Laha Akthar Men Qessa - She has more than just one story by Arab Women Organization Jordan and Data4Change

Early marriage has been on the rise in Jordan. To understand the issue better Arab Women Organization of Jordan (AWO) collected data about mothers’ and fathers’ attitudes towards early marriage as well as their attitudes towards their daughters and their futures. AWO also collected data from the teenage girls themselves about these topics. The data analysis showed that fathers’ almost always have the final say when it comes to marriage and that they are often influenced by what other fathers say and do. The data also revealed that parents used very different terms to describe their daughters i.e. weak, reckless etc compared to the teenage girls who describe themselves as bold, ordinary, smart etc. In addition to this survey data, the monitoring and evaluation data from AWO’s own programming showed that they were struggling to engage fathers and daughters in meaningful conversations about the girls’ futures and early marriage.

The creative team working with AWO used these data insights to create ‘Laha Akthar Men Qessa - She has more than just one story’, a data informed writing competition for girls age 13-17 in Jordan. The aim was to create an experience where girls could speak about their hopes and dreams for the future with their fathers in a safe, positive and creative environment. Girls were invited to submit short stories on four different themes: education, work, family and ambition. To capture their conversation with fathers girls’ could only submit their entry to the competition if their father or legal guardian would write a companion piece to hers.

The writing competition ran from 25 November - 10 December 2020 during the 16 Days of Activism (a UN initiated international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls). In total more than 600 girls and their fathers or legal guardians from all over Jordan submitted stories to the competition. A jury consisting of writers and human rights experts picked 20 winning stories which were published in a physical book and distributed to the winners and around AWO’s many community centres around Jordan. To see what impact this unique data-led project had on those who participated, have a look at the video

  • Credits
    Manal Altaleb, Arab Women Organization of Jordan, Jordan
    Saja Othman, creative director and designer, Jordan
    Farah Fouad Ezz ElDin, creative director and designer, Egypt
    Abderrahmen Gharsallah, data scientist, Tunisia
    Noor Alzawateen, video producer, Jordan
    Stina Bäcker, Data4Change, UK
    Bronwen Robertson, Data4Change, UK
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