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The Open Society Foundations in Jordan

The Open Society Foundations have been working in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan since 1999, when we began supporting organizations there that were promoting media independence and freedom. Over the years, our work in the Kingdom has expanded to support entities working in diverse fields including refugee assistance, economic justice, and gender equality.

Jordan, which sits at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe, and enjoys close ties to the West, is home to some 2.8 million registered refugees and asylum seekers from across the Arab region, according to UNRWA and UNHCR’s 2022 statistics. The country is also home to hundreds of international and local humanitarian organizations. Open Society opened its first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional office in the Jordanian capital, Amman, in 2006.

In 2021, Jordan launched a comprehensive political, economic, and public sector reform process to pursue democratic accountability, transparency, welfare, and prosperity. The reform initiatives emphasize greater citizen participation in decision-making and increased transparency and accountability at all levels of government. Our upcoming work strategies in the Kingdom aim to contribute to these goals and support further modernization in the country.

Infographic showing Open Society's 2020 expenditures in Jordan by theme (Economic Equity and Justice: 14%; Equality and Antidiscrimination: 34%; Health and Rights: 12%; Higher Education: 40%; total expenditures in Jordan ($1.6M), and total expenditures in the Middle East and North Africa region ($35.4M)

Nine Facts About Jordan and the Open Society Foundations

  1. We have provided funding to the Growth Lab at Harvard University’s Center for International Development for a research collaboration with Jordan’s state economic institutions. The research helped these institutions develop their policies on economic growth, encourage more foreign direct investment, and improve their negotiations with international financial institutions.
  2. We support legal aid centers in Jordan that help vulnerable and economically underprivileged groups to access justice. This includes the Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA), a legal aid provider working across all of the country’s 12 governorates. The JCLA provides pro bono legal consultations and representation to thousands of people every year including Jordanian citizens, as well as migrant workers and refugees in Jordan. We also support Takeem for Legal Aid and Human Rights that focuses on providing legal services to migrant workers and on promoting the application of international human rights law in Jordan’s legal system.
  3. We assist refugees in Jordan by supporting Ruwwad Al-Tanmeya, a community development organization that empowers disenfranchised communities, including refugees, through education, youth volunteerism, and grassroots organizing. The organization helps them access economic empowerment opportunities including employment.
  4. We fund academic institutions such as the Centre for Lebanese Studies that was established in 1984 and focused on social science research in Lebanon. The center’s work now also covers Jordan and, in 2019, it opened an office in the Jordanian capital Amman. The center’s areas of research include education, migration and displacement, disability, and social movements. The center’s knowledge production helps promote social dialogue on important issues impacting Jordanian society.
  5. We support the independent Jordan-based feminist collective, Takatoat. The organization is led by young Jordanian feminist activists working to spread feminist knowledge, establish safe spaces for women and girls, challenge domineering patriarchal systems, and collaborate with like-minded groups across the MENA region.
  6. Our grantee Sadaqa champions the rights of working women in Jordan by advocating for and improving the capacity, sustainability, and working conditions of day care centers.
  7. We support independent media platforms such as Jordan’s 7iber, a multimedia organization and online magazine that promotes accountability, social justice, and pluralism. 7iber also organizes public talks and debates and conducts training programs for young journalists.
  8. We support entities promoting economic justice in Jordan such as Phenix for Sustainable Development that seeks to reform labor policies based on international principles of democracy and human rights. The center conducts research and advocacy, organizes conferences, and provides capacity building for organizations working to achieve the same goals.
  9. As part of our commitment to boosting civic engagement, we fund Ahel, a Jordanian organization that helps communities organize grassroots campaigns to advance justice and human rights protections in the Middle East and North Africa. Among Ahel’s most successful campaigns have been one that advanced the rights of people with disabilities in Jordan, and another that stopped 110 child marriages in Lebanon.


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