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Promoting Social Activism in Jordan

by on July 29, 2010

As we’ve shown through the last five weeks on this blog, social media offers some great tools that enable individuals and corporations to reach large audiences. No application of these tools is more noble and just than individuals that use social media to organize communities to help those in need.

One such individual, Ali Dahmash, is doing his part to not only organize his online following to help Palestinian refugees in Jordan, but also to promote the use of social media to achieve peace in the Middle East through open dialog.

Ali Dahmash

Meet Ali Dahmash

Dahmash primarily organizes his efforts through his blog, Under the Olive Tree. His blog seeks to accomplish many goals including helping needy children afford expensive medical treatments, announcing events from charitable organizations, and promoting social media and digital technology in Jordan. Some of the most interesting posts on his blog, though, are posts that include requests for donations like these:

“1. Washer An old woman needs a simple electric washer that has a door from the top. It costs 100JDs, found it in Carefour, you can buy it and deliver it to Ruwwad or the old lady.

2. AC: The medical center in Jabal Al Natheef needs an AC, can be used but in good condition. I can deliver it, let me know”

In this way, Dahmash is a middle man of the highest order. He gets connected to people he knows that need assistance (who he insists on meeting personally), and also commands a dedicated audience of charitable donors. If someone who reads his blog can help, whether in the above case with a washer or an A/C unit, he’ll deliver it himself. He is clearly dedicated to the cause.

Aside from managing his own network, he also devotes some of his time to promoting other individuals like himself that work for causes in Jordan, such as Hana Ramli, who started Kitabi Kitabak (My Book Is Your Book) in an effort to start a children’s library in each Palestinian Refugee camp.

Clearly through his blog, Dahmash is making a significant contribution to those in need in Jordan and in Palestinian Refugee camps, and he is also helping other organizers achieve their goals.

But, the question that comes to mind for me is, who is organizing the organizers? How are these highly-motivated individuals pooling their efforts for the greater good? It seems to me that while each of these people are finding some degree of success, that they could be even more successful if there was some way to facilitate coordinating their efforts. While Dahmash’s contribution certainly cannot be discounted, there is a limit to what he can personally accomplish (although, his blog does include a good “Get Involved” listing) that could be surpassed if his efforts were combined in a large network of other individuals working to achieve similar goals. The easiest solution that comes to mind would be some kind of “Social Change for Jordan” Facebook page where these individuals could direct their audiences to go and interact with similarly minded people to discuss and complete socially-minded projects.

There are some sites that come close. 7iber is an aggregator of blogposts, that includes a calendar of events (including Meetups), a Twitter feed, and an associated Facebook group. However, it doesn’t seem to be purely a social activism aggregator (granted, half of the site is in Arabic, so I could be half wrong here).

If indeed this type of mass-organizing does not exist, maybe it’s an organization like the Palestine Red Crescent Society or the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, that creates a number of projects in it’s own right, that can bring all these organizers together to augment the impact they are already achieving on their own.

Until then, though, individuals like Ali Dahmash are to be commended for the results of their efforts for social activism in Jordan.

From → Jordan

  1. This was a fantastic post for several reasons. You found a unique topic, delved into it and shared a powerful story. You had some great language to describe what you found (I particularly liked the “middle man of the highest order” description), and you identified something that was certainly missing – a way of adding scale to one great man’s efforts. Not only that, but you offered some strong suggestions for how to combat this problem and went on to share your thoughts on how it could be solved. Your point of view came through strongly, your post was a great topic and the conclusion brought it all together. Nice work. (5)

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