Freedom of Expression

Fostering the effective implementation of a legal framework conducive to Freedom of Expression, Association and Assembly in Morocco (FEAAM)

Fostering the effective implementation of a legal framework conducive to Freedom of Expression, Association and Assembly in Morocco (FEAAM)

The overall goal of the project is to foster the effective implementation of a legal framework conducive to freedom of expression, association and assembly and consistent with international standards and best practices, in Morocco.

The project’s first component focuses on supporting the implementation of new laws and regulations and the functioning of regulatory bodies: the Press Code; the Press Council; the Consultative Council for Youth and Associations, for example. The project will also provide input into new draft laws or draft revised laws under review by analyzing the current legal and regulatory framework in Morocco and advocating for compliance with International standards and best practices.

The project will also work to foster and support a broad-based movement of civil society groups, along with a coordinated strategy to improve public understanding and support of freedom of expression, association and assembly. This will be the focus of the project’s second component by reinforcing media and civil society groups to perform a watchdog role for society, thus supporting implementation of current laws consistent with International Human Rights’ norms.

The project will be implemented by IREX Europe, in partnership with Adala, Article 19 MENA and the UNESCO office for the Maghreb countries over a 26 month period.

FEAAM Objectives:

  • Objective 1: To promote advocacy by civil society and media groups for an improved legal framework that protects freedom of expression, association, and assembly, with the advocacy based on a comprehensive analysis of the current legal environment and legislation.
  • Objective 2: To support and build the capacity of lawyers, journalists and media professionals (including new and alternative media actors)and civil society such that they perform a watchdog role that ensure implementation of existing laws and regulations are consistent with international standards.

 

Our project works to achieve these objectives through the following activities:

  • Legal analysis and recommendations on existing laws and/or draft laws and regulations to ensure consistency vis-à-vis international standards
  • National and international advocacy for improved legal and regulatory frameworks
  • Campaigning for fundamental freedoms: Capacity building and support to CSOs and Media for a wider outreach
  • Promoting monitoring tools and mechanisms
  • Support to the Legal Assistance and Guidance Unit for Moroccan Journalists
  • Regional blog tours on Fundamental Freedoms held for bloggers and HRDs
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.

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.

Kenya: Learning theatre to promote peace and understanding among Somali communities

Kenya: Learning theatre to promote peace and understanding among Somali communities

Overview

IREX Europe, in partnership with the Kenyan-based NGO Somali Aid Foundation (SAF), is implementing a project aimed at disenfranchised youth which uses theatre as a vehicle for youth to express their views and frustrations on key issues including poverty, lack of access to education and gender issues, among others. The project targets the Somali youth population in the Nairobi suburb of Eastleigh and in the refugee camp of Hagadera. The theatre technique used is Drama for Conflict Transformation (DCT), which promotes understanding and tolerance in different societies. IREX Europe and its partners have successfully implemented the methodology in Somaliland, Indonesia and Central Asia.

Background

Somalia is a failed state and remains one of the most insecure places in the world with an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. From the beginning of the 90s asylum-seekers from Somalia arrived in Kenya almost continuously and in considerable numbers. There are currently some 350,000 Somali refugees living in Kenya. Most of them are living in the three refugee camps around the town of Dadaab, in north-eastern Kenya near the Somali border (representing the largest single concentration of refugees in the world), and the majority of the population is young people facing a high level of poverty and widespread illiteracy, all key drivers for conflict, violence and social problems.

Due to the difficulties of working with the displaced Somali population, particularly in the refugee camps, there is a general gap in terms of peace-building and conflict prevention type activities, as the focus of most assistance is on humanitarian emergency response work.
IREX Europe’s Theatre for Peace program aims at helping the vulnerable young Somali refugees, along with disenfranchised Somali-Kenyan living in the same area, address and work through conflict using Drama for Conflict Transformation (DCT) methods that combine theatre debate, poetry and reflection to create a “safe space” for exploring incendiary issues. Drama for Conflict Transformation is a rich methodology that encourages improvisation and play to help participants develop new views and behaviors. 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. Not only is DCT a powerful tool for transforming attitudes, it also provides a platform for practicing conflict resolution strategies.

Project Activities

The project will target Somali and Somali-Kenyan youth, as well as adults who will support them in their work with theatre: teachers, theatre-makers (actors and directors, whether formally trained or enthusiasts), and NGO leaders.
To encourage ongoing use of the methodology in participants’ home communities, in December 2010 an initial training for teachers, local theatre-makers, and NGO leaders will equip supportive adults with the tools to serve as facilitators in DCT.
During the main youth trainings the trainers will reinforce their DCT skills through mentoring by IREX Europe’s international DCT expert, Ms. Christine Cox.

A smaller group of highly motivated young participants will have the opportunity to attend a follow-on theatre workshop, which will prepare these youth participants to share anti-conflict plays with communities across and around the Dhadhaab area and Nairobi. Participants will learn how to engage audiences and involve them in exploring conflict issues within theatre scenes. Through a small grant component, the project will allow these young people to organise their own theatre troupes and conduct theatre tours within their communities. These youth–led informal theatre showings will reach hundreds of additional youth and adults either in the camps or in schoolyards, youth centers, and market areas.

Somaliland: Theatre to promote peace and understanding

Somaliland: Theatre to promote peace and understanding

Overview

IREX Europe will run a series of drama-based activities across Somaliland to promote peaceful co-existence. Working with partner Kow Media Corporation from Hargeisa, a drama team will travel through six regions in Somaliland exploring tribalism, radicalisation, community tensions and other drivers of conflict in the region. Following each show, the theatre troupe will organise sessions using traditional spontaneous poetry blended with modern discussion techniques to promote critical thinking about Somaliland’s challenges.

Background

Since declaring independence in 1991, Somaliland has surprised the world as a fledgling democracy, holding three consecutive competitive elections since 2001 and successfully integrating traditional Somali modes of governance into contemporary politics. However, following postponed national elections and increased regional instability, Somaliland remains vulnerable to extremism and violence. Communities have 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.

IREX Europe’s Theatre Road Show program aims at helping people address and work through conflict using Drama for Conflict Transformation (DCT) methods that combine theatre debate, poetry and reflection to create a “safe space” for exploring incendiary issues. The program builds on Kow Media’s work through its “Geediga Nabada” Peace Caravan team of trained theatre practitioners.
Drama for Conflict Transformation is a rich methodology that encourages improvisation and play to help participants develop new views and behaviors. 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. Not only is DCT a powerful tool for transforming attitudes, it also provides a platform for practicing conflict resolution strategies.

Project Activities

IREX Europe, with its partner Kow Media Corporation, will utilise Drama for Conflict Transformation methodologies to organise a traveling theatre caravan to offer shows across Somaliland. 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. The theatre performances are envisaged as opening dialogue in the community and encouraging constructive exchanges. 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 will also 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 l cultural expression.

Project History

IREX Europe built upon the success of its Indonesia Interactive Theatre Project, supported by the United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Strategic Programme Fund, to explore similar themes of conflict and extremism in Somaliland. IREX Europe’s network partner, IREX, also is using interactive theatre models to address conflict in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. IREX Europe also drew on the experience of IREX media and civil society projects in Somalia. Kow Media Corporation is using theater-based approaches to conflict in Somalia through its “Geediga Nabada” Peace Caravan project funded by the United Nations Development Fund.