Raghda Butros meeting

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This was one of a series of meetings to discuss Deca as part of outreach

Raghda Butros is an Arab urban activist and social venturer - founder of Hamzet Wasel


Feb 20/21 2011

Outreach and community

  • Has done similar work in Jordan
  • Importance of OUTREACH - no alternative to knocking on people's doors
  • Go to community through the children
  • Importance of speaking to what community/ies want
  • She spent first year-year and a half just getting to know people and their priorities
  • A key priority should be socio-economic integration - involving young people from different backgrounds
  • When we raised the question of having workers from the local area - she mentioned the risk of these people bringing their prejudices with them. So of course this is ideal but key is passion and wanting to go out and meet people
  • Outreach - start from inside out - ie start with the people near us. The posher kids need this too! Establish a relationship with them from the beginning
  • Trust is with people/individuals - not organisations/institutions
  • Look for people in the area who have the skills you are looking for - eg. arrange a 'what can you teach day' in which to explore this
  • Raghda started a project 'Urban discovery channel' - to get to know the area. People work in groups - with people they wouldn't normally interact with (so the process has a social cohesion element). It consists of clues, tasks etc eg. helping out at bakery
  • make the discussions open to all the community not just young people

Self-sustainability and money

  • As a principle - should be free for users
  • Self-sustainability - but not through the kids
  • Money, scholarship, support etc - only after having gone through a process together and built a relationship - otherwise it corrupts relationships
  • Importance of doing things *really* well - also ppl will then pay for services - eg urban discovery channel - tourists and companies pay for this -- ie free for users of space, businesses etc pay
  • your product /concept can go elsewhere - not confined to centre
  • Not be equipment-centric but relationships-centric, do activities with minimal resources and equipment
  • Expression in safe way - not obsession with quality and output - BUT people should still be proud of the output
  • Outcome mapping - developed by ICRC Canada - maps behavioural change eg through journals and storytelling
  • Don't target specific ppl - just do first rate programme
  • Online presence, online space
  • Vetting process for staff - reputation, word of mouth
  • Specified person in counsellor role - ppl go to them if there is a problem
  • Membership system
  • Induction of staff re: principles - but try to look for ppl who do not need training
  • Probably won't be a drop-in space because of its location
  • Outcome mapping - very useful monitoring and evaluation system and has been arabised
  • Continuity is key - eg staff and developing relationships
  • How people are taught, not what is taught is important

Raghda's Feedback after meetings

1. Having visited Zabaleen and areas in Moqattam and learned about some of the projects they do, I think one of the most effective approaches you can take is to find ways to bring the achievements/capabilities of the area to the digital world. As such, you might want to consider organizing activities that would build the skills of children/youth from these communities and organizations to create an online and social media presence for their work, which could feed into a web presence for Moqattam that brings these different projects together for others to engage with and learn from. You could also add a networking angle to this, similar to this www.7ar.at. By doing this, you will be bringing the different people of the area to work together on a larger project, but with each group working on their specific contribution. Additionally, the site will become a resource for anyone visiting, living, working or wanting to start a project in Moqattam in the future. To prepare the work that needs to go into this site, children/youth would of course learn all the needed skills like photography, filmmaking, animation, web-development etc. The chances of them learning these skills and really seeing their value will rest in the fact that they will be translated into an end-product they (and you) can showcase, and which stems from their everyday lives.

2. Zabaleen alone is a fascinating location with a million stories to tell. A documentation process of the area and the processes the people follow to implement their work, in addition to the strides they have taken to establish a union, is a story people around the world should know. Roo7 al-Shabab have established a curriculum for teaching reading and math to kids through the recycling process and one for the recycling process itself. This is fascinating and replicable in many poor countries around the world and tackles an issue governments and people in the developed world still struggle with.

3. Moqattam is full of treasures. I think we need to organize a couple of discovery challenges as soon as possible. The first of these could be for the Deca and Adef teams with others from the community, and the other could be open to a larger audience. Getting to know the area yourself will be a key component to the success of this project. I recommend we plan these for end of April. Let me know what dates work for you so I can come back to you with more concrete plans.