Organised by the Labour Party in cooperation with the Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS), the Future Leaders programme has supported young people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) through activities focusing on ideology, communications and campaigning. The programme contained a ‘train the trainers’ element which provided participants with the necessary skills to become trainers and sustain and multiply skills in their respective parties.
To review the impact of the programme, we organised an evaluation visit in Jordan for a selection of beneficiaries from the past four years. Participants were selected by their parties on the basis of who had applied the skills in their public or political careers since their attendance.
Participants met with Rushanara Ali MP, Vice Chair of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) during the evaluation in Jordan to review the impact of the Future Leaders network and discuss the participants’ next steps.
The trip was primarily to assess the Future Leaders programme but whilst in Jordan Rushanara assessed the humanitarian situation including the impact the influx of refugees is having on the host country.
Rushanara visited a UN registration centre in Amman. Meetings were organised with representatives from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the United Nations World Food Programme. Jordan has been home to nearly 700,000 UN-registered Syrian refugees since the start of the conflict in Syria, placing considerable pressure on the country’s already over-stretched resources. The meetings with both organisations were an opportunity for Rushanara to hear about the situation on the ground and discuss the various challenges faced.
As Vice-Chair of the WFD Rushanara also took the opportunity to meet with WFD’s local team in Amman and a beneficiary of the WFD’s programme Wafa Bani Mustafa MP, Chair of the Women’s Coalition to Combat Violence Against Women. This provides support for MPs to advocate for the rights of women and girls by increasing public debate, developing legislation that offers protection, improving parliamentary oversight and strengthening political leadership on a national and regional level.
The Future Leaders programme was made possible thanks to funding through the WFD. The WFD was established in 1992 to support the consolidation of democratic practices and institutions in developing democracies and specialises in parliamentary strengthening. A further aspect of WFD’s work is developing political parties and this is delivered directly by the Westminster based political parties, including the Labour Party.