The following looks at Facebook and web-based communication in The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Middle East.
How many people have heard (or read) Dr. Spock? Not that one—the real Dr. Spock.
Benjamin Spock, MD.
The parenting expert.
In 1946 he published the renowned Baby and Child Care that became the parenting guide for several generations of Americans. For all the advice he gave in his many books, the big take-away was: you, the parent, know more than you think.
Parenting guides have evolved somewhat since 1946. Now books are electronic and parents participate in live or web-based classes. They ask questions of pediatricians and experts online. They Skype their friends and family members who have already gone through the parenting experience.
This is how most of us get information for everything. But in many countries and regions it is a new and gradual change.
We talked to one of the pioneers of online engagement in Jordan, Jida Sunna Cubeisy, who is fast becoming the electronic Dr. Spock of Jordan and the Middle East with her website Ahaali.me.
Ahaali means “parents” in Arabic—fitting, as the site aims to become “a platform where parents can seek guidance on how to enhance their capability for developing their children,” Jida said.
She started Ahaali specifically for parents to share their experiences with parenting,providing guidance and expertise for other parents who might not have a mentor or guide.
“From my own experience, I never felt there was a place to reach out to and seek advice from, other than my existing social circles,” she said. “Of course there are plenty of global parenting blogs and forums out there, but I found none of them were very relevant to our local society and community.”
The site is built like an online forum, allowing community members to pose questions and engage in meaningful discussion. Jida hopes this community involvement will enable parents to confidently navigate the challenges of child rearing.
“All around me are parents looking for answers, and if I can enhance the quality of life of one child or one family, it would have all been worthwhile,” she said. “To think that we can do it for an entire region makes Ahaali both a powerful business and an effective life journey.”
In less than a year, Ahaali’s Facebook page has amassed over 6,000 “Likes,” and continues to grow—a testament to the growing influence of social media for good around the world.
To view the full transcript of our conversation with Jida, click here.