Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO Director-General on the Airwaves with Syrian and Jordanian Youth

18 March - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova launched the “Syrian Hour” on the Amman-based Farah al Nas radio, a bi-weekly programme hosted by Jordanian youth that provides vital information to Syrian refugees and gives them a platform to express their views and needs.

She gave a live interview to the young listeners of the programme, stressing the essential role that young people play in mitigating the human impact of the Syria crisis on refugees and on the hosting communities.

The radio project, supported by UNESCO with Funds-in-Trust from the Government of Japan, trains Jordanian youth reporters in broadcasting techniques for conducting reportages among the Syrian refugee population as well as the Jordanian host communities.

“Radio is the most powerful medium that exists to get messages across and to reach young people who are carrying the burden of this crisis,” said Ms Bokova. “The programme provides a much needed platform for dialogue between Syrian refugees in Jordan and Jordanian youth on issues of shared concern, promoting access to information, freedom of expression and serving as a tool for mutual understanding and social inclusion.”

The programme on Farah al Nas radio marks a new phase in a project that began in November 2012, targeting Syrian refugees in host communities in Irbid, Mafraq, Zarqa and Amman governorates, which together host more than 80% of the Syrian refugee population in Jordan.

From health, education and labour to legal issues, the programme provides basic life-saving information to Syrian refugees and helps to raise awareness about their rights. By giving them a voice, it also contributes to reducing their feeling of isolation.

“This programme gives young refugees a platform to express themselves and to dialogue with Jordanian youth. We want to support them all psychologically, because they are under a lot of pressure. We are trying to make their voices heard, to listen to what they say,” said one of the Jordanian youth broadcasters trained under the project.

Farah al Nas- “joy of the people” - is named after the daughter of HRH Princess Basma bint Talal, Ms Farah Al-Daghistani, the Executive Director of JOHUD, the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development that comprises 50 community development centres throughout the Kingdom. It was one of the first organizations to support Syrian refugees in Jordan with life skills, remedial education and psycho-social support. “The lives of Jordanian and Syrian communities are so intertwined -- we want to foster this in a healthy way,” said Ms Al-Daghistani, in welcoming the Director-General to the Princess Basma Youth Resource Centre, where the radio is based. Two-pre-existing radios are engaged in the project, with support from Sweden and UNFPA. UNESCO mobilized funds for the extension of the project for a one-year period, leading to the launch of the radio programme in Amman during the Director-General’s visit, centred on the response to the Syrian crisis on Jordan and the wider region.