LOCATION: Jalqamus Village, Jenin Governorate
The Jalqamus Women Center lies in the remote village of Jalqamus southeast of Jenin. The center’s founder and director Asma Al Haj is the first woman in Jalqamus to graduate from college. The club started out by training local women on elections, women’s rights and health issues in a two-room space furnished with a few plastic chairs donated by the members. Unsuccessfully, Ms. Al Haj struggled to mobilize other women to serve as club leaders and run activities. A Community Leadership Empowerment Program award enabled the Jalqamus Women Center to furnish the space, set up an administrative office and a small computer lab. Making it possible for women studying at nearby universities to conduct research without leaving Jalqamus attracted a daily flow of women to the Center. However, while drastically increasing the club’s membership, the first CLEP award did not address the challenge of involving other leaders in the club’s short and long-term planning process. The Community Leadership Empowerment Program strategic planning process brought together a committee of women from Jalqamus who learned to share responsibility for the club. Together they engage women throughout the village to ensure that center remains responsive to community needs.