- Thursday, October 26, 6:00 PM – Zoom link
We are closely monitoring the situation in the Middle East, particularly regarding Jordan. There is a strong possibility that it will be added to Duke’s no travel list in the near future. However, since there is still a six-month gap before DukeEngage programs are scheduled to begin, we currently do not have plans to cancel. Please note that this stance may change in the future, and we will provide ample notice if any cancellations become necessary. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
DukeEngage Jordan participants will support nonprofit and social enterprise efforts to bridge educational gaps for youth in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Commonly described as a moderate state in the Arab Middle East, Jordan’s diverse and growing civil society and social enterprise sectors continue to expand their projects aimed at ensuring that educational opportunities align with residents’ economic needs.
Education rates among Jordanian citizens are far higher than global averages, with 98% of Jordanians being literate and more than 35% of university-aged Jordanians being enrolled in a degree program. Jordan’s growing tech sector, particularly information and communications technology (ICT), boasts perhaps the strongest service exports in the region, with Jordanian-produced content representing 75% percent of all Arabic-language web content. However, against a backdrop of chronically high unemployment, disparate levels of access to traditional classroom education, and high populations of refugees, private and non-governmental organizations increasingly support the diverse needs of people residing within the Jordanian borders.
DukeEngage Jordan participants will volunteer at one of two organizations focused on education and training, I Learn Jordan or Eureka Tech Academy.
DukeEngage Jordan participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the social enterprise sector in Jordan. They will also consider the historical, regional and global factors that produce educational inequities and large populations of displaced people. Furthermore, participants will think about what constitutes a good education in terms of the form, content, and goals of education. Finally, participants will grapple with their personal roles as international volunteers amidst the Jordanian social landscape.
Applicants should indicate their interest in one of the following projects/areas of work. Students will be assigned to a specific project depending on their academic background and interests, the community’s needs, and information provided in the DukeEngage application. Working hours are generally 35-40 hours per week, Sunday through Thursday.
I Learn Jordan is an innovative Jordanian non-profit contributor to non-governmental education and training efforts. I Learn targets children and youth from low-income backgrounds, including residents of underserved rural areas and Palestinian refugee camps. Their projects range from providing safe spaces that foster children’s creativity, to training young adults to enter the gig economy, to documenting and analyzing the state of the Jordanian social enterprise sector. Students working on all projects should expect the bulk of their work to be in the office/Academy or remote (in Amman). However, all students will make occasional day trips for work to field sites outside Amman including in Palestinian refugee camps, accompanied by I Learn staff.
- I Learn’s Digital Product (Wathik): Wathik is an exciting new online platform that I Learn has developed to enhance the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors’ reporting methods and offer a cheaper solution to organizations in Jordan and the Middle East in monitoring and evaluating their projects. DukeEngage 2023 volunteers played major roles in designing and programming the earliest version of Wathik. We expect that in 2024, volunteers’ work on this project will be equally serious and rewarding. Volunteers with a Computer Science background are encouraged to express their interest in this project in the DE application. Please see information on specific desired skills in the “Skills” section below.
- The I Learn Organization (including grants and M&E): Grant writing is crucial to I Learn’s continued ability to operate. One volunteer may also participate in monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of other I Learn projects, including in areas like education and water use. M&E work will involve collecting and analyzing data, helping track progress, identifying areas for improvement, and ensuring the projects’ success generally. Students with Education, Public Policy, Political Science, and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies backgrounds are encouraged to express their interest in these areas of work in the DE application, along with any students with writing experience or data analysis and presentation experience.
Eureka Tech Academy is an award-winning Jordanian organization working on providing opportunities for students to develop their innovative capabilities in the areas of technology and engineering. Eureka’s projects have ranged from curriculum building in public schools to extracurricular offerings like robotics and engineering training.
- Content creation for new tech courses: One new aspect of Eureka Tech Academy’s model is their digital resources that teach kids about technology. As a volunteer in content creation for Eureka Tech Academy’s kids’ curriculum, your tasks will encompass crafting captivating educational materials and interactive digital content on coding, machine learning, web development, cyber security, and AI. These resources will be tailored to youth aged 6-16, fostering their curiosity and knowledge in these vital tech domains. Students with Visual & Media Studies, Education, and Computer Science backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
- Child and Parent Psychology: Volunteers in Psychology at Eureka Tech Academy will create content and facilitate sessions to enhance the well-being, resilience, and self-confidence of children and parents. Interns will help develop age-appropriate resources, lead educational sessions, and analyze data to evaluate program effectiveness. This role offers a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on psychological development in the context of technology education for youth aged 6-16. Students with Education, Psychology, Sociology, and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
- Social Media: Volunteers in Social Media at Eureka Tech Academy will manage Eureka’s social media accounts to help document and promote the Academy’s activities. Students with Visual & Media Studies, Markets & Management, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, or related backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
Language:There are no language prerequisites for this program. Students with an interest in developing their Arabic skills for the program or otherwise are strongly encouraged to enroll in a 100-level Arabic class at Duke in Spring 2024. For students who have studied Arabic, this program provides an excellent opportunity to practice the language. Prior to arriving in Amman, all students will access materials to learn basic spoken Arabic dialect.
Coursework: No specific coursework is required for this program. See the skills section and project descriptions for ideas about what coursework may be relevant to different projects. Arabic language courses, or courses in Middle Eastern history, politics, or culture, will help students prepare for the experience of living in Jordan.
Skills: Applicants should indicate which area of work they are most excited about, and describe any experiences relevant to that area of work. For most projects, willingness to learn is just as important as the skills listed. First-year students are encouraged to apply.
For prospective I Learn volunteers: Students with a computer science background should describe any experience with web development, databases (particularly MySQL), PHP (particularly Laravel framework), Java, or Object-Oriented Programming. CS 201 covers many of the desired skills. However it is understood that many applicants with a computer science background will not have experience with all of the above. Students interested in grant proposal writing should have the ability to write persuasively, and passion about a topic related to I Learn’s work. Students interested in monitoring and evaluation should have the ability to write clearly using qualitative and quantitative data.
For prospective Eureka volunteers: Volunteers in Content for Tech Courses should have conceptual knowledge of computer science topics and experience in web development, graphic design, teaching, tutoring, or video production. Volunteers in Psychology should have some knowledge of psychology and experience with teaching, tutoring, mediating, mentoring, public speaking, graphic design, or writing. Volunteers in Social Media should have experience in social media, video production, or graphic design. All students should have enthusiasm about learning new skills.
Personal Qualities: The DukeEngage Jordan program thrives when the volunteers are enthusiastic for serious work and approach each other and partner organization staff with light-hearted, open, and respectful attitudes. DukeEngage Jordan volunteers work closely with partner organization staff.
All volunteers should exhibit honesty and ethical behavior, initiative, the ability to work independently in an unfamiliar environment, flexibility, open-mindedness (not succumbing to broad generalizations or simplistic assumptions), a collaborative mentality, commitment, creativity, enthusiasm, and a strong dedication to relevant social issues.
Housing, meals, and transportation: Students will live in one or two shared accommodations in West Amman, no further than 20 minutes away from I Learn and Eureka’s offices. Students should expect to share a bedroom with another DE participant. Students will be able to share transportation to and from the office or other work locations. Some students may be able to take public transit to work, depending on the location of their projects.
Students will be responsible for preparing most of their meals at the shared accommodation. They will be provided with stipends to buy groceries and occasional restaurant meals, particularly to assist with lunch during work hours.
Local safety, security, and cultural norms: We encourage students who have questions or concerns about health or safety in international programs to check Duke’s International SOS (ISOS) portal for relevant information. If you have special needs related to health, culture, disability, or religious practices, please contact the program director(s) or the DukeEngage office to discuss whether your needs can be accommodated in this program.
For guidance on how race, religion, sexual/gender identity, ability, or other aspects of identity might impact your travels, we suggest exploring the Diversity, Identity and Global Travel section of the DukeEngage website.
While all students are welcome to apply, this program may be of particular interest to students studying Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Computer Science, Economics, Education, Global Cultural Studies, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Comparative Studies, Markets and Management, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Statistical Science, or Visual/Media Studies.
DukeEngage cannot guarantee that any program will occur. Programs may be cancelled for various reasons, including COVID considerations.