Community Facilitators in the Pursuit of Justice: Lessons from Jordan on Recruitment, Training, & Data

The Community Empowerment Project, initiated by the Open Society Foundations in Jordan, builds on and complements existing refugee response efforts through legal empowerment and community-based justice services. The project supports both Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan to understand and use legal and administrative systems to find concrete solutions to justice problems. In the pilot phase of the project, three Jordanian organizations coordinated to incorporate a community facilitator approach into their existing legal aid programs. Community facilitators (CFs) are frontline justice workers recruited from within the communities where they work and supported by a team of project staff and lawyers. Community facilitators use basic knowledge of the law and administrative procedures and a range of skills to take on many roles that help beneficiaries gain access to justice, including conducting community outreach, providing information, accompanying beneficiaries to certain government offices, referring cases to lawyers and other service providers, and collecting information on beneficiaries and their grievances to support evidence-based advocacy efforts. CFs can address justice issues in various thematic areas. In this project, each partner chose to focus on justice issues that were urgent needs of the target communities and that fit within the mandate of the organization. Partners recruited both Jordanians and Syrians as community facilitators. During the pilot, Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA), and Tamkeen developed their community facilitator projects around some agreed commonalities, such as the role of the CF and basic training modules, while also leaving room for experimentation and adjustments based on their thematic areas of focus and organizational structures. Namati played a support role through sharing experiences and tools from the legal empowerment field, informing the planning process,and facilitating cross-partner learning. The following brief offer reflections on the recruitment, training, and data collection methods that these partner organizations used during the pilot phase of the community facilitator project. This resource is also available Arabic.