An Opportunity for Empowerment

Sunday, March 1, 2015 - 12:11

Leaders of Tomorrow are a youth-led, independent non-profit organization, which had been active since 2007 in Jordan and the region. Their mission is clearly dictated in their name and work, to build a community of young leaders who are educated, critical thinkers, initiative-takers, and capable of serving their local communities creatively.

Leaders of Tomorrow achieves its mission through its five initiatives: Fadfed, Mustkbalna, Diwanieh, Forsa and Mohaka that manifested as an embodiment of the organisation’s values of freedom of expression, thought, education, critical thinking, public gathering, breaking social taboos and equal access to leadership, education and capacity building.

On Saturday, 31 January, 2015, Leaders of Tomorrow launched a website and a mobile application for Forsa at a ceremony in Ras Al Ein Galleria in Downtown Amman, showcasing potential scholarships at universities around the world for Jordanian and regional students. The programme was aimed at people from the Near East and North Africa between the ages of 15 and 35 years of age, who submitted their applications, CVs and cover letters to the organisation; applicants were matched with suitable programmes.

We met with Suha Tbakhi, an Industrial Engineering student at the University of Jordan who is the Co-Founder of Fingers Hear Sounds (FHS), a device that aims to help people with hearing disabilities communicate effectively by converting the vibration of sound to pulses on the fingertips. Suha applied to the Forsa initiative by applying through the website, and was accepted and redirected to the Global Innovation through Science and Technology initiative (GIST), a programme by US Department of State that aims to build entrepreneurial ecosystems in 86 emerging economies across Latin America, Near and Middle East, Asia and Africa by identifying, coaching, and funding the most promising technology entrepreneurs through its flagship competitions, startup acceleration services, online social media platform and interactive mentorship programs. “They selected me from approximately 30 applicants, then I had the chance to present FHS in front of Jeff Hoffman and John Kerry,” said Tbakhi. “I’m doing another programme with the Swedish Counsel regarding FHS,” she added, “The programme is regarding women’s empowerment in the region.”

The last four months during the ActionAid funding period, Forsa has seen tremendous growth and received a lot of positive feedback from both the opportunity seekers as well as opportunity providers.

One of Forsa’s main activities are public street debates; gauging public sentiment at a grassroots level and informs citizens about policy changes and societal issues, such as Fadfed; simulation and role-playing retreats that provides eye-opening experiences on societal issues; preparing high school students for university; and a dynamic platform that builds capacity and shares the latest educational and skills development opportunities with youth in the region.

ActionAid pushed for Forsa because it gave youth the chance to attain information, and participate in the creation of the local and regional development. Approximately 1,500 people attended the event, with over 500 participation in the Fadfed platform, the board which allowed all the participants to write on a wall what they personally feel in regards to the educational system.