Harra

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Harra

Jordan
Project Stage:
Scaling
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Mohamed Abu Amerah is recreating the tightly knit social fabric of the Arab society, torn apart by rapid urban expansion and the consequent shift in focus from the community to self-interests. He is reviving the traditional and cultural concept of the old harra (neighborhood) and what it represents as a space for community participation, mutual respect, and protection for vulnerable groups. He is recreating the social and economic fabric of the harra by fostering interdependence in the community to solve the problems which have arisen because of modernization, namely anonymity, neglect of public spaces, and lack of safety nets.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Mohamed is promoting a sense of community ownership, which increases both the residents’ sense of belonging and responsibility; his motto for the initiative is “Our Harra, Our City, Our Country.” Through communal physical rehabilitation projects, the inhabitants of the neighborhood start developing a sense of belonging defined by common space, through collaboration in those projects social networks are created and new bonds are cultivated superceding ethnic and tribal allegiances. To improve the livelihood of the Harra, Mohamed organizes capacity building and educational programs where neighbors exchange skills and resources, and form consumer and trade cooperatives which leverage the collective purchasing power of the neighborhood. The Harra Initiative, which Mohammed founded in 2005, is currently in its pilot stage in the Jabal al-Joffeh region of Amman, Jordan. Mohammed's Harra is a unique initiative in the Levant region, and has wide-spread relevance in the Arab World. Mohammed envisions Harra as a communal development model for developing countries, particularly when community erosion is the result of unplanned, rapid urban expansion, re-establishing a balance between urbanization, environmental health, communal well-being, and neighborly cooperation. Mohamed is currently planting the seeds for more harras by identifying and training change agents, natural leaders who are dissatisfied with the status quo. Following this step, he will expand throughout Amman, then Jordan, and then into other Arab countries. While others are working in the field of community development, none involve the community in the development process to the same extent. In addition, unlike some other organizations, Harra started entirely as a grassroots effort, independent from the government and without the need of funding. It is the only initiative to work on building a social infrastructure by strengthening communal ties and build more independent, self-reliant communities, committed to their own social development.