Salam Mozillians in Jordan

You might have noticed that April's Featured Mozilla Rep was Mohammed Migdadi from Jordan. The reason? Passion; and couldn't be more true!

Visiting Amman for the Mozilla Science Lab initiative, as an instructor to a Software Carpentry Bootcamp, was an opportunity to meet fellow Mozillians there and get a first hand experience of a community that speaks about 1500+ participants events with ease.

Similar in so many ways

Despite the "deserty" scenery and the Crazy Taxi(TM) driving style, it was unexpectedly easy to spot similarities all around. Music, tastes, "true" people who value human relations... Like an one-hour flight could take you somewhere completely different! Or that Greek and Middle Eastern long histories have not influenced one another — no matter if we tend to forget that.

From the point of the community, we are not that far either! //TODO explain more about common approaches and problems

Biggest tech community in Jordan

Driven by their passion and enthusiasm, reps in Jordan have managed to rise awareness around the Web we want, while building a great status for Mozilla. Though not lousy in the global scene, they have an established presence in universities all around Jordan, holding events with massive attendance and covering a wide aspect of the project. Notably, professors claim themselves as "Mozillians" and event types vary from Firefox OS Hackathons to Quality Assurance presentations.

A task for everyone's strong point

Mozilla has grown to become a huge project. Its mission requires all kinds of skills and includes activities in diverse areas. Personally I receive over 60 Mozilla-related emails per day; ReMo, Mozilla Greece, Balkans, MakerParty, Software Carpentry, engagement-developers, OpenNews, Firefox OS and so on. Plus the community calls, townhalls, calls for action... Too much for a single person to handle, and they do easily pile up after a weekend without Internet access.

Jordanian Mozillians have turned this to their advantage! Being a rather crowded group, they have split responsibilities by area of interest and expertize. Localization, Open Web Apps, Security; there is a person who follows the news and specializes in specific sub-projects. When an opportunity appears for a WebMaker party, everybody points to the person with experience in teaching the web. This enables volunteers to use their complementary skills where they can be best applied, to share the load, to cover distant areas, to back and animate each other, and to collectively contribute to the project in the best way.

The absent XX factor

Mozilla Reps in Jordan are mostly university students, which explains a lot about their enthusiasm and the nature of the community outreach. But one part was definitely missing from the team; female contributors.
The situation is rapidly changing, with always rising numbers of female engineering students, but there is still a lot to do to beat the male dominance in the field. We owe that, after all, to the first programmer ever, Ada Lovelace.
Women & Mozilla (WoMoz) is a community consisted of contributors from various Open Source projects, dedicated to empowering women to actively participate. In their blog you will find a lot of happy faces :)

Great success brings great traction

As one would expect, their success brings an overwhelming wave of people interested in getting involved. Which by itself triggers a feeling of elitism to the existing members. Still, the community seems to cope well with that, since it is growing both in members and in impact metrics, and with newcomers going through a thorough mentoring period. In order to become a member, first you have to prove that you are capable of offering to the project. And we are here to help you achieve that!


Mozilla Jordan Community meeting

You probably have heard of Arab hospitality


I am thankful for the hospitality and for having met such an energized team of volunteers.
Closing, I hope one day people will worth similarities as a base for discussion and solve disagreements in a peaceful way.


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Creative Commons License This work by Isaakidis Marios is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a work at misaakidis.github.io