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Dead Sea, September 18, 2021 – The Ministry of Interior, Government of Norway, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Jordan, inaugurated the establishment of the COVID-19 Youth Volunteers’ Taskforce at the Dead Sea - Jordan. The Youth Volunteers’ Taskforce will work with local communities to boost the vaccination rate within the Kingdom meanwhile raising awareness on COVID-19 preventive measures. The launch of the initiative was attended by the Minister of Interior, His Excellency Mazin Abdallah Hilal Al Farrayeh and Ambassador of Norway to Jordan, His Excellency Espen Lindbæck.

The COVID-19 pandemic has implications that surpass a health crisis as its consequences touch on the economy and local levels, in particular local communities. The initiative will deliver trainings implemented by The Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS) to activate the role of the youth volunteers in achieving awareness raising on COVID-19 preventative measures as well encouraging members of the communities targeted to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. The first round of capacity building trainings, targeting 60 youth volunteers from Jerash, Madaba and Balqa Governorates, concluded on September 18, 2021.  These interactive and participatory capacity building programmes focus on instilling basic health-related in establishment regarding COVID-19 vaccination essentiality, preventive measures, pandemic regulating laws, and the SANAD application usages.

The initiative aims at establishing a Taskforce of 240 well trained, qualified men and women Youth Volunteers from the kingdom’s 12 governorates. The Volunteers will undergo capacity building trainings to qualify them to work on the local level to raise awareness on the core messages of the initiative. The Youth Volunteers will accompany the Ministry of Interior’s Inspection Teams deployed in the field to encourage people to register for the COVID-19 vaccinations as well as raise awareness on other related preventative measures.

This initiative, implemented under the Network of Local Government project, will promote principles of youth civic engagement, and responsive citizenry. Moreover, it will work on enhancing trust between citizens and their governing bodies.

Minister of Interior (MoI) H.E. Mazen Al-Faraya concluded the first round of the Capacity Building Programme by saying that the main mission of the Youth Taskforce is to assist MoI administrators and concerned bodies in each governorate in raising the awareness of people on vaccination and accompany MoI field teams to ensure compliance with the Orders of Defense. The purpose of this effort is to overcome the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and ensure continued opening of sectors and return to normal life.

His Excellency Espen Lindbæck the Royal Norwegian Ambassador affirmed that “COVID-19 is more than a health crisis as it directly affects communities and economies at their core. The Jordanian Government has done an excellent job in providing vaccines to the whole population. We hope that this initiative, supported by Norway in cooperation with UNDP and Ministry of Interior, will encourage more people to register for the vaccine and create more awareness about preventive measures. This is essential for the society to recover and reopen in a safe way.”

UNDP Resident Representative Sara Ferrer Olivella also added in a press statement that, “Despite Jordan’s reasonable vaccination rates, a significant portion of the Jordanian population still feel hesitant towards the vaccine. UNDP believes that youth can play an important role in supporting the Jordanian government’s plan towards boosting vaccination level. This Taskforce aims to increase outreach and community mobilization to register for vaccination, follow public measures and most importantly to prevent and reduce fear and stigma related to COVID-19.”

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