What is activism?
The policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.
Or as our Palestine Voices Without Borders participants define it: ‘Using committed and consistent campaigning to bring about changes for the community.’
Why is activism important for Voices Without Borders?
Activism ensures that the participants go beyond receiving information in training to passing it on. Considering how important the information is for the well being of their communities sharing said information directly supports the community. Activism training and support enables the participants to do this effectively and in an engaging and fun way.
Beyond the local benefits the work of the participants is shared across our platforms therefore reaching audiences in the States and across Europe. Often highlighting issues not typically discussed outside of the communities we work with, thus building global awareness and global pressure for change.
Example: The killing of Israa Ghareeb from Bethlehem was reported widely across social media platforms sparking a global activism movement resulting in women’s rights protests being held in Beirut, Lebanon, Gaza, Haifa, Ramallah and Berlin. The mounting pressure from activists led to a response from Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayya. He stated that more needed to be done to protect women, whilst remarking that it was not normal practice for him to speak before an investigation had concluded but under such pressure from activists he felt he needed to.
How do we involve activism in our programmes?
We include activism and social media training very early in the programme and then we support the participants to be active online throughout the programme, encouraging them to regularly share reflections on the trainings they receive.
What is active citizenship?
Active citizenship allows for:
Participation in the community that empowers people to influence the decisions which affect their lives. Whilst also improving knowledge and understanding of the political, social, and economic context of their participation so that they can make informed decisions.
Why is active citizenship important for Voices Without Borders?
Including active citizenship in the programme has a number of advantages. It fore mostly socially and politically empowers the participants, allowing for them to understand the process of change as well as to be actively engaged in it. This is hugely important in the communities we work with as often the youth suffer from a lack of political engagement and a frustration in the ability to effect real change. Also working with the third sector and government related departments throughout the programme provides numerous networking opportunities.
How do we include active citizenship in our programmes?
We include active citizenship in two ways:
- We include in the programme multiple training sessions from different experts and practitioners from the field related to the particular cause the group is focusing on. These sessions allow for an increased understanding of the social, political sphere and open up ample networking opportunities.
- We conclude our programmes with a community action. For example BTV Voices Without Borders Palestine concludes with the participants creating awareness raising workshops on domestic violence, the threat, the underlying causes and the provisions in place to support victims. They then take these workshops, and with the help of local NGOs, identify high need groups to deliver them to. In 2018 this resulted in one woman calling the police to report a case of domestic abuse.