The Information and Research Center – King Hussein Foundation (IRCKHF) serves as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation through research, information and dissemination of knowledge. The IRCKHF was initially launched in 1996 as part of the National Task Force for Children. Today, its promotes the welfare of children, youth, women, families, communities, and vulnerable groups by providing objective, multidisciplinary research and analysis to practitioners and policymakers in Jordan and the Middle East, enabling effective socio-economic planning and decision-making.
Through cooperation with national and international partners and the creation of an online platform for knowledge sharing, the IRCKHF advocates for positive change by disseminating research findings on critical issues falling under the pillars of social cohesion, equality and justice, and civil society empowerment. The IRCKHF provides access to information using quality research, education and awareness, and advocacy.
'Mobilizing Knowledge for Social Change'
Image Credit: IRCKHF
- Conduct and disseminate international standard quality multidisciplinary research in Arabic and other languages
- Promote international research quality standards and ethics
- Build an information hub on socio-economic research
- Share knowledge and network with national and international institutions to promote positive change
- Transfer knowledge enhancement skills to individuals, communities, and institutions
- Utilize new media for knowledge sharing, creation and advocacy
- Training as a continuous process of internal capacity building and a service to external stakeholders
Social Cohesion According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “a cohesive society works towards the well-being of all its members, fights exclusion and marginalisation, creates a sense of belonging, promotes trust, and offers its members the opportunity of upward mobility.” Strengthening social cohesion is a long-term process to which the IRCKHF is committed. As defined by the scholar Ibn Khaldūn, it is a "force binding groups together through a common language, culture and social behavior.” Social cohesion is based on many factors, all of which are based on inclusiveness, such as an inclusive educational system, a stable macroeconomic environment permitting opportunities for development, closing the gender gap, fostering diversity, and emphasizing the common values shared by society. Whether in the subject matter being researched and advocated for, or the approach and methodology used, the IRCKHF looks for inclusive approaches that promote empowerment of the stakeholders and give authentic voice to the stakeholders.
Equality and Justice Aristotle wrote, “Justice is equality, but only for equals; and justice is inequality, but only for those who are unequal.” While it is true that there has always been controversy concerning the notion of equality, and the relationship between justice and equality, the IRCKHF works towards equality by challenging injustice and valuing diversity and equality for social justice. We conduct research and advocacy on issues of discrimination in order to eliminate social exclusion and advocate for justice. Over the years, we have worked on many equality issues, and have especially focused on those surrounding human rights, and advocating equality for women, minorities, and vulnerable groups so that all may enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society.
Civil Society Empowerment Civil society is one of the three important sectors of society, along with the private and public sectors. The way to include civil society in the policy making process is still an evolving matter on a global scale, however what has been recognized is the key role that civil society plays in the democratization and reform processes. In all of our information programs, the IRCKHF cooperates with various partners of civil society including other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs), when carrying out any of our projects. As the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has established, “engagement with civil society is critical to national ownership of development processes, democratic governance, and the quality and relevance of official development programmes.” At the IRCKHF, we recognize that it is the entities of civil society that make us the closest to the grassroots and daily life of beneficiaries and communities. We look for project design methods that include the capacity building of our partners, inclusive research methodologies, and community engagement for raising awareness and advocacy, so that all our work with our partners in civil society is authentic, inclusive, sustainable, and empowering.
Research Everything the IRCKHF does begins with research. Research feeds into all our other information programs, however research is also dependent on our access to information of both primary and secondary sources. It is one of our strategic objectives to conduct and disseminate international standard quality multidisciplinary research, and we design our research projects to be holistic and as inclusive as possible for beneficiaries. We conduct both qualitative and quantitative research, as well as needs and impact assessments, and monitoring and evaluation. It is also our objective to promote international research quality standards and ethics. We are the Middle East – North Africa representative on the Board of the Childwatch International Research Network, and have been trained by them and Save the Children International in using creative methodologies and the ethical considerations for data collection with children. Research can only make an impact if the knowledge it creates is used. That is why in all of our research, we not only draw upon conclusions but we validate them and our recommendations with the beneficiaries before taking them to the relevant stakeholders. Research on its own will not change policies. In order to uphold our mission, the IRCKHF’s programs have set up a process that links research and policy together. Research findings cannot be left idle and be expected to make an impact at the policy level without the steps of Education & Awareness and Advocacy in-between, as it would be calling for a change in policy without the support of the beneficiaries, the community, and stakeholders.
Education & Awareness At the IRCKHF, education and awareness is the next program after research as it is used to disseminate the research results. We use new media for knowledge sharing, and cooperate closely with print and broadcast media when disseminating information from our research. It is one of our objectives to transfer knowledge enhancement skills to individuals, communities, and institutions. Based on our needs assessments on certain issues, we have also conducted trainings for areas of knowledge transfer that have been identified by the local community as needs, especially for Research Skills, human rights issues, and monitoring and evaluation. For example, based on the needs of poverty pockets in Jordan, the IRCKHF in partnership with UNESCO developed the Early Childhood and Development Family Education Kit to empower mothers and caregivers of children; it was later expanded with UNHCR to address the needs of refugee mothers and caregivers. As researchers and advocates of socio-economic issues, we find it imperative to include Monitoring and Evaluation as an ongoing process within our work; however we have also passed on that knowledge to our partners in civil society by training and mentoring them so that organizations and individuals may identify the change or impact they want to measure. We strongly believe that Education and Awareness is a form of community engagement, especially when the knowledge being shared is based on research conducted with the same beneficiaries.
Advocacy Traditionally, advocacy is known as the process of speaking on behalf of someone. Recently however, and especially from the perspective of civil society organizations such as ourselves, it includes work that brings about positive change. At the IRCKHF, advocacy is used for the creation or amendment of policies and ensuring the effective implementation of them based on research. Research findings cannot be left idle and expected to make an impact at the policy level; advocacy bridges the gap between research and policy. Furthermore, our experience has taught us that advocacy cannot not take place at the policy level without education and awareness with the public. Both go hand-in-hand and are shaped by previously conducted research. At the IRCKHF, we utilize new media for advocacy, as well as cooperate and establish partnerships with other members of civil society when using national and international advocacy mechanisms. In order to have positive change, the policies we advocate for need to be evidence-based. We at the IRCKHF see this as our responsibility as members of civil society, to advocate effectively about economic and social issues.
Access to Information Each of our other three programs is dependent on Access to Information. When we begin a research project, we use previously conducted research to understand the context. The value of our research is also dependent on others being able to access its results in order to benefit from it, whether for the objective of policymaking or for future research. Education and Awareness is the transfer of knowledge, again, dependent on a learner’s Access to Information. In the end, research can only help positive change and development if the information produced from that research is accessible to those concerned. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has recognized Access to Information a universal human right; only when civil society, the private and public sectors, all have access to reliable information can they work together towards the socio-economic development of their society. It is a part of our strategic objectives to build an information hub on socio-economic research, as well as share knowledge and network with national and international institutions to promote positive change, and we recognize that only comes through knowledge sharing and promoting and sustaining access to information. For this reason in April 2014 we launched HAQQI Human Rights Information Zone, an open space for all to access information in the shape of legislation, research, and media, about human rights issues in Jordan. HAQQI means 'my right' in Arabic and is used to symbolize one's right to access information as well as the classification of that information according to universal human rights. In order for research to have an affect on development and policies, the research and information must build on each other, and this depends on sharing our knowledge and providing access to that information.