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    Community skatepark to be established in east Amman

    December 31, 2020

    Project to engage youth, other community members in construction

    AMMAN — UNICEF in partnership with 7Hills, the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) and the Ministry of Youth, is to build a community skatepark in east Amman, where youth leaders organise classes for adolescents and young people from all nationalities.

    The park will be built with a participatory approach and the actual construction of the park will be led by community members and youth guided and directed by construction experts, so as to increase local ownership.

    The aim will be to bringing female volunteers and encourage female participation throughout the construction process. All support to the construction of the skatepark will be 'age-appropriate and under the direct supervision of the experts', Giorgia Varisco, chief of Youth and Adolescent Section at UNICEF Jordan, told The Jordan Times.

    This participatory construction will increase the technical skills of the involved community members, as well as those of the GAM engineers, which will help decreasing dependency on foreign expertise for future projects.

    The project will partner with the local street-art scene to promote positive and inclusive messages most relevant to the local community, according to Varisco.

    “UNICEF focuses on supporting youth engagement and promoting safe environments, where young people and especially girls have the opportunity to engage and participate in activities within their communities. Skateboarding has proven to increase self-confidence and the sense of belonging of among children and young people to their communities,” Varisco said.

    In Jordan, public spaces where young people can meet and hang out are limited. Girls have even less opportunity to engage outside their household, she said.

    A recent GAGE report shows that adolescent girls are less able to leave the house and engage outside their household, if compared with their male peers, Varisco noted.

    Jordan faces a scarcity of public spaces that limits opportunities for community and youth engagement, which in turn further alienates marginalised minority groups, including young girls and women, Varisco said.

    Many of the existing parks are run-down, under-resourced, and not to their full potential. The lack of access to public spaces is most acutely experienced by Jordan’s urban youth. The UN estimates that over 70 per cent of Jordan’s population are under 30 and youth make up 22 per cent of the overall population. The challenge is even bigger for young people living outside the city of Amman, she added.

    The skatepark totals 650 square metres and will be built in Al Nour Park, in Amman's Al Quaismeh area. It is surrounded by three schools, a community centre and a youth centre, which will all run a number of activities for the vulnerable youth of east Amman, Varisco said.

    Once the consultation is over, a youth leadership programme will be established to facilitate a sustainable skateboarding programme. A six months of community building and skateboard training will be provided for approximately 100 children and young people, of whom 50 per cent girls, according to organisers.

    Those young people will in turn train their peers and leverage youth committee at the Ministry of Youth centre to ensure the sustainability of the training activities, according to Varisco.

    It is estimated that at least 100 children, adolescent and young people will receive training in skating in the first year, with an additional estimated target of 10,000 children, young people and community members accessing the skatepark facilities, Varisco added.

    “Our main mission is to provide vulnerable and at-risk children and youth with an alternative to shape their day life through action sports, recreational activities and community engagement. Since day one, we have been astonished by the level of interest and excitement from those children and youth in the skatepark,’’ Besan Abdel Qader, Adolescent Development Specialist at UNICEF Jordan, told The Jordan Times.

    This project will provide a platform for children, young women and men to engage in valuable sports activities, as well as develop their community leadership skills and capacity with the goal of self-empowerment.

    It also aims at strengthening social cohesion in those communities by bringing communities together through the construction of a skatepark and the implementation of a skating programme, she said.

    “Children and young people will have a skatepark they can call their own, access when they want and be part of those meaningful recreational activities. We are also aiming at leveraging skateboarding to break down gender, socio-economic and other barriers faced by young people,” she said.

    The programme will last until 2021. UNICEF aims to implement similar programmes in other areas across Jordan.


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