Finished Projects

U-Impact: From Citizen Involvement to Policy Impact

U-Impact: From Citizen Involvement to Policy Impact

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U-Impact is the acronym of the multi-country cross-border project “From Citizen Involvement to Policy Impact”. It is implemented by nine citizen organizations and supported by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.

The project coordinates citizen involvement with the public authorities on national and European level in eight EU member states and one candidate state in order to develop a sustainable mechanism for increased impact of citizen initiatives on the policy making process in the EU.

The project specifically targets the European Parliament elected in 2014 and aims at increasing the citizen participation in its policy making process in line with its increased power and competences in the Union.

U-Impact consist of a series of policy initiatives developed by citizens across borders in the 9 participating countries with the aim of improving important everyday aspects of their lives as European citizens and directly targets policy impact on European and national level. The aims of the project include:

  • improving citizen’s understanding of the new power structure of the Union and the new role of Parliament as well as the opportunities to interact and impact its decision making process;
  • helping create a sustainable platform for increased pan-European citizen participation;
  • offering concrete solutions to specific European citizen problems and have them debated with European and national policy makers;
  • creating an inclusive long lasting network for policy debate and impact involving citizens across borders building on their cultural diversity and promoting the development of a common European public space.

U-Impact works to foster a meaningful debate with policy-makers, including the European Parliament and to build the mechanisms for turning citizen involvement into effective citizen impact on EU policy.

Syria:  Justice and Accountability Centre

Syria: Justice and Accountability Centre

The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) is a multi-laterally supported organisation that will collect, collate, receive, process, analyse, and securely store information, evidence, documentation and other materials relating to violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Syria. The SJAC will serve as a coordinating mechanism for organisations and individuals that are already engaged in the documentation of human rights abuses, providing an electronic repository for information as well as identifying and addressing crucial gaps. The purpose of the SJAC’s analyses is to identify patterns of events, crimes, and capture a historical record of victims’ experiences in view of a broad range of future accountability and transitional justice processes.

Overview

Founded in 2012, the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) is a multi-laterally supported organization that collects, collates, receives, processes, analyzes, and securely stores information, evidence, documentation and other materials relating to violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Syria. Based in Lyon, France, the SJAC serves as a coordinating mechanism for organizations and individuals that are already engaged in the documentation of human rights abuses, providing an electronic repository for information as well as identifying and addressing crucial gaps. The purpose of the SJAC’s analyses is to identify patterns of events, crimes, and capture a historical record of victims’ experiences in view of a broad range of future accountability and transitional justice processes.

Background

The idea for the SJAC first emerged during the second Friends of Syria meeting in April 2012. The Friends of the Syrian People envisioned that the SJAC promote accountability and justice for Syria through the establishment of an independent and multi-lateral institution, cooperation among actors working on human rights and accountability efforts for Syria, the development of a credible information repository on violations of human rights and humanitarian law related to Syria, as well as through the expertise of its staff and partners.

The SJAC became operational in July 2012 when its international implementing partners and the SJAC Executive Director hired key staff, launched the SJAC’s programming, began registering the institution in Lyon, France, and began conducting outreach and fundraising activities. The SJAC has been successful in securing financial and political support from a wide range of countries and multi-lateral organizations.
Under the guidance of a Board of Directors (BoD), comprised of transitional justice and Syrian experts, the SJAC is driven by the following vision and mission.

The Vision

The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC) envisions a Syria where people live in a state defined by justice, respect for human rights and the rule of law; where perpetrators of human rights abuses are held accountable; and victims are recognized and compensated for violations they have suffered.

The Mission

to promote justice and accountability in Syria through ensuring that all violations of international criminal, humanitarian, and human rights law are documented, that civil society and other relevant actors work effectively together, and that data and expertise are available to serve as a deterrent to continuing abuses and for future accountability and transitional justice efforts.

IREX Europe is provided technical support to the SJAC to establish its project offices in Lyon, France.

Somaliland:  Interactive Theatre for Peace

Somaliland: Interactive Theatre for Peace

Overview

Building upon IREX Europe’s two successful theatre for peace projects in Somaliland, IREX Europe will continue work with its Hargeisa-based partner Kow Media Corporation to promote peaceful dialogue on community issues. The project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, targets 48 Somali communities in the 6 regions of Somaliland utilising Drama for Conflict Transformation methodologies. This innovative methodology, which combines theatre, debate, poetry, and reflection, creates a ‘safe space’ for exploring incendiary issues such as tribalism, radicalisation, community tensions and other drivers of conflict. IREX Europe and its partners have successfully implemented the methodology with Somali communities in Kenya, in Indonesia and in Central Asia.

Background

Since declaring independence in 1991, Somaliland has surprised the world as a fledgeling democracy, holding peaceful elections and successfully integrating traditional Somali modes of governance into contemporary politics. However, Somaliland remains vulnerable to extremism and violence due to regional instability, including ongoing tensions between Puntland and Somaliland, which have escalated into violence several times. Within this climate, communities have had few models for civil discourse and little opportunity for constructive debate of political issues. As a result, street protests and violence are too often the way in which people attempt to resolve political and social issues. As Somalis become increasingly disenfranchised and frustrated, extremist voices can appear an increasingly attractive alternative to democracy. This project will build upon Kow Media’s work through its “Geediga Nabada” Peace Caravan team of trained theatre practitioners and successful IREX Europe/Kow Media collaboration through the Theatre to Promote Peace and Understanding Project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Project Activities

The project will increase the impact of the Geediga Nabada theatre throupe through capacity building in the use of structured dialgoue and interactive theatre techniques. This will include longer terms contracting, theatre troupe management capacity building, and integrating script writing into the theatre group repetoire. In addition, ast least 2 new young actors will be recruited to thte troupe to add sustainability and flexibility to the troupe.

IREX Europe and Kow Media will organise a travelling theatre caravan to offer shows in six regions of Somaliland targeting up to 30,000 people. Following each performance, members of the theatre troupe with training in facilitating discussion sessions will encourage dialogue amongst the community members present to promote critical thinking and challenge entrenched views. Community members will be invited to speak about challenges specific to their lives and areas, encouraging dialogue and the collective identification of solutions. During these discussion sessions, facilitators also will encourage viewers to create their own poetical verses discussing the issues addressed in the theatre performances. This is especially relevant in Somaliland, where poetry is an important component of cultural expression.

EU – Media Neighbourhood Programme

EU – Media Neighbourhood Programme

On April 16, the European Commission officially launched Media Neighbourhood – a 3 year programme to train over 1200 journalists across 17 EU neighbouring countries and territories. IREX Europe is part of a consortium led by BBC Media Action who will deliver journalism training and networking activities. The focus countries are : Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Russian Federation, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine.

Alice Morrison, Team Leader for Media Neighbourhood said : “This is a broad and ambitious project. We’ll be offering the opportunity for world-class training to a diverse group of journalists and editors across an enormous geographical area. It is a chance to really make a difference by boosting skills, especially in the areas of media independence and online media.”

The project has a budget of EUR 4.5 million and the consortium delivering it is BBC Media Action, IREX Europe, Fondation AFP, L’Orient-Le Jour, CFI (French Televisions Group), LDK and the Media Development Center. Media Neighbourhood will bring together media professionals to create a peer group of journalists supporting each other, strengthening professional reporting standards and ethics amongst journalists working for local media across the ENPI region. A particular focus will be given to freedom of expression and its role in countries engaged in the process of democratisation.

The EU Neighbourhood area covers 16 countries and territories participating in the European Neighbourhood policy (ENP) plus the Russian Federation. ENP was developed by the EU to help prevent divisions between the enlarged EU and its neighbours. It strives to strengthen prosperity, stability and security for all.

Kenya:  Theatre to Promote Peace and Understanding among Kenyan and Somali communities

Kenya: Theatre to Promote Peace and Understanding among Kenyan and Somali communities

 

Overview

IREX

Europe, in partnership with the Kenyan Community Support Centre, is implementing a project which helps disenfranchised youth address and work through conflict and community tensions using theatre. Our team uses Drama for Conflict Transformation (DCT) which is a special Forum Theatre methodology that creates a safe space allowing discussion of normally taboo subjects such as the drivers of conflict, women’s rights, radical islam, and many others. The project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commo

nwealth Office, targets Kenyan and Somali youth in the multicultural district of Majengo, Mombasa. IREX Europe and its partners have successfully implemented the methodology with Somali populations in the Nairobi suburb of Eastleigh, in Hagadera (Dadaab refugee complex) and in Somaliland.

Background

Kenya is home to 900,000 Somali refugees and Kenyan-Somalis. Somalis first arrived in Kenyan in the 19th century ; however, immigration increased following the civil war which broke out in Somalia in 1991, when many Somalis sought asylum in the Somali-inhabited enclaves of Kenya. Kenya also hosts Dadaab, the worst largest refugee complex, currently home to 460,000 Somali refugees, more than 150,000 of which have arrived in 2011 after fleeing the severe drought in Somalia.
In October 2011, the Kenyan Government began sending troops into Somalia in pursuit of al-Shabab, which it blames for a series of cross-border kidnappings on its terriority. Tensions and mistrust between Kenyans and the Somali community have correspondingly increased. The project works to promote peaceful coexistence in the multi-ethnic community of Majengo district, Mombasa, which hosts a high number of Somali refugees and a diverse ethnic Kenyan population. Mixed groups of young Kenyans and Somalis are brought together and using DCT they are led through a process which allows them to safely discuss critical issues that confront them and their communities.
DCT is a rich methodology that encourages improvisation and play to help participants develop new views and behaviours. In situations of entrenched conflict, where debate and historical analysis rarely serve to change minds, and where debate and discussion are often virtually non-existant, DCT unlocks the creative power of individuals and communities to adopt new perspectives and develop new solutions for community problems.

Project Activities

The project will target young Kenyans, Kenyan-Somalis, and Somali refugees, as well as adults who will build their capacities to support youth. An initial training for Somali and Kenyan adults living in Majengo will teach them how to use the DCT methodology. The trained trainers will then go on to work with young Kenyans and Somalis, leading theatre activities in their community. At least 100 youth will be involved in the theatre activities.
A smaller group of highly motivated young participants will have the opportunity to attend a follow-on theatre workshop, which will prepare these youth to share anti-conflict plays with communities in Majengo and across Mombasa. Participants will learn how to engage audiences and involve them in exploring conflict issues through Forum theatre shows. Through a small grants component, the project will allow these young people to organise their own theatre troupes and conduct Forum theatre tours within their communities. These youth–led informal theatre showings will reach hundreds of additional youth and adults in schoolyards, youth centres, and market areas.

Somaliland:  Interactive Theatre for Peace

Somaliland: Interactive Theatre for Peace

Overview

Building upon IREX Europe’s successful theatre for peace project in Somaliland, IREX Europe will continue work with its Hargeisa-based partner Kow Media Corporation to promote peaceful dialogue on community issues. The project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, targets 48 Somali communities in the 6 regions of Somaliland utilising Drama for Conflict Transformation methodologies. This innovative methodology, which combines theatre, debate, poetry, and reflection, creates a ‘safe space’ for exploring incendiary issues such as tribalism, radicalisation, community tensions and other drivers of conflict. In situations of entrenched conflict, where debate and historical analysis rarely serve to change minds, DCT unlocks the creative power of individuals and communities to adopt new perspectives and develop novel solutions. IREX Europe and its partners have successfully implemented the methodology with Somali communities in Kenya, in Indonesia and in Central Asia.

Background

Since declaring independence in 1991, Somaliland has surprised the world as a fledgeling democracy, holding peaceful elections and successfully integrating traditional Somali modes of governance into contemporary politics. However, Somaliland remains vulnerable to extremism and violence due to regional instability, including ongoing tensions between Puntland and Somaliland, which have escalated into violence several times. Within this climate, communities have had few models for civil discourse and little opportunity for constructive debate of political issues. As a result, street protests and violence are too often the way in which people attempt to resolve political and social issues. As Somalis become increasingly disenfranchised and frustrated, extremist voices can appear an increasingly attractive alternative to democracy. This project will build upon Kow Media’s work through its “Geediga Nabada” Peace Caravan team of trained theatre practitioners and successful IREX Europe/Kow Media collaboration through the Theatre to Promote Peace and Understanding Project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Project Activities

IREX Europe and Kow Media will organise a travelling theatre caravan to offer shows in six regions of Somaliland targeting up to 16,000 people. Following each performance, members of the theatre troupe with training in facilitating discussion sessions will encourage dialogue amongst the community members present to promote critical thinking and challenge entrenched views. Community members will be invited to speak about challenges specific to their lives and areas, encouraging dialogue and the collective identification of solutions. During these discussion sessions, facilitators also will encourage viewers to create their own poetical verses discussing the issues addressed in the theatre performances. This is especially relevant in Somaliland, where poetry is an important component of cultural expression.

Up to 15 of these travelling road shows will be recorded and broadcast through local TV, radio, KOW Media and partner websites. Furthermore, a ‘Peace Film and Picture Festival’ will be organised for independent Somali film makers and picture and film enthusiasts among the local population and Somali Diaspora to showcase original work on conflict, peace, and reconciliation. The awarded films and photographs will be shown in at least 6 different cities of Somaliland, allowing people and communities from different areas to have access to different points of view and visions about their country.