Accountability, Governance and Participation – RASED (The Observer)

This program focuses on monitoring local elections with focus on parliamentary and municipal elections, parliamentary performance, and performance evaluations of Members of Parliament (MPs) and some of the government local action plans and commitments toward enhancing open government values of transparency, accountability and public participation. The program works also to promotes decentralization, and works on the integration of citizens in decision-making processes (particularly women and youth). RASED also continue to analyse laws and policies regarding political reform and encourages active participation of citizens in the decision making process.

Hayat has implemented many activities at both the local and international levels in the field of election monitoring and the design of electoral campaigns and access to electoral rules. Al Hayat Center works with a large network of volunteers, institutions, and local and international partners and has monitored Jordan parliamentary elections in 2007, 2010 and 2013 and Jordan municipal elections in 2013, as well as local elections of bodies such as the Teacher’s Union, the Geologist’s Union, and various Chambers of Commerce. The monitoring process is performed through a local coalition lead by RASED with over 160 CSOs and CBOs.

Al Hayat Center has also established alliances with local organizations across the region, including Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Libya, where the Center has trained groups of CSOs on monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for elections and the design of electoral campaigns. Additionally, Al Hayat has engaged in a number of international missions specializing in electoral monitoring that have been undertaken in countries including, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, and Algeria.

Through its RASED program, IKSAB CENTER participated in the development of  The Declaration of Global Principals for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations under the auspices of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the United Nations Secretariat. IKSAB CENTER also serves as an active member of The Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM) ever since and is a member of the Opening Parliament Legislative group.

Through RASED, IKSAB CENTER has been monitoring Jordan’s Parliament since 2009, starting with the 15th Parliament. In 2013, IKSAB CENTER was the first in the region to develop MP Scorecards to rate the performance of members of the 17th Parliament in way that was easily digestible to the public, and the Center has provided various trainings in this regard in the region.

The Center  has extensive experience in lobbying government and parliament where change is needed. RASED’s efforts in this regard resulted in the establishment of the Independent Election Commission in Jordan. Additionally, pressure from IKSAB resulted in the establishment of National Dialogue on importance reform projects such as: the Election Law, the Decentralization Law, and the Law of Municipalities. Such an effort was the first of its kind in Jordan, wherein local networks were built to put pressure on decision-makers in order to make decisions conforming to international legislative frameworks in relation to these subjects. As such, RASED contributed to the modification of more than 25 articles in the 2016 Decentralization Law.

In 2013 Monitoring extends to government, where IKSAB Center acts as the International Reporting Mechanism (IRM) Researcher for the Open Government Partnership in regards to Jordan. IKSAB has been tasked with monitoring the Jordanian government’s adherence to its first two OGP Plans, following up on commitments and reporting on the government’s performance. In 2014 RASED started to monitor the most recent and comprehensive local plan that works toward enhancing the integrity and accountability of the government “the National Integrity System” and still publishing periodic reports in this regards.

Local governance and decentralization is also an area of expertise and of interest to IKSAB Center.  The Center was the first to accompany both the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in a National Dialogue about the law. IKSAB also works on educating Jordanian society and raising awareness among its partners in all governorates on the regulatory frameworks for decentralization and municipal work. Simultaneously, the Center encourages local governments to adhere to international standards and works to build the capacity of members of local councils, focusing on female members. Moreover, IKSAB provides technical and material assistance to local councils to enhance their performance and introduce them to new ways to overcome challenges and engage with citizens. All in all, over 145 activities have been implemented in relation to local governance and decentralization in Jordan as of 2016.

The integration of gender in policy-making and Jordanian society has been at the center of IKSAB RASED program, which aims to enhance the democratic empowerment of women through series of specialized training workshops. The Center focuses on promoting the political participation of women and the strengthening of women’s rights in this area, based on international best practices to incorporate gender in political action, national plans and policies, and senior leadership positions in the public sector. Additionally, IKSAB has worked on Gender Responsive Budgeting and the provision of services to women. The Center’s pioneering Kitchen Meetings methodology has reached over 12,000 women across all  governorates in the Kingdom, resulting in many of sucess stories in this field.

IKSAB Center also works on building the capacities of female candidates to support their campaigns in parliamentary elections while remaining politically unbiased. Additionally, IKSAB continues to support women by working to enhance their performance in the House of Representatives. Mechanisms that measure candidate focus on gender equality and youth empowerment in their campaigns are also in place, which brings to the forefront candidates whose campaigns focus on social programs and promoted the inclusion of women and such programs in electoral lists.

Similarly, IKSAB works tirelessly to ensure the inclusion of youth in political life, supporting their growth as active citizens. Election monitoring programs include youth volunteers, and dialogue sessions have been conducted with local and foreign peers. Furthermore, IKSAB actively involves youth in the discussion of important public issues and political rights,  and builds their capacity for critical and creative thinking through high school debate clubs and civic education classes at a university level. The integration of youth priorities within the electoral platforms of various candidates has also been advocated for, and youth have been encouraged to participate in the elections through open days and national caravans.