Ramallah | This month, REFORM celebrates its tenth anniversary. It has been a decade since REFORM's young founders decided to contribute to liberating marginalised, hard-to-reach communities from their belief that they cannot influence. They wanted the youth to have the desire to engage. This would be done by adopting social transformation theories and developing a methodology that commensurates with the Palestinian context. REFORM diversified and refined its tools to suit the needs of its target audience. Safe spaces were provided for the targeted audience in order to express their opinions and influence decision-makers.
Mr. Hassan Mahariq, one of the founders of REFORM, states that "In 2012, REFORM began its journey in contributing to knowledge and analysis tools, its role in holding politicians accountable and healing the rift resulting from the division." He adds that "During the past ten years, REFORM accomplished a lot. By analysing, monitoring, developing and training. It started with the establishment of Community Service Groups and extended to the radio programme "Citizenship Issues Under Microscope" and the Innovation Hubb. We sought to contribute to bridging the gaps between the components of the community on the social and political levels."
Meanwhile, the establishment of The Civil Coalition to Promote Civil Peace and the Rule of Law and the holding of its annual conferences since its establishment in 2016, is considered an important achievement in the Association's history. This coalition brought civil society organisations together to be a pressure tool on law enforcement to work towards strengthening civil peace in Palestine.
REFORM also had a significant role in enhancing Palestinians' ability to exercise their rights to social accountability towards the government through periodic reports monitoring its performance. These reports were one of the many civic platforms REFORM has devoted to raising the voices of young women and men and enhancing their ability to influence public policy-making.
Mr. Mahariq spoke on REFORM's tools by stating that "REFORM has been known for the diversity and constant development of its tools." He mentioned a few examples including "Reform Models" which enhance the modelling of positive deviation in the relationship between women and men by providing visibility for women's success stories involving positive interactions between them and the men in their surroundings. Online Platforms have also increased the target groups' access to information, enhancing their communities' participation. Additionally, the first Early Warning System (EWS) improved women's participation in maintaining and protecting civil peace in their communities.
Mr. Rizk Atawneh is a Project Coordinator at REFORM and a youth activist who started his journey with the Association as a volunteer. He says that "We were confused looking for our place. Now we have the ability to analyse and have a family across the country." He added that "We built bridges of communication and visited the village, the camp and the city. We developed our competencies and became facilitators of public sessions. We debated writers, intellectuals and politicians. We became members of municipalities and village councils, leading our parties and became members of boards of directors in our associations that we co-founded." He concludes that "In this tenth year and all the years that follow, REFORM will be for all of us and it will also be for those who share our vision and mission."
REFORM has become an agency of change that engages young men and women, mainly from marginalised areas, on both the social and structural levels. It succeeded in becoming a pluralistic framework that is close to the needs of the public, looking for contradictions and turning them into a common ground. It provides tools and safe spaces for dialogue with decision-makers and enhances the public's ability to restore its beliefs.
In the next ten years, REFORM aspires to find organic policies related to the needs of the public, a leadership role for young men and women and a cohesive Palestinian society that rejects complex power relations.
For more details about REFORM, visit the website ww.reform.ps