Good governance work takes many shapes. When I tell my friends what I do and describe good governance, I use the definition “government institutions managing public resources and making sure it is done with citizens input.”
Depending on where you are, this can look very different. For example, in Guadalupe, Mexico citizen security may be the top issue but in Mafraq, Jordan cleanliness is one of the community’s top problems.
During IRI’s cleanup campaigns conducted last year, IRI noticed that one type of trash clearly dominates these efforts – the simple, plastic grocery bag. According to the Jordan Times, official estimates show that more than 30 million bags are littered each year throughout the country, and three billion are used each year – the equivalent of 1.6 bags per person, per day. Jordanians joke that a black plastic bag should be the national bird of Jordan. To address this, IRI is presenting alternatives to disposable plastic bags by launching IRI’s reusable shopping bag program in addition to its clean-up/beautification initiatives.
In 2015, IRI worked with municipal officials to design a reusable grocery bag that sports the slogan “keep your municipality beautiful.” Throughout 2016, these reusable bags will be distributed to city residents dedicated to the environmental health of their city. Through these initiatives, Jordanians are able to clean up communities one block at a time and curb the reintroduction of plastic bags back in to the streets. IRI works in 31 municipalities, utilizing good governance mechanisms such as Citizens’ Committees to identify the main issues that concern communities and develop ideas on how to address them. These Committees consist of volunteers that want to participate in their communities’ development and coordinate with other civic groups and municipal officials to maximize their efforts. In this photo below the Citizens’ Committees in Ajloun is meeting with the Deputy Mayor in preparation for Earth Day to plan different clean up campaigns and tree planting activities.