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What is JCAN?

The Jerusalem Community Advocacy Network (JCAN) a Palestinian nonprofit civil society organization operating in East Jerusalem, was established in 2009 by a group of dedicated professionals in response to the urgent need for community based advocacy in East Jerusalem.

We specialize in advocacy for and empowerment of marginalizes residents who suffer broad infringements of social, economic, cultural, and political rights, as well as continuing policies of the Israeli occupation that lead to displacement, impoverishment and marginalization within Jerusalem. The overall long term goal of JCAN is to see a viable, strong civil society in East Jerusalem, in which residents are able to obtain their rights and entitlements and advocate for themselves to change a system in which they are second class residents.

JCAN’S Model of Practice

JCAN raises awareness of rights within the communities it serves while helping individuals develop the skills they need to access and preserve their rights. JCAN operates based on the Rights Based Community Practice (RBCP) approach, as developed at Canada’s McGill University and comprehensively adapted by Middle Easterners to the local context. JCAN uses the tools of RBCP- organizing, social work and legal advocacy to create empowerment at each societal level - the individual, the institutional, and the community- advocating together with local residents to create policy change.

JCAN’s Rights-based Centers

JCAN currently operates three centers in Jerusalem, in areas most in need where the communities lack nearly all services in Sur Baher, Al-Tour and Kufr Aqab. JCAN’s reach extends far beyond these neighborhoods. The centers serve communities that are overwhelmingly and disproportionately poor and disadvantaged, facing severe and systemic problems that suffocate the residents of East Jerusalem: Such as family reunification and children registration, lack of accessibility to civil documentation as well as to legal and bureaucratic procedures and last but not least neglect of social welfare services and infrastructure.

The ICAN Connection

JCAN is a member of PCAN (The Palestine Community Advocacy Network), which has also affiliated centers in the West Bank. JCAN has access to capacity building and training assistance a cadre of professional. Palestinians trained at McGill but living in the Region are also a part of a global effort through ICAN (The International Community Action Network) at McGill University to expand the use of rights based community practice in International development projects.