In such an important and vast project as East Jerusalem MiniActive, it is important for us to have continuing professional development for our volunteer leaders. That’s why we have monthly workshops and seminars for the 15 coordinators in the field of the area clusters. These are volunteer positions, and they report to Intisar, Intisar (yes, we have two, it’s not a typo) and Ikram in the JICC office. For example, in April the workshop included advanced instructions on how to register a complaint via the municipal hotline. It would seem simple, but in the reality of Jerusalem, nothing is simple. First, the women must schedule their calls for when there are workers who speak Arabic. Although the situation is much better than it was when we started (we helped bring about the hiring of an additional 5 telephone workers, bringing the total to 7 as opposed to the two who there were previously), the women still need to wait a long time until their calls are answered. When they finally speak to the hotline, they are tempted to register a number of complaints at once. The problem is that each complaint (i.e., call) receives a tracking number, which they can use afterward to check how the complaint is being taken care of. And if they don’t make one call for each complaint it is much more difficult to track the complaints.
On May 25 we held another meeting, this time on how to strengthen the groups. Their next meeting will be held after Ramadan, which begins next week.
We are also helping all 15 of our field coordinators and active volunteers with their Hebrew. While we have found solutions to enable our Arabic-speaking volunteers to advance projects, many times Hebrew is required to facilitate communication with the Israeli service providers, and get things done. The course has been running weekly since the fall, and will continue until the end of June. Next year we might add more advanced levels. We’ll see in the fall what the different needs are.