CrossCulture Plus Projects
The ifa programme CrossCulture Plus is supporting the transition process in North Africa and the Near and Middle East. It helps its alumni and their organizations from Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen to set up small projects with the aim of strengthening social and political reform processes and to promote exchange with Germany. Funding for CrossCulture Plus is provided as part of the Federal Foreign Office’s transformation partnerships.
ifa provides guidance to project initiators and their institutions during the project implementation, for example with workshops covering project management, financial administration and impact-oriented monitoring. They also enjoy the benefit of expert advice and have the opportunity to learn from each other.
"GOYA Project" - Palestinian Participation in Lebanon
Simon Traut, Germany
Palestinian-born people in Lebanon are still treated as a marginalised minority. A lack of equal opportunities and social participation among young people leads to frustration, social conflict, and radicalisation. It is important that they are in a position to earn their own living in order to avoid falling prey to such situations, but this is an insurmountable problem for school drop-outs in the Palestinian settlements. The Goya project launched by CrossCulture alumni Simon Traut and Carla Mikhael seeks to train young people in the informal Palestinian settlements in an innovative way. The training concept is based on that of the Schlesische 27, an organisation that is also working on the project. The first phase will involve making an initial presentation of the concept and working with local partners to adapt it to the situation on the ground. The plan is then to put the full concept into practice. In the long term, the aim is to raise awareness of the practical and creative talents of people who live in these settlements and strengthen their cultural identity in order to help them engage in a constructive dialogue with majority society.
"Engage: Young Women Awareness" - Empowerment for Women in Egypt
Dina Mohamed Said Hadahed, Egypt
The involvement of women in marginalised areas of Egypt is of vital importance for encouraging broad social participation. Women’s rights are particularly at risk in these peripheral regions. The Young Women Awareness project initiated by ifa alumna Dina Mohamed Said Hadahed encourages young women from poorer backgrounds in Qena, a city in Upper Egypt, to take more control over their lives. In collaboration with Tanweera for Cultural and Artistic Activities, the former CrossCulture scholarship holder organises seminars for 30 participants on a range of social topics and explores everyday issues such as marriage, divorce and the traditional understanding of gender roles. The format of the seminars includes expert discussions and theatre workshops. The seminars are also recorded in photos and videos.
"Towards a Constructive Local Governance" - Promoting Local Politics in Tunisia
Eshen Amri, Tunisia
ifa alumnus Eshen Amri from Tunisia is keen to encourage more young people to get involved in local politics in the Gabès region and play an active part in shaping it. Together with the Volonté et Citoyenneté (OVC) organisation, he is organising training seminars for young people who are either already active in a political party or who are generally interested in politics. In a series of training sessions, participants learn about participation mechanisms in local governance, political opinion-forming, political consulting and the multi-party system. These encounters help participants from different parties to deal constructively with differences of opinion and encourage them to stand as candidates in Tunisia's first municipal elections.
"Go Green Ambassadors Project" - Reconstruction in Yemen
Huwaida Ahmed Hussein Aidaros, Yemen
Aden is Yemen’s fourth-largest city, but large swathes have been destroyed over recent years by the ongoing conflict in the country. Former CrossCulture scholarship holder Huwaida Ahmed Hussein Aidaros decided to launch the Go Green Ambassadors Project as a way of helping to restore the cityscape and create a forward-looking sense of community. Together with the Foundation of Community Development and Protection Supporters, she is training 30 ambassadors to raise awareness of environmental issues in Yemen. They receive training in environmental protection and campaign work. In Aden they are also planting Murimara trees, which can grow with very little water. The project is rounded off with a photo exhibition highlighting the interaction between people and nature. The end result is a network of volunteers who are committed to creating a Yemen that is worth living in after the ravages of the civil war.
"Advanced Young Iraqi Women in Leadership" - Equal Opportunities for Iraqi Women
Salam Jihad, Iraq
CrossCulture alumnus Salam Jihad believes that “women with strong leadership qualities can often make a key contribution to mitigating conflicts”. This is why he hopes his Advanced Young Iraqi Women in Leadership project will encourage young women to get involved in social issues and take on leadership roles. To this end, he has developed a further education programme for young women between 25 and 35 years of age. In collaboration with Europe MENA Cultural Exchange (EMCUE) e. V., 25 women from different provinces have access to a professional, wide-ranging programme on the subject of management. It focuses on team-building and leadership techniques, along with conflict resolution and trauma management. At the end, the women will be able to carry over these skills to their professional networks.
"SEE Djerba" - Political Participation Through Art
Aymen Gharbi, Tunisia
Art inspires public debate and is an important part of democratic culture, which is why ifa alumnus Aymen Gharbi from Tunisia decided to launch the SEE Djerba project. The aim of the project is to create a network that uses art to question political activities and stimulate debate. Working closely with the Collectif Creativ organisation, Ayman Gharbi has now set up a networking meeting for around 100 Tunisian activists on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The focus of the project is on encouraging young people to get involved in politics via artistic expression. The meeting will be accompanied by a series of workshops where participants can learn more about the interplay between art and politics, democratic culture and context-specific art in the public sphere.
Website Content and Professional Writing Seminar
Fabian Pianka and Ibrahim Abdella, Tunisia
"If the human rights situation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT+) is to be improved, then these people must appear in public more often and talk about the difficulties they experience", says Fabian Pianka and Ibrahim Abdella, who organised the seminar. Their Website Content and Professional Writing Seminar involved nine LGBT+ activists attending a four-day workshop run by three trainers from RNW Media, Quantara.de and the Solidarity with Egypt LGBTQ+ campaign. The training focused on storytelling, journalism, website management, content development, social networking and the history of the LGBT+ community in Germany. The participants will go on to act as multipliers in their home organisations and help the LGBT+ community to highlight its issues more strongly in the public debate.
"Hamza Maaroufi" - Programme for Guidance and Coaching
Meryem Kabbaj, Morocco
Meryem Kabbaj set up the Programme for Guidance and Coaching in order to help improve the future prospects of young people from the most marginalised regions of Morocco. Structurally disadvantaged school students were selected for the programme with the help of local non-governmental organisations. The fifteen-day workshop run by experienced trainers focused on initiating a process of self-reflection. The students were able to use the opportunity to develop a concrete vision for their future and to develop and initiate plans for integrating themselves into the labour market and society. This was followed by a longer phase in which the students were given specific advice and support. A Facebook group was set up so that participants could discuss and share their thoughts and ideas on an ongoing basis.
Inclusive Media: Rethinking Journalism Conditions for Women across the Middle East
Pascale Müller, Jordan
Female journalists often have a hard time in the media business. Harassment, stalking and even rape can make their working lives a misery. Interviewees often act inappropriately or refuse to be interviewed at all simply because the interviewer is a woman. It was these gender-specific problems that provided the impetus for Pascale Müller's Inclusive Media project. 18 female journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Spain, Syria and Tunisia came together at a five-day seminar to share their experiences of gender-based discrimination in journalism and to discuss ways of combating it. During the workshop, participants analysed the kind of gender discrimination they experienced in their day-to-day work and learned how best to handle the risks they face. A female security consultant also taught them how to behave and protect themselves in dangerous situations. They then put their findings to the test by studying a specific issue. Many of the articles that resulted from the workshop have been published in the international media.
Some media outcome:
- Jihad Abaza auf "Middle East Eye": Egyptian workers face clampdown in Jordan as Syrians join labour market.
- Maisa Khudair auf "Wamda": Founders depression: The dark side of the startup hype in MENA
- Mersiha Gadzo auf "Deutsche Welle": Could hydroponics help water-parched Jordan?
Foreign Languages: Gates to Knowledge and Cultures
Saddik Abdelhaq, Morocco
"The key to other cultures is understanding the language", says Saddik Abdelhaq from Morocco. In order to pass this key on to others, the young English teacher and CrossCulture alumnus worked with a team of 14 teachers and organisers to design a comprehensive language training programme. More than 300 schoolchildren and students from the Moroccan city of Biougra took part in the two-month course. They came from both the majority Arab population and the Berber minority. The focus of the evening and weekend course was on language training in English, French and German. Films and discussions helped the participants to reflect on their own culture and draw intercultural comparisons. They also attended workshops on bookbinding and found out how handicrafts courses can unleash huge amounts of creativity. At the end of the programme the participants' families were invited to come along and see what their children had learnt.
The Adventures for Development
Abderrahman Chakchouk, Tunisia
As part of Abderrahman Chakchouk's Adventures for Development project, twenty young people were trained to be voluntary helpers in potential humanitarian crises. In future they will be making an important contribution to capacity-building in crisis management in the Sfax region. The project actively involved public authorities and NROs such as the Red Crescent. Their trainers put the volunteers through several days of theoretical and practical exercises. Moving on from this project, networking among participating organisations will provide a vital impetus and opportunities for similar future projects. In the long term, the foundations are being laid for the steady expansion of civil capacities in the area of crisis management.
Amal Mustafa, Jordan
Jordan has taken more Syrian refugees than almost any other country. CCP alumna Amal Mustafa set up the Draw Freely project to break down barriers between Jordanians and Syrian refugees. It brought together 60 Syrian and 60 Jordanian children aged between 6 and 9 from the cities of Irbed and Mafraq. Through playing together, the children learnt more about health, conflict resolution and children's rights. Led by four trainers, they were given opportunities to play, paint and take part in a number of activities that taught them about dialogue and strategies for resolving problems. It was not only the primary target group that benefited, but also the children's families – the growing friendships between the children allowed them to get to know other families. The enormous need for such initiatives was reflected in the huge numbers of applicants for this project. Amal and her colleagues originally expected to work with 100 children, but this figure was increased to 120 when they received 200 applications.
Projects in 2015
Kairouan Enviromental Journalism Award (KEJA)
Olfa Jelassi, Tunesien
The Kairouan Enviromental Journalism Award (KEJA) was a project initiated by former CCP scholarship holder Olfa Jelassi in Kairouan, Tunisia. The overall goal of the project was to empower and enable journalists from the Kairouan region. The focus has been put on environmental issues in order to raise awareness on a local level. To achieve that goal, two workshops took place in September 2015. 22 journalists and blogger leaned about environmental subjects and environmental related journalism. All participants’ works – including articles, photos and videos - have been published online on the new website KEJA.tn. This project-based website was further used as a basis for the award ceremony that took place in December. There, the best publications were rewarded by an expert-jury under the eyes of the Kairouan’s mayor.
Journal de la Medina
Raoul Cyril Humpert, Tunisia
"Journal de la Medina" is a participatory journal created by the community for the community of the Medina (Old Town). It aims to shed light on neglected parts of the old town of Tunis and to weave together a community of people who share a common objective: to raise awareness of their particular cultural heritage and advocate its preservation. The journal tries to capture moments of current daily life of the Medina's community to show another image of this town within a town instead of its common "postcard-image".
Local calligraphers, poets, artisans and others involved in the cultural sector helped the team to work towards this goal by contributing to the journal. The purpose is to share their experiences, stories, ideas, feelings, etc. which they associate to this special place and its cultural value. Distributing the journal for free was a tool to increase participation and sustainability through the interaction of locals, visitors, NGOs and civil society. Former CCP scholarship holder Raoul Cyril Humpert, together with his colleagues Zaineb Madyouni and Emily Sarsam with backgrounds in cultural studies, architecture, design and urban planning, made up the editorial team of the journal. Further issues will be published in the near future.
De l’espace autre
Katrin Ströbel, Morocco
'De l'espace autre' is a workshop and research project that uses contemporary and experimental forms of drawing as a tool to investigate social, historical and (post-)colonial traces in the urban spaces, with a focus on the public space of Casablanca. Due to the lack of creative space and art education, this research project wants to enable young adults, students, young artist to develop a critical awareness how social and political realities are reflected in urban spaces today. Katrin Ströbel, a former CCP-Plus scholarship holder from Germany, wants to introduce the young participants to the wide range of drawing (including wall drawings, animations etc.) as contemporary medium that is as flexible and as economic. Young women are nowadays still more excluded from artistic education in Morocco, therefore the research project was especially offered to young female artists, autodidacts, students or designers.
Within the project, several young artists, designers and architects from Casablanca where working together. Besides a workshop, several art subjects had been created such as drawings, photos, essays or poetry. Finally, the results were presented to an audience and afterwards documented. The collectively organized archive builds the basis for an official publication in both languages – French and Arabic.
The Wedding Project
Asma Abidi, Tunisia
Migration has become a major topic in Tunisia. Former CCP scholarship holder Asma Abidi depicts the situation as follows: 'Especially after the Arab Spring's uprising, political instability and lacking career opportunities became the main concerns of the Tunisian youth. More and more young people think of leaving the country for social and economic reasons'. In order to address young Tunisians desires and opportunities, Asma Abidi and her association Corps Citoyen initiated 'the Wedding Project'. The project's name was inspired by the intention of bringing people of the Southern and Northern Mediterranean Sea closer together. The crucial aim of 'the Wedding Project' was to collect stories of young people who live in rather marginalised regions and might have their own definition of traveling, dreaming and the freedom of movement. To reach this objective, the team of Corps Citoyen launched an online platform, organised several workshops, created video portraits and encouraged people to debate. Throughout the project’s activities, a film has been developed and presented at several locations. One of the highlights was the presentation of the film at the LampedusaInFestival.
Survival Guide for Effective Teachers
Hamza Mohammad Taher Arsbi, Jordan
In order to stimulate innovative research, which portrays a fundamental source of societal progress, people should get in touch with different methods and perspectives. Based on this notion, former CCP intern Hamza Mohammad Taher Arsbi and his colleagues from the Scientific Culture Society (SCS) started the project 'Survival Guide for Effective Teachers'. 'Through giving people the power of scientific thinking and the capacity for objective, constructive, scientific research, we empower them to understand their world and build anything they want', explains Arsbi. Further he states that his home country Jordan is often missing an appropriate training for teachers. Therefore the project included the following actions: The creation of a comprehensive guide and workshop curriculum for teachers on educational methods, class management, managing disruptive behavior, dealing with bullying and involving parents. Apart from that, an online database was set up, enabling teachers to share both, experience and resources. To explore the impact of the created teacher's guide, the SCS cooperates with numerous teachers.
Radi Dahan, Libya
'My Rights' is a radio broadcasting project which has been initiated by the former CCP intern Radi Dahan in Tripoli and Zwarah, Libya. 'As Libya is going through a struggling democratic process (…) Libyans should be aware of their rights and responsibilities' describes Dahan the current challenges for his home country. In order to increase the general awareness of human rights, democratic participation and gender equality among young Libyans, Tripoli FM and Kasas FM initiated a series of activities. To start with, a range of surveys were designed that allowed the 'My-Rights'-team to investigate different perspectives on rights and responsibilities among the 18 – 30 year olds. Additionally, pre-recorded radio sessions and radio live talks were presented to the audience of the two radio broadcasting stations. To improve the reporting skills of Libyan journalists, a media training with the Deutsche Welle office in Tunis was arranged. Tripoli FM is the first English radio broadcasting company in Tripoli. Its aim is to spread both the competence to communicate in English but also the awareness for democratic values.
Ibrahim Hawamdeh, Jordan
The 'Celebrations' Program' is a project, initiated by the former CCP scholarship holder Ibrahim Hawamdeh and the National Children Museum Society of Amman, Jordan. Due to huge numbers of migrants, Jordan is more and more becoming a melting pot of various cultures and religions. In order to inspire children to appreciate cultural and religious diversity, the project encourages them to explore differences and similarities between the Jordanian celebrations of Eid Al Fiter, Eid Al Adha and Christmas. 'In general, children and their families will be guided through fascinating facets of Jordan’s heritage in an interactive and entertaining way', describes Hawamdeh the project’s main objective. The museum’s program comprised various interactive role plays and multimedia exhibitions. Apart from deepening children’s understanding of cultural aspects of citizenship, the National Children Museum Society strengthened the museum's locally and regionally presence and demonstrated its innovative ambitions within the field of civic commitment.