Gender Equality

Med Media Project: Towards media sector reform in the Southern Mediterranean region

Med Media Project: Towards media sector reform in the Southern Mediterranean region

Overview

IREX Europe is part of a consortium led by BBC Media Action that is implementing the EU funded Med Media Project: Towards media sector reform in the Southern Mediterranean region. Other consortium members include the International Federation of Journalists, the Blanquerna Communications School, the Federation of Arab Journalists and the Jordan Media Institute.

The Programme, which runs from January 2014 to January 2018, will aim to reinforce the role of the media in the target countries to act as vectors for democratization and contribute to the development of a more public service oriented media landscape in the Southern Mediterranean. The project also aims to contribute to the creation and development of a public sphere in the region.

The Programme will be implemented in 9 countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) of the Southern Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia). The ENP was developed in 2004 by the European Union with the objective of “avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours to the South and the East, and of strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all concerned”. Key stakeholder groups include regulatory and statutory bodies, journalism unions and support organisations, public service and community media and policy makers.

Background

Despite new freedom promised by the Arab Spring, media across the ENP South region still struggle to act as drivers for positive social change. Challenges include continued political interference and lack of editorial independence, the rise of social media as an alternative source of news and opinion, and the dominance of pan-Arab broadcasters in local media markets. The project will aim to promote a public service orientated media section is in the region through peer-to-peer mentoring, assisting state broadcasters to make qualitative improvements to their outputs, improving engagement with their audiences, and use of social media.

Project Activities

Review of existing legislation in target countries relating to media and existing regulatory mechanisms

Media mapping of media development projects in the region

Organisation of a series of round-tables (topics include media regulation in transitional democracies, transparency of media ownership, the advertising market, international benchmarking for media development, media literacy, parliamentary hearings on state financing of the media, conferences on minority-language media, gender mainstreaming and protection of women’s rights)

Coaching activities for grantees as well as peer-to-peer mentoring activities between European and regional stakeholders

Set-up of a knowledge management portal for research materials.

Regional networking activities and conferences to provide opportunities for experience sharing and dialogue.

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.

Lebanon:  Youth Community Empowerment Program

Lebanon: Youth Community Empowerment Program

Overview

The Youth Community Empowerment Program, funded by Global Opportunities Fund of the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, is a targeted intervention to address the causes of radicalization among young people in Lebanon. IREX Europe built the capacity of one key youth-focused Lebanese civil society organization to undertake community mobilisation approaches to mitigating conflict, and then support its work to spread this expertise to an additional six to eight Lebanese CSOs. In addition to raising expertise, specific community mobilisation projects was undertaken. By targeting pluralistic CSOs for conflict mitigation through community mobilisation, IREX Europe expects to strengthen the emerging portions of civil society that seek to promote ethnic and religious tolerance among diverse communities.

Background

Lebanon is a young country; Lebanese under 25 constitute more than half the population. Several civil society organisations (CSOs) formed by young Lebanese work across the sectarian divide to promote tolerance and pluralism. These organisations are keys to influencing the young people who have the potential to mitigate – or foment – conflicts. However, the emerging CSOs need significant institutional support and programmatic skills development in the area of conflict mitigation through community mobilisation. Such an approach focuses on common projects — repairing a school, cleaning a park, constructing a football field – that can mobilize youth from diverse communities for a common goal. This prepares young people for future cooperation and lessens tensions and divergences.

Project Activities

1. A Lebanese civil society organization has been established as a centre of expertise in using community mobilisation to work with young people to promote tolerance and pluralism. Youth facilitators and project managers have been trained in community mobilisation techniques, and Lebanon-appropriate applications of the methodologies shaped for sharing with additional youth-focused civil society organizations.

2. Six to eight youth-focused CSOs have been enabled to design and conduct conflict mitigation projects through community mobilisation approaches.

3. Five youth-oriented community mobilisation projects have been conducted through mentored grants, targeting young people with diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds from communities with histories of inter-communal tensions.

4. A youth NGO retreat has been convened to promote expertise sharing and networks

 

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.