Network of civil society organizations brings together Palestinian youth for a week of training in leadership, advocacy and community organizing. - مركز مساواة لحقوق المواطنين العرب في اسرائيل

Network of civil society organizations brings together Palestinian youth for a week of training in leadership, advocacy and community organizing.

The Mossawa Center, in cooperation with a network of Arab CSOs including the Arab Center for Alternative Planning, Humanity Crew, the Center for Educational Guidance for Arab Students, Al-Tufula, Entemaa wa Ata, Entemaa wa Amal and Leajlik Baladi, organized a week of capacity building, welcoming thirty-five Palestinian youth in Haifa last week. Although they came from different backgrounds geographically, religiously, and economically, as one participant, Hamdan Khatib, noted, “We found that something between us was the same.” Aleen Nassra, from the Galilee was also surprised that, although she had never met anyone from Tira, Taibeh, or Qalansawa before, she and her new friends from these places had something in common. “We all want change,” she said. “We want a great country, a great community. We want something beautiful,” namely a better future for their generation.


Throughout the week, the Mossawa Center sought to give participants in the program the tools to effect such a change. Thus, the program included workshops on media, community organizing, legal and parliamentary advocacy, legislation and litigation, networking and solidarity, organizational development, international advocacy, and housing and planning.


During the housing and planning workshops, participants, many of whom came from villages where Israeli authorities have carried out home demolitions recently, learned from Adv. Kais Nasser and Shady Khalilie about housing and planning rights. Not only did these workshops empower the participants to realize their rights to shelter, electricity, water, building permits, and basic services (all of which the state of Israel often denies to its Arab citizens), but they also provided an opportunity to build solidarity among participants, some of whom, such as those from Al-Araqib and Umm al-Hiran, had themselves experienced the trauma of home demolitions and the burden of living without basic government services.


The program also included a day at the Knesset during which participants attended a conference on the  state budget and its implications for the Arab community organized with MK Ahmad Tibi and MK Jamal Zahalka in the Committee for Redistributive Justice and Social Equality. The participants attended a conference on racial incitement and the role of the media, organized by the Mossawa Center in cooperation with MK Joumah Azbarga, MK, Issawi Frej and MK Ksenia Svetlova, as well. During their day at the Knesset the youth had the opportunity to meet with MKs Abdullah Abu Ma’aruf and Aida Touma-Suleiman, who heads the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.


Over the course of the week, the youth participants developed eight projects to improve their communities, five of which the Mossawa Center selected to implement over the course of the year. Aleen, the young woman mentioned above, took part in the planning of a project that would encourage inter-faith dialogue. Where schools currently separate Christian, Druze, and Muslim students for religious education, she and her project teammates suggested that schools offer inter-faith classes, instead, to encourage social cohesion. With three project proposals oriented around the issue, violence and weapon smuggling in the Arab community was one of the principal concerns of the youth who participated in the program. The Mossawa Center, therefore, plans to support the youth in their project to develop a joint campaign against organized crime and violence later in the year. Other participants called for a project that would increase the presence of art and culture in their schools and communities.


The Mossawa Center expresses its pride in the Palestinian Arab youth who organized and participated in the week’s activities. We look forward to supporting them in effecting their visions for change throughout the coming year and in years to come.


The program was part of two projects supported by the European Union and Bread for the World. We thank them for their contributions to the future of Arab civil society.


For a closer look at the July 2017 youth camp and workshops, please see the program photo album.

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