Projects

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Projects

This page enables participants to share their experiences and ideas by providing descriptions of their ongoing projects. It also lists useful publications and tips on project development.

Participants' Activities: Project Descriptions

A collection of program and project summaries submitted by participating organizations of interest to other groups that administer similar activities. Projects fall under the following headings: human rights, women's issues, conflict resolution, and civic education.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Project Title: Access to Basic Services through Registration
Objective: To create a dialogue between the government and NGOs to simplify the procedure of obtaining birth certificates and IDs and to raise awareness in society of the importance of registering births
Duration: Ongoing
Organization: Egyptian Center for Women's Rights
Collaborating Institution(s): World Bank; Egyptian Government; National Council of Women, local Councils; local NGOs
Description: This program trains NGOs working with poor Egyptians in a methodology developed for obtaining birth certificates. A national campaign is to be launched by the trained NGOs trageting government authorities and the population at large. It also aims (along with the trained NGOs) to engage government authorities in a policy dialogue that would lead to the facilitation and simplification of the process of obtaining documents. The goal of these activities is to multiply the number of those who gain an "identity" and to improve their access to poverty-alleviation measures.

Project Title: Conference on Human Rights Activists in Exile
Objective: To emphasize the essential freedoms of activists in the Arab world
Duration: January 26-28, 2001 (follow-up actions/activities for one year)
Organization: Regional Program for Human Rights Activists
Collaborating Institution(s): 45 regional and international organizations, associations and unions, as well as independent human rights activists
Description: In cooperation with the Arab Commission for Human Rights, activists affiliated with the Arab Program for Human Rights held a conference on "Human Rights' Activists and Organizations in Exile" in Paris on January 26-28, 2001. The agenda of the conference covered many aspects relating to the conditions of activists and organizations in exile, such as the reasons for operating in exile, relations with host countries and their countries of origin, and the financial problems they face. A great number of prominent Arab human rights activists in exile took part in the conference. The principal aim of the conference was to activate exiled organizations and activists, and to build a bridge between them and their countries of origin.

Project Title: Curriculum Development
Objective: To bring the concepts of human rights, tolerance, and conflict resolution into mainstream education in Palestine
Organization: The Palestinian Center for Helping Resolve Community Disputes
Description: The Center, in cooperation with United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), is currently designing curriculum materials on human rights, tolerance, and conflict resolution to be used in UNRWA middle schools in the West Bank and Gaza. The Center is working with a team of experts in these subjects to develop the materials, and the Center's trainers will then conduct training programs to help teachers and school administrators integrate these materials into their standard curricula. Furthermore, the Center will work closely with the Department of Education - UNRWA to train the teachers in the curriculum instruction. The Center will also participate in follow-up and the evaluation process.

Project Title: Human Rights Training Program for Women
Objective: To enable women to claim and protect their leadership roles on the local and national levels
Organization: Women for Women's Human Rights - New Ways Liaison Office
Description: This participatory training program addresses a wide range of issues, such as applying the international framework of freedom of expression in Turkey and determining what should be done to adopt the standards of European Union on freedom of expression in Turkey.

WOMEN'S ISSUES

Project Title: Cadre School Program
Objective: To encourage women's political participation in society and activate and strengthen women's leadership.
Duration: 1996 - present
Organization: Egyptian Center for Women's Rights
Collaborating Institution(s): The Konrad Adenauer Foundation; the Westminster Foundation for Democracy; The British Council
Description: Through discussion groups, training sessions and workshops, Cadre School Phase 1 registered 12,160 women to vote and prepared 25 women leaders over a period of one year to run for parliamentary elections in October/November 2000. A total of 16 of these women ran for election. A total of seven women were successfully elected to parliament, two of whom were beneficiaries of this program. Cadre School Phase 2 is currently preparing 100 women leaders, training them in leadership skills and familiazing them with political issues in preparation for local council elections in 2002.

Project Title: Capacity Building for Local NGOs
Objective: To strengthen local NGOs by enhancing their communication and advocacy skills, and raising awareness of issues, such as human rights, women's rights, and the importance of the role of civil society.
Duration: Ongoing
Organization: Egyptian Center for Women's Rights
Collaborating Institution(s): Dutch Embassy
Description: Through a series of training sessions and workshops, the program seeks to increase the technical qualifications of civil associations concerned with women and increase women's participation within them, to train local leaders, to disseminate principles to respect women's rights and to change thinking concerning women's roles in the community, and to create networks among local women leaders.

Project Title: Empowerment of Palestinian Women Leadership
Objective: To empower women leaders in media and information technology
Duration: Two years
Organization: The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy - MIFTAH
Collaborating Institution(s): Palestinian private TV stations
Description: The project conducts training of trainers on professional and gender-sensitive audio-visual media skills. It provides bi-weekly gender status updates. The project empowers women leaders to use media effectively to legitimize their leadership to advocate for gender equitable social policies and programs through building networks among local media professionals and women leaders.

Project Title: Legal Aid for Women
Objective: To create a general awareness of women's rights as an integral part of human rights
Duration: 1996 - present
Organization: Egyptian Center for Women's Rights
Collaborating Institution(s): National Endowment for Democracy; European Union; Swiss Catholic Fund
Description: The program focuses on raising women's awareness of their rights, and teaching and empowering them with respcet to exercising these rights. It also provides legal aid for very poor women who cannot afford to hire lawyers. The Center's program aims to remove the psychological barrier that women face when it comes to asserting their rights through legal channels.

These objectives are realized through raising awareness and conducting training sessions, bringing lawsuits on behalf of underprivileged women, providing legal and family counseling, and publishing simple booklets explaining women's legal rights.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Project Title: Family Service Program
Objective: To empower participants to understand their own problems, generate possible solutions, and make decisions for themselves
Organization: The Palestinian Center for Helping Resolve Community Disputes
Description: The program provides mediation, counseling, and referral services to members of the Palestinian community who are seeking assistance with family problems and disputes. The program is staffed by a group of experienced professionals - psychologists, counselors, and social workers - who are also qualified mediators. These interveners do not solve participants' problems for them, but rather empower the participants to understand their problems. The program provides its services both in person and via a hotline. The demand for the service has increased steadily since its inception in May 1999, and it has handled over 950 cases.

Project Title: Peer Mediation
Objective: To empower students with decision-making and problem-solving skills
Organization: The Palestinian Center for Helping Resolve Community Disputes
Description: The peer mediation program trains students in conflict resolution and mediation skills and then gives them opportunities to use these skills to mediate conflict among their peers. The program encourages students to take leadership roles in their school communities and to contribute to a positive, non-violent atmosphere in these communities. In this way, peer mediation not only reduces violence in schools and relieves teachers of constant disciplinary problems, but also creates a cadre of young leaders who are well equipped to participate constructively in their communities.

This program began as a pilot project in four United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools in 1996. Due to the success of the program, it is now in 50 UNRWA middle schools and 16 Palestinian National Authority Ministry of Education high schools throughout the West Bank and Gaza.

Project Title: Political Party Dialogue
Objective: To continue and expand discussions on political party building among various sectors in Palestinian society
Duration: One Year
Organization: The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy - MIFTAH
Collaborating Institution(s): Several local institutions
Description: This project was developed as a result of discussions that focused on the need for a multi-party system, coordination among political parties and NGOs, and the importance of government elections with the aim of increasing public confidence among Palestinian constituencies in a multi-party democracy.

Project Title: Student Parliament
Objective: To develop student leadership skills and give students first-hand experience in democratic processes, thus increasing the ability of the Palestinian community to deal constructively with its conflicts in the future
Organization: The Palestinian Center for Helping Resolve Community Disputes
Description: The Center has established a parliament consisting of student mediators who were elected by their peers. The students will be trained in all aspects of democratic and parliamentary processes and they will then use the parliament as a forum for discussing and dealing with problems they face in their schools. The parliamentarians will work with their "constituencies" to identify and prioritize student needs, and then use a variety of democratic, non-violent mechanisms to address these needs. The parliament currently includes 36 female mediators and 34 male mediators from high schools. The students recently issued a magazine about human rights violations. As another supplementary activity, the Center trainers conducted 8 one-week summer camps to keep the mediators involved with the program over the summer to reinforce their mediation skills, and to reward them for their work during a school year.

As with the mediation program itself, the camps are run in a participatory style, in which the mediators are empowered as leaders. In the spring of 2001, the Center trainers conducted two days of training for students who were selected to be camp leaders. This training session provided the students with the skills necessary to design and lead their peers in activities related to art, sports, culture, and drama. These students then created the program of activities for the camps and led their peers in a collaborative, participatory style, with supervision from the Center trainers. The camps were enjoyable and educational experiences in which the basic principles of participation and conflict resolution were emphasized.

CIVIC EDUCATION

Project Title: Civic Education and Citizen Participation
Objective: To increase citizens' awareness of democratic concepts and institutions; to develop community leadership skills and enhance the role of the citizen in Palestinian society; to encourage local organizations to play a role in the public policy decision-making process in order to encourage democratic development through more responsive and accountable governance
Organization: Civic Forum Institute
Collaborating Institution(s): USAID, National Endowment for Democracy, Fredrich Naumann Foundation
Description: Professionally led by Palestinian moderators trained to facilitate community dialogue in a neutral style, Civic Forum Community Discussions stimulate debate and provide a context for reaching in a safe environment. Rule of Law, the Relationship between the Citizen and Elected Officials, and Political Parties are examples of the curriculum designed to prepare Palestinians to engage in the decision-making process.

In partnership with regional Town Hall Committees made up of local leader and volunteers, CFI brings government ministers, elected officials, and political party representatives to the public.

Operating on a belief that community based institutions can and should play a role in developing public policy, CFI created a team of trainers, called the Field Activities Unit, to provide technical assistance organization partners. At the request of cooperating organizations, Civic Forum is developing a training curriculum to assist partner groups in strengthening their abilities in areas such as resource management and strategic planning.

Project Title: Coalition for Transparency and Accountability, AMAN
Objective: To attain good governance at all levels, to counteract corruption, and administrative and financial mismanagement across all sectors, and to introduce built-in systems and regulations of accountability and transparency
Duration: Three years
Organization: The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy - MIFTAH
Collaborating Institution(s): Arab Thought Forum (ATF), Jerusalem; Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Gaza; The Palestinian Chapter of Transparency International, Ramallah; The Palestinian Council on Foreign Relations, Gaza; The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy (MUWATEN), Al-Bireh; PALTRADE, Ramallah
Description: AMAN was officially launched at a press conference on September 16, 2000 in Ramallah. The press conference reviewed the recommendations and outcome of a workshop under the theme "Administrative and Financial Reforms in the Palestinian National Authority."

Project Title: Community Training
Organization: The Palestinian Center for Helping Resolve Community Disputes
Description: PCHRCD has had substantial eperience in organizing and conducting community trainings. The Center has conducted numerous short-term trainings for NGOs, women's organizations, lawyers and other community leaders. The Center staff train school counselors and teachers to conduct the trainings. The Center staff uses participatory training approaches, and utilizes a variety of training techniques, including role-playing, large and small group discussion, and individual activities.

Project Title: Freedom of Expression in Turkey within the Context of Legal and Social Spheres
Objective: To promote freedom of expression in Turkey
Duration: February 2001 - August 2003
Organization: Association for Liberal Thinking
Collaborating Institution(s):
Description: The project undertakes research on cultural, sociological, legal and institutional frameworks of freedom of expression in Turkey and considers ways of applying European Union freedom of expression standards to Turkey.

Project Title: Human Rights Campaign
Objective: To establish and strengthen grassroots awareness and participation in human rights activities.
Duration: 2000-2001
Organization: American Society for Kurds (ASK)
Collaborating Institution(s): Badlisy Cultural Center
Description: American Society of Kurds (ASK) publishes books and newsletters to stimulate public awareness about human rights. It also holds workshops and training courses for different sectors of society, such as women, students, law enforcement officers, and judges. In addition, ASK sponsors an art and literature competition on the subject of democracy and human rights.

Project Title: Palestinian Afternoon Program
Objective: To understand a given community problem and to develop strategies for dealing with it effectively and cooperatively
Organization: The Palestinian Center for Helping Resolve Community Disputes
Description: Through this program, the Center holds facilitated seminars on critical issues and challenges facing the Palestinian community. Key members of the community are invited to these meetings from the government, NGO, and private sectors. Topics addressed in past seminars have included: the role of dispute committees in the Palestinian community; employment opportunities for university graduates; the role of community organizations in dealing with psychological problems in the Palestinian community; and the shortage of funding for higher education in Palestine.

Project Title: Promoting Constitutional Reports
Objective: To strengthen the organizational capacity of the Helsinki Committee Assembly (HCA) and other indigenous NGOs in order to encourage civic participation and to support the democratic process in Turkey
Duration: September 1, 2000 - September 2001
Organization: Helsinki Citizens' Assembly - Turkey
Collaborating Institution(s): Bar Associations in Istanbul, Mersin, Diyarbakir, Municipality of Mersin, Diyarbakir, and several affiliated NGOs
Description: The Helsinki Committee Assembly organizes three two-day workshops on civic mobilization and capacity building and a one-day meeting in Ankara to evaluate the outcome of the three workshops; finalizes the drafts and plans for the amendments and the new bill; presents their findings to members of the parliament, and releases the project communique in a press conference.

Project Title: Public Fora
Objective: To provide a forum for public discourse and debate on issues of importance to Palestinian society and to bring together representatives from the public and private sectors
Duration: Ongoing
Organization: The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy - MIFTAH
Collaborating Institution(s): several public and civil society organizations
Description: "Public Fora" meetings focus on matters of current concern and interest depending on thr political and social situation. Participants deal with topics such as political pluralism, accountability in governance, rights and freedoms in a democracy, any other issues considered to be important to Palestinian society.

Project Title: University Student Political Parties
Objective: To provide university students with an opportunity to participate in a series of facilitated dialogues about the common issues they are facing.
Organization: The Palestinian Center for Helping Resolve Community Disputes
Description: PCHRCD is currently implementing this project aiming at promoting understanding and cooperation among the student political parties in Gaza universities, which currently exhibit strained relations. After working with student political leaders to assess the nature of the disputes among them and the best methods for resolving them, the Center has designed this project to engage the students in dialogue and to help them develop cooperative projects. Students from all of the major political factions will participate in a series of facilitated dialogues about the common issues they face. As the participants begin to identify areas of common interest between them, the Center staff helps them develop a strategy for cooperatively addressing some of the most pressing issues. Finally, the Center will convene a conference for evaluating the program and sharing its results. All of the participating students, as well as professors and other members of the university communities, will attend this conference. The project as a whole will provide a model for more constructive political discourse and effective cooperation among the different political parties.