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Rana al-Hajaia, Jordan
Rana al-Hajaia is one of Jordan’s most prominent leaders in the field of women’s political leadership development. From 2003 until March 2006, she was the Mayor of al-Hassa municipality in southern Jordan and the only woman mayor in the country. In that position, she was instrumental in encouraging other Jordanian women to become more politically active and to consider running for public office. Rana intends to seek elected office herself in Jordan’s upcoming municipal elections and credits IRI with helping her make the decision to run. Rana also cites her mother Hind, who was a women’s activist for over 20 years, as a role model who encouraged her to strive to serve the people of her community and Jordan as a whole.
Rana is the founder of the Women Pioneers, a network of woman leaders in Tafileh governorate (southern Jordan) which provides a forum in which participants can share their experiences as “pioneers” in women’s leadership and strategize on ways to encourage other women in the governorate to become more involved in community affairs. She is also the founder of the Prince Hashem Charity which focuses on citizens with special needs, and the Al-Hassa Women’s Charity which helps underprivileged women and children in the municipality.
As Mayor of al-Hassa municipality, Rana focused on solving her city’s environmental problems, in particular the problem of disposing of waste water resulting from the phosphate mining process at the nearby al-Hassa mining complex. The mining company was dumping waste water close to al-Hassa which led to the uncontrolled growth of wild vegetation and insect infestation. Rana worked hard to raise awareness in the community about the problem. She also worked with the mining company to develop alternate ways of disposing of the waste water, including exploring productive uses for the water, such as clay production and the cultivation of certain types of fruits and vegetables, which could lead to job creation in the municipality. Rana was instrumental in bringing the mining company and the citizens of al-Hassa together to discuss the problem and ultimately convinced the mining company to dispose of the water at a site further away from her municipality.
Prior to becoming Mayor of al-Hassa, Rana worked as a representative of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in al-Hassa and as a women’s leadership coordinator for the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD). She obtained her undergraduate degree from Muta University in Karak where she also received a Masters Degree in Water and Environmental Engineering while working full-time as a mayor. She is an accomplished chess player and has won the title of Southern Jordan Regional Women’s Chess Champion.