May 26, 2008

Amman Disabilities Guidebook

A new disability guidebook will be issued listing "democratic" friendly places with disability access.

I hope one day Amman city will be listed also. It's not a joke, but we need a national move toward imposing accessibility act toward new and existing projects in Amman. For the city to be democratic, every citizen need to enjoy living it, living, working, and shopping.

AMMAN (Petra) –– Hmoud Elimat, secretary general of the Higher Council for the Affairs of People with Disabilities, on Sunday said the council launched field surveys on centres and societies which provide services to the disabled and will issue a guidebook listing centres that meet the needs of people with disabilities.

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May 18, 2008

National Awarness for Car Accidents, a National Priority.

A poster showing KAFA campaign logo at the official launch of the nationwide traffic awareness campaign on Monday (Photo by Hani Hazaimeh)

A serious actions have been taken place in the Kingdom since the beginning of this year addressing the National catastrophe of Road Accidents in Jordan. Since then, the number of accidents is declining. An unofficial statistics claimed that the number of Road Accidents in the Kingdom decreased 30% and the curve is improving. This time it's not just Guerilla Campaigns, at least not all of them. Many initiatives in the country call for serious moves to stop the increasing number of accidents and to develop awareness to this national problem.

Some of these campaigns are :

Kafah (Or Enough): KAFA was originally an initiative by Her Majesty Queen Rania that kicked off in 2005 under the title: "The National Traffic Awareness CampaignAll concerned public, private and civil society institutions were engaged in the nationwide effort. The leader for car accidents awarness in the Kingdom, introducing the first steps towards social excellence and effectiveness. is introducing social change through real work at schools, streets and home zones.

Fact box
• A civilian is killed every nine hours
• A child is killed every 36 hours
• Road accidents are the second leading cause of death in Jordan, after cardiovascular diseases
• Every day, 303.1 accidents take place, 2.7 people die and 49.2 are injured
• Jordan’s material losses resulting from accidents amounted to JD281million in 2007, while the Arab world loses around $65 billion due to traffic accidents every year
• More than a million people worldwide are killed and more than 25 million are injured in road accidents annually

Source: PSD and RHAS

AMMAN - (By Hani Hazaimeh)

Promoting and fostering a culture of traffic safety by raising public awareness and bringing about behavioural change was the goal of the "KAFA", or “enough”, campaign the Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS) launched yesterday.

KAFA was originally an initiative by Her Majesty Queen Rania that kicked off in 2005 under the title: "The National Traffic Awareness Campaign
All concerned public, private and civil society institutions were engaged in the nationwide effort.

Last Tuesday, Queen Rania, who chairs RHAS’ board of trustees, headed a meeting of KAFA activists, who represent grassroots Jordanians in different governorates.

She highlighted in the gathering the youths’ role in road safety endeavours and their ability to persuade their peers and families to adhere to traffic regulations.

"The campaign is meant to be one of the leading community-based projects addressing traffic as a national priority," RHAS Director General Enaam Barrishi told a press conference on Monday.

Barrishi explained that the programme comprises three components: KAFA Youth, KAFA Children and KAFA Media.

"We aspire through the campaign to spread traffic awareness through media to influence individuals’ behaviour and motivate them to be more responsible drivers on the road," she added.

The media campaign, which began on April 30 in cooperation with local media outlets, aims to increase traffic awareness through “messages from a reality perspective which will encourage the public to be up to their responsibilities”.

"We hope people will realise the dangers on roads," she said, stressing that the campaign will focus in the coming three months on the dangers of speeding, proper use of seat belts, improper use of lanes, ignorance of “stop” signs and speaking on cellphones while driving.

"The campaign's committee will assess the impact of its initiative on the community after three months and will decide the next course of action accordingly," she added.

However, Barrishi added, the campaign will focus on speeding as the main culprit in the high number of accidents and casualties.

Colonel Khalid Kilani, deputy director of the Jordan Traffic Institute, said improving the situation of road infrastructure, setting and activating stiffer traffic regulations, along with traffic awareness programmes, will lead eventually to changing the mentality of motorists.

Efforts are already paying off, he said. The officer pointed out that the number of traffic accidents dropped by 30 per cent in the first quarter of this year and by 20 per cent in terms of injuries.

"The PSD has deployed officers in plainclothes on all public transportation vehicles in order to monitor the behaviour of drivers while at work," he said.

Responding to a question by The Jordan Times, Kilani said PSD is considering granting incentives to drivers who keep a clean record regarding traffic violations One of the suggestions, currently under discussion with insurance companies, is to exempt disciplined drivers from part of the mandatory insurance fees, he told reporters.

He noted that the Ministry of Higher Education, in cooperation with the PSD, is preparing a traffic textbook that will be incorporated into public university curricula.

Meanwhile, KAFA team will be staging a rally on May 9 under the patronage of Queen Rania.

The march will start at the Children’s Museum in King Hussein Park and finish at the Ministry of Public Works and Housing near the 8th Circle.

May 13, 2008

Activism .. Actions Not Words

Students of Nayfeh school in Amman cross the street in front of their school after the area was made safer under an initiative by Hikmat Road Safety (Photo courtesy of Hikmat Road Safety)

"To be effective, I didn't come here for some billbords and words I came to make an action," this is how Mr. Maher Qadourah started his speach last weekend at the seminar conducted by Shoman Association titeled: " Road Accidents ... Order point".
He continued: "and we are doing it right now" ... "We need your support and participation" We need volunteers

The father of a victim of a car accident in Jordan want to make a change. Do we have to pay that big of a price for us to be a doers?

I believe this initiative is in the core goal of Amman Voice: " We need to start thinking about a campaign building the movement to re-imagine our streets as lively public places."

And it's happening now, Hikmat Road Safety are doing it.

AMMAN - (JT) In order to encourage the private sector to help
address traffic accidents, Hikmat Road Safety founders on Tuesday announced the
“Sponsor-a-Zone: Save-a-Life” initiative.
The Hikmat Road Safety organisation was established in memory of Hikmat Qadourah, who was killed in a hit-and-run car accident in January. The organisation began as a personal initiative by his father, Maher Qadourah, who refused to let his only son’s
death become just another statistic.

“Sponsor-a-Zone is a programme where individuals or organisations play vital roles in reducing accidents in the country,” Qadourah told The Jordan Times on Tuesday, adding that sponsors will be directed towards enhancing road safety in specific zones selected by stakeholders.
“We aim to make individuals realise their responsibilities towards ensuring better road safety and a safer environment,” Qadourah told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.
This initiative offers the opportunity to the private sector as well as individuals to participate in the campaign to ensure pedestrians safer roads, he added.
The initiative aims to enhance safety measures in at least 100 schools and 100 streets by the end of 2008, Qadourah said, stressing that the financial contributions made to the initiative will be directed towards reducing traffic speeds, creating safer home zones for children and guaranteeing pedestrian safety around schools.
For example, Qadourah said, 15 girls from Nayfeh school in the east Amman’s Al Hashimi Al Shamali neighbourhood have been victims of road accidents in the vicinity of their school over the past year.
“We have just finished renovations that should considerably reduce the frequency of the number of such accidents in that area,” the activist added.
He noted that students in Nayfeh school themselves made a symbolic contribution to the maintenance works to the roads,which cost a total of JD5,000.
“They paid 10 fils each. We wanted to make them feel that they share the responsibility,” Qadourah said.
According to Education Ministry’s statistics, over 4,800 accidents took place in the vicinity of schools in 2007, Qadourah pointed out, adding that his institution has targeted 15 other schools to be made pedestrian-safe areas before the end of March.

“Unless individuals understand the social responsibility of road safety and begin to act, the efforts to promote a safer environment will become increasingly more difficult,” he said.
In addition to schools, Qadourah said that the organisation has made a road safety
plan for Mecca Street, where his son was hit and killed, a street he believes
lacks minimum requirements of pedestrians safety measures.
“We will make our roads more pedestrian-friendly and according to world-class standards,” he added.
“Studies revealed that the average speed on that street is over 90km/h while it should not exceed 50-60km/hr,” he said, adding that today they will meet with officials from Greater Amman Municipality and the Public Security Department.
“If the design was adopted by the participants, we expect maintenance work on Mecca Street to be completed by June15,” he said.
According to Qadourah, the changes will include more speed bumps and guardrails to prevent pedestrians from crossing the street in places other than pedestrian crossings.

Starbucks VS Tsch Tsch

Last night after a nice dinner with my friend we decided to go at 10:30 Pm to check the new Tsch Tsch cafe in Swifieh, I don't usually go these kind of places but I thought of checking it out, my mood was into smoking an Arghellieh. We drove 20 min and we were excited to try the new place, but, it never happen.

As soon as we got in, the waiter asked us: Where are you going?
I answered with surprise: we are here and we need a table.
The waiter replied: It's not allowed.
I said: why, are you closing?
The waiter answered: no, it's only for Families.
I argued: what do you mean by families.
The waiter answered: you need to bring girls.
I answered: who do you think we are?

And we left, pissed off and I am still pissed off and that's why I am writing about it here.

I can argue and argue about it and say a million reasons for this sexiest, discriminated, unprofessional, (what other words can I use...I am so pissed) ok..unfriendly behavior but it didn't seem that the waiter was hungry enough to let us in.

Me and my friend Rami are in our 30's, a good looking handsome guys, he lived outside this country like I did, traveled the world and explored different cultures, decided to come back to our home country to celebrate it with our families and participate in it's development. We wanted to celebrate a local coffee, like our grandfathers did, then we end up being kicked out from it, and it happened also in other places too, just because we didn't have a company from the other sex.

We wanted to enjoy our bachelor life, but we left pissed off from the Hospitality of this Jordanian branded coffee house that we decided to abandon forever.

So we end up going to the other coffee house besides Tsche Tsche, which was Starbucks.

Oops, Starbucks! Yes, a nice clean smoke free place were they welcome you with smiles, and never ask you to leave, they sell the best coffee and offer the best environment, locally and internationally. You can bring your laptop there or sit on a table for hours without any interruptions, and they don't look at your pocket while you are enjoying their service.

I am not promoting for Starbucks, they don't need it from me anyway, but this is a comparison between us and the others. Between an equality culture VS sexiest cultures, quality vs no quality, healthy Vs unhealthy, between too services and too countries.

Finally, I will keep enjoying my cup of coffee at starbucks because our countries can't produce something like Starbucks.

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Boycott Restuarants in Amman

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