14 August 2012 - 15 Septmber 2014

Background:

The past few years have witnessed dramatic developmental changes in the Palestinian community on the political, socio-cultural and economical levels. However, these changes have mainly been concentrated in the main cities, while Refugee camps, villages and other marginalized areas continue to be affected by many social, cultural, economical and political challenges. Therefore, Bridges project was launched as a supporting developmental process on both the social and cultural levels.

Bridges aims at creating a bottom up social change process by establishing relationships between and within young generations as well as empower grassroots organizations and marginalized groups in order to enhance their participation in the regulatory processes and to engage in structural and cultural reform.

In addition, the project will establish dialogue processes between different actors and stakeholders in order to foster social and community developmental process, to increase political participation of the targeted groups, to develop the young leaders’ abilities and to create a new set of values based on the concept of Basic Human Needs and Human Rights within the Palestinian society.

Objectives

  • Empower the young generation in order to play a more active role in the regulatory processes and in the psycho-social sphere.

  • Foster developmental processes in the targeted areas.

  • Establish lobbying networks to improve the living conditions of the target groups and improve their access to formal public processes.

  • Establish safe joint platforms for action for target groups of refugees from the camps and their surrounding areas.

Target Group

This project targets refugee camps and the surrounding villages and cities in five districts: Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah Jericho and Nablus.

Milestones

Capacity Building Workshops:

REFORM implemented four capacity building workshops entitled “Mechanisms to Foster Youth Cultural and Political Participation”, in Hebron, Bethlehem, Jericho, Ramallah and Nablus, targeting 100 young participants from the targeted areas. The training aimed at developing the capacity of youth and to improve their ability to participate in regulatory processes, leading to an inclusive and responsive political system. The training also aimed at facilitating the marginalized groups access, particularly women and youth, to the various levels of decision making.

The workshops also analyzed the cultural and structural environment of the target communities, in order to explore deep conflicting dimensions that blocks youth active participation in the public life, and act towards transforming energies that are excluded from decision making to constructive energies that contributes to local development, as a way of promoting community partnership and participation.

House meetings

Bridges groups carried out a number of house meetings aiming at promoting social coherence and strengthening communication between the various community components. These activities created safe spaces for the participants, allowing them to be introduced to the daily living conditions at the targeted areas. During these meetings, the participants discussed various issue affecting their cultural realities and women and youth social participation in addition to reviewing the key elements of community solitude.

Bridges Café:

Bridges groups implemented dialogue sessions aiming at creating safe places that enabled the participants to interact with the surrounding community, invite them to rethink the existing social systems, restore community harmony and create communication platforms to shed light on the prevailing social values system, which frames the less fortunate interaction in society.

Public meetings:

A number of public meetings was carried out in an attempt to establish communication channels between the public in the targeted areas and decision makers in order to facilitate discussions on the developmental processes in the Palestinian community regarding the needs of marginalized areas, such as refugee camps and its surrounding areas, in addition to addressing their needs as a group and its achievement mechanisms.  These meetings highlighted the dialectical relation between the refugees issue and the rights associated with it, such as the needs of obtaining the basic necessities of life and the national institutions’ responsibility to guarantee these necessities.

Voluntary work:

In an effort to revive volunteerism in the Palestinian society and to deepen the involvement of youth in public life, Bridges groups carried out voluntary days in less fortunate areas in order to highlight their living conditions as well as the need to initiate a supporting developmental process, leading to the revival of the historical, archaeological, and national status of these areas.

Life River:

Bridges groups have developed a new supporting learning process (Learning-by-Doing Process), by creating participatory spaces that enables the participants to learn from their life experiences after conceptualizing and relating these stories to successful historical events that became model for social change.

Quarterly Reports:

Four (4) Quarterly Reports (Issues Under Microscope).

TV episodes “Eye on Camp

Five (5) TV episodes of a program called “Eye on Camp”.

ACT Academy

Establishing “ACT Academy” for Critical Thinking and Conflict Transformation,  which will be using methods for conflict transformation, resolution and management.

Time Frame

The project’s activities will be carried out over a period of 18 months effective November 15, 2012.