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This year, World Water Day is a day that celebrates water and climate change and how they are linked together. Water sectors around the world are heavily affected by climate change especially Jordan, which is one of the third largest water scare countries in the world. By using water efficiently, we can save lives.
Everyone has a role to play in spreading awareness about using water efficiently, water conservation and preventing diseases. Action Against Hunger, in partnership with UNICEF, facilitates Lead Mothers sessions in Azraq Refugee Camp, where women leaders are trained on key hygiene promotion and water conservation messaging to share with the community in the camp.
One of these leaders is Ahlam, a 33-year-old Lead Mother and mother to 6 children. When asked about women equality in Syria, she said, “There was not a lot of mixture and inclusion.” “We could not go to the market on our own,” she commented. “You need to have your husband or someone else go with you.” She would busy her days tending to her children, her home, and visiting family. “We enjoyed the life we were given,” said Ahlam with a smile. However, that smile vanished when war knocked on Syria’s doors.
Ahlam, her husband, and her children were forced to leave Syria and moved from one place to another. They reached a point in their lives where Ahlam knew that the safest place for them was Jordan. On a cold and snowy night in January, they arrived at the dead of the night to one of the shelters near the Syrian-Jordanian border. After a few more days in transit, they arrived at Azraq camp.
Ahlam and her family were greeted with kindness when they first arrived to the camp. They settled into a caravan and began their new lives. Just like in Syria, her excursions were limited, yet she saw this new life as a second chance. “I told my husband I want to apply for work,” Ahlam said. In her community in Syria, women did not work and were seen as a homemaker and men as the breadwinner of the family.
One day, Ahlam received a visit from one of Action Against Hunger’s Community Mobilizers who told her that the organization was looking for a strong woman, one that the women loved and trusted in the neighborhood. She knew she fit the description perfectly. “She asked me if I would like to become a Lead Mother,” said Ahlam happily.
Ahlam was ecstatic that the women choose her to be their Lead Mother. “My heart was filled with joy as I was proud of myself…I loved the idea of being in charge of bringing new ideas to others living in the camp.”
"I have to be a role model to them and their first point of contact before going to the organization"
As a Lead Mother, Ahlam supervises 10 women living in her neighborhood and is responsible for sharing with them the knowledge and lessons she learned from Action Against Hunger’s awareness sessions. The sessions taught her about the importance of water, how to use water efficiently, food hygiene, and personal hygiene. “I am the person they come to understand and learn from,” she said proudly, referring to other women in her neighborhood. Being a Lead Mother affected Ahlam’s life as well as the lives of the other women she supervises. “I was unemployed and did not do any trainings for one year,” she said. “This changed everything as we never knew this information.”
Lead Mothers are part of Action Against Hunger’s ongoing project “WaSH Community Mobilization in Azraq Camp,” which is implemented in partnership with UNICEF. The project focuses on building on already established WaSH community structures to continue sustainability improving community knowledge and participation through social engagement sessions, water and wastewater networks, water demand management, community engagement and feedback, and water conservation.
"A women is a leader"
She believes that when women are given a chance to flourish they can do anything. “When we women take these trainings, they have a positive effect on our character, our behavior, our children, and our husbands.” Ahlam hopes that her role as a Lead Mother will encourage other women to follow her example. “…inside my heart I am proud to do such things for the people around me.”
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