges in their community, take ownership and to organize themselves to address them.
Throughout intensive official training for community members, Jabal Al-Natheef community was able to hold two campaigns since 2011. The first campaign was called “Six Minutes for Joy of Reading” and focused on mobilizing community members to read at least six minutes per day for pleasure. The campaign managed to achieve 6,620 group reading sessions and involved more than 5,000 community members.
Another campaign that concluded this year was the ‘Safe Homes’ campaign which was initiated by the community members to put an end to domestic abuse, especially against children. The campaign expanded to include 170 key organizers distributed across 29 leadership teams, who conducted 673 meetings to address abuse. The campaign members have volunteered more than 1,000 collective working hours, which led to identifying 165 homes as fully safe homes, free of violence during the period of the campaign. The members have also practiced 583 incidents of intervention, in which they interfered to stop abuse, or potential abuse.