Living in: Amman, Jordan
Rania is a development practitioner with 12 years of experience in developing and managing projects that tackle gender inequality, poverty and unemployment. She has worked in several international organizations including Oxfam GB, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and the United Nations Development Programme in Jordan and the Middle East North Africa region. Her experience has covered a wide variety of projects including Millennium Development Goals reporting and planning; poverty measurement and statistics; Human Development reports; support to small and medium enterprises and linking jobs with higher education outputs and projects that foster ICT as a tool for education and job creation especially for people in marginalized locations and persons with disabilities. Her regional experience was focused on gender equality programming and strategising.
Key highlights for her include conceptualising and managing gender needs assessments in six countries with wide stakeholder involvement and a regional analysis to inform strategy development at UN Women.. She also takes pride in having managed a regional multi-stakeholder programme at Oxfam that supported leadership and political participation of women, especially those living in poor and rural areas. . Rania led the regional work, with her team and 15 women’s organisations that aimed to enhance learning, coordination, better targeting of marginalised groups and campaigning. Rania also developed and led a small grants component that funded promising initiatives by emerging grassroots women and youth organizations in remote, neglected or poor areas.
Rania is currently providing consultancy work in the same fields taking up assignments such as proposal development, management advice and monitoring and evaluation support. Most recently she has been conducting a mid-term review for a regional gender equality programme and she completed management support to a project that works with Persons with Disabilities in Kuwait. Her previous independent work included primary baseline research studies for a project by GTZ in Jordan that aimed to alleviate poverty through municipal development.
Rania is an architect by training with a master’s degree in Urban Management from the Urban Management Centre at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her master’s thesis was concerned with the digital divide: i.e. the gap between the “have” and the “have-nots” and whether ICT-access policies could improve disadvantaged people’s lives in urban areas in Jordan.
My interest in studying inequality stems from a concern that has both normative and practical bases. Globalisation and recent developments such the financial crisis and the war on terror threaten to increase the sense of inequality; insecurity and reinforce narrow identities and fear of the other. I am concerned about losing perspective of the purpose of human solidarity and therefore losing equality as a “consensus value”, even if nowadays it remains more in the rhetoric than an achievement in practice.
Practically, inequality has negative consequences on society. Accumulation of wealth in the hands of certain groups means impoverishment of others. Unequal opportunities in the long run threaten to destabilise neighbourhoods, countries and even the globe. Inequality before the law renders specific groups that are discriminated against vulnerable. Furthermore, accumulation of wealth and consequently power in the hands of a minority jeopardises democracy, transparency and the rule of law and therefore undermines overall welfare. Yet inequality remains under-prioritised in mainstream global and national policies.
I am interested in learning more about the dilemmas of inequality; dimensions of inequality; global inequality and the impact of globalisation economically and culturally as well as the changing role of media; the politics of inequality and redistribution and how social policy can address inequality; welfare definitions and measurements and the role of the state, non-governmental organisations and international organisations. I am particularly interested in the relationship with poverty and vulnerability and how to find practical and actionable solutions to impact social mobility and a redistribution of power.
I applied to the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity because it is distinctive in the access it promises to a network of activists, academics and practitioners with similar interests and with a wide variety of experiences from around the globe. It is a great opportunity for exchange and engagement with this group, to learn from them, be inspired by them, run ideas by them and possibly work together on joint projects. The AFp is also a space to develop as a leader and be supported and inspired to take action to achieve my aims.
What I aim to achieve after this programme is to be able provide reliable evidence-based policy advice to governments, international or national organizations on policies and programmes that aim to tackle poverty and inequalities. It would be ideal if I can work in different countries and varied contexts. I also hope to use such evidence in advocacy to push for these goals where these are not prioritised. At one point within the next 5 years, I hope to start a research and policy advocacy initiative working together with other organizations and with particular social groups who suffer “intersections of inequality” to develop common positions, voice and push for more equitable policies and outcomes in innovative ways.