Active Voices: Helping shape Syria’s social leaders

‘Aswat Faeela’ (‘Active Voices’) is a European Commission (EC) funded project being implemented through an international consortium of partners. The contract with the EC was signed on 31 December 2015 for €2.4 million and will run from January 2016 - June 2018.

The aim of ‘Aswat Faeela’ is to develop young Syrians’ social leadership skills and build their capacity through practical initiatives. The project works with emerging leaders both within Syria and in the countries most affected by the Syrian crisis (Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey). In doing so, the project strives to give young Syrians a voice in national and international dialogues on peace building and community resilience. The project is framed by the newly passed UN Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, which urges Member States ‘to consider setting up mechanisms that would enable young people to participate meaningfully in peace process and dispute resolution. 

The project is built on a two-fold approach: on the one hand, it aims to support emerging Syrian social leaders to work within their communities to find local solutions to issues challenging them on a daily basis; and on the other hand, it strives to build coalitions that will advocate around common issues so that they are able to relate experiences at community level to the national and international political and policy priorities level. 

The overall objective of ‘Aswat Faeela’ is to build the capacity of young Syrian social leaders to contribute to positive social action that will benefit Syrian communities in the short-term, as well as in preparation for the longer term transition to a peaceful, democratic Syria. 

Additionally, the project’s specific objectives are to:

  1. Increase the ability of young Syrian social leaders to analyse their context, as well as to understand and recognise how they can contribute to change;
  2. Build young Syrian social leaders’ capacity to initiate collective social actions to strengthen peace building, community cohesion, social inclusion and economic recovery; and
  3. Better equip young Syrian social leaders and diaspora to use research and share evidence to advocate and influence decision makers.

Moreover, the project has four key components:

  1. A core learning journey for master facilitators cascaded to community builders based on the principles of peace building and active citizenship;
  2. Tailored further learning on the topics of peace building and reconciliation, social cohesion, economic recovery, inclusion and vulnerable groups;
  3. Community action through seed-funded pilot initiatives scaled up, where possible, in participating communities; and
  4. Advocacy and communications through networking and a range of interventions targeted at policy makers and diaspora at national and European level.

Together with our consortium of partners, the British Council will work with three groups of Syrian participants living in Syria, in host communities outside of Syria, as well as Syrian diaspora living in Europe, in particular in the UK, Germany and Belgium. The target of the initiative is 404 social leaders, with whom the project will engage at different levels, from master facilitators to community members participating in capacity building, advocacy and social action initiatives. 

 

June 2016