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Initiative seeks to connect all local voluntary activities

By Muath Freij - Jan 20,2014 - Last updated at Jan 20,2014

AMMAN — A new campaign was launched recently with the aim of bringing together all voluntary initiatives in the Kingdom to better serve society and the country.

Dubbed “Ahel Al Balad” (the people of the country), the campaign seeks to become an umbrella for all voluntary groups to ensure the sustainability of their activities, according to Luma Qadoumi, who launched the campaign with nine other Jordanians.

“We want to create a network consisting of all volunteers in Jordan to let them work with each other and implement their ideas together through Ahel Al Balad,” she told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

Qadoumi noted that there are many voluntary groups in Jordan working separately, and this might not be beneficial in the long run.

“Their activities are not sustainable. Our idea is to bring together all volunteers to enable them to organise their activities regularly and cooperate more closely,” she said.

“For example, maybe one person from the south wants to plant trees; he/she can meet new volunteers who are interested in the same topic via the campaign’s network,” Qadoumi added.

The activist urged volunteers to join Ahel Al Balad to serve society in a more organised manner.

“Ahel Al Balad is open to everyone who has an idea that can benefit our society in all its domains,” Qadoumi added.

The first initiative launched under Ahel Al Balad was called “The country is clean with its people,” she said, adding that it aimed to end the practice of littering.

She noted that they conducted a study to find out why people randomly throw trash.

“Many people said they did so because the taxes they pay cover sanitation workers’ salaries, so they don’t feel they should avoid littering, while others said there was no difference if they stopped littering as others will continue to do so.”

Qadoumi said littering has a negative impact on tourism.

“Many of my friends who visit Jordan complain about the great amount of garbage on the street.”

Ahel Al Balad, she said, will start conducting awareness campaigns next month through radio and TV advertisements and billboards, adding that clean-up activities will be implemented with volunteer groups in the Kingdom.

The campaign will also cooperate with the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) in its activities.

“We want to install garbage containers in places that receive a great number of visitors like Rainbow Street. GAM has already supported our idea, which will be implemented by collecting donations from the public,” she added.

Qadoumi said the campaign will also work with GAM to enforce the laws against littering.

“There are laws that punish people who throw garbage, but they are not well enforced,” she noted.

Qadoumi stressed that Amman residents are also responsible for keeping their city clean.

“We painted graffiti on a wall near the municipality’s headquarters in Amman displaying the name of the clean-up campaign,” the activist said.

“We used orange because it represents the colour of sanitation workers’ uniforms and also attracts attention,” she added.

More information on this campaign is available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ahelalbaladJO) and Twitter (@ahelalbalad).

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