6 Minutes Campaign
The 6 minutes campaign was a community-led initiative that organized the efforts of mothers, teachers, librarians and youth in Jabal Natheef to reach out to 5,000 adult community members, inviting them to commit to reading six minutes a day for their children. The main purpose of the campaign was to create a community of readers in Jabal Al Natheef; which suffers from high school dropout rates, didactic schooling and weak family ties with educational institutions.
Through a grant from the Anna Lindh Foundation Child Literature Program, Ruwwad embedded the community organizing methodology in a literacy campaign. Together, Ruwwad and the Jabal Natheef community identified literacy as a leading problem, specifically in schools where dropout rates rise to 17 percent.
On November 5, 2010, the 6 Minute Jabal Natheef campaign was born in an interactive workshop led by Samar Dudin and Nisreen Haj Ahmad with mothers, teachers, librarians and education experts; a theory on inquiry-based learning and literacy was discussed. Following the meeting, the question the community raised was whether the campaign should challenge illiteracy in the community or whether it should focus on the importance of practicing reading for leisure. While debating the subject, the team suggested that the issue of illiteracy could be tackled through a technical-intervention, while addressing the issue of practicing reading for pleasure is a challenge that needs the community’s collective intervention. The theory of change focused on the importance of mothers and family members playing “role” of readers and engaging with the children in joyful readings daily. The name 6 minutes was chosen to ensure focus on making time a key element in nurturing the habit of reading for pleasure within the family home, at school and in neighborhood gatherings.
On February 9, 2012, Ruwwad celebrated the achievements of its 6 Minutes Reading for Pleasure Campaign at the Peak Celebration Ceremony. The theater at the Al Hussein Cultural Center was packed with over 500 people. The community brought together all their resources to illustrate the campaign’s success. Guest speaker Dr. Hala Hammad, the mothers’ inspirational education expert, shared how she witnessed the community embrace the culture and habit of reading for pleasure to consecrate the source of inquiry and lifelong learning. The celebration included testimonies from campaign participants, theatre performances produced by community members, as well as a number of inspiring readings of works of renowned authors, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mu’nes Al-Razzaz, and Ghassan Kanafani.
The 6 Minutes campaign achieved measurable results; the community recruited, engaged and enabled 160 community members to becoming dedicated organizers who take on leadership for change. 23 teams were created, and as a result, 5,042 pledges were gathered to commit to reading six minutes a day for pleasure.