Allyson Hawkins (Jordan)

Allyson is a graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she is pursuing a master's in Human Security and Gender in the Middle East. Prior to Fletcher, Allyson spent two years in Tunisia teaching English with AMIDEAST, learning Arabic at the Bourguiba Institute for Modern Languages, and travelling. She also worked for Layalina Productions, Inc., a DC based nonprofit that produces award winning films and television series that aim to bridge the divide between the Arab world and the United States. At Layalina, Allyson served as Coordinating Producer and Production Supervisor for "Yemeniettes," a documentary that follows a team of teenage girls as they strive to break barriers of traditional Yemeni society through entrepreneurship. She is incredibly excited to return to Jordan, where she first studied abroad in 2010, and learn more about the issues facing Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Amman through working with the Collateral Repair Project. Allyson is originally from New Hampshire, and holds a BA in Government from Smith College in 2011. After her fellowship, Allyson wrote: "The training I received from AP ensured that I would be able to contribute to my host's efforts in a meaningful way. Knowing that I was able to build capacity and contribute to sustainable programs made my fellowship experience not only useful for my host, but rewarding for me."



Microblog: An Assessment

24 Jul

I sit in the backseat of the taxi van, with my camera and notepad in tow. The cracked window provides little relief from the nearly-noontime Amman heat. Today I’m accompanying Saddam, CRP Programs Director, on home assessment visits, which are as clinical as they sound. Saddam quietly reviews paperwork in the front seat as we make our way to the home of a family looking for help. I ask a few questions about the process, which he answers straightforwardly with little emotion. I am here to learn, I remind myself, but at what cost?

Our driver parks the car and as we exit, we’re greeted by a man who had clearly been waiting for us. We exchange quick hellos and he invites us into his apartment. Saddam hands me a copy of the paperwork so I can familiarize myself with it. As he chats with the man, I learn that he’s an Iraqi Christian who fled his hometown with his family after Daesh seized the area.

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I observe. I am there to take photographs, which CRP uses on social media to document their work. My presence alone feels invasive. I try to take up as little space as possible, while silently trying to convey that I’m listening as respectfully as I can. I notice the family’s front door. The glass panes are plastered with magazine covers to block out the light. Interviews with American models and celebrities, bright colors and fashion spreads mock the situation, wherein we are supposed to count how much (how little) the family has to assess how we can help. Saddam checks boxes on the paper. I snap pictures of their kitchen (his wife has asked if we could help her procure an oven- she only has a kerosene stovetop).

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The interview wraps quickly, and Saddam rises, shakes hands, and walks out the door. I follow, passing by the magazine covers once more, feeling intrusive and helpless. CRP adds the family to their monthly food voucher program, and Saddam assures me that we can help them get fans, carpets, and better mattresses for their home. An assessment of need, and the aid provided, a drop in the bucket.

Posted By Allyson Hawkins (Jordan)

Posted Jul 24th, 2016

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