“Al Mulhem in Social Justice”

Authored by Hania Aswad, Naseej Foundation: www.naseej-cyd.org

Link for file (in Arabic): http://www.naseej-cyd.org/uploads/files/resources1/almulhem-in-social-justice.pdf

In English, ‘Al Mulhem’ means ‘the Inspirer’.  While it serves as an inspiring ‘training and work implementation’ guide (not manual), it also aims at reaching out to the larger CSOs world of practitioners and activists, NGOs, philanthropists and donors, interested in applying social justice and right based values and principles in their work; despite of their specialization. 

General Objectives: 

  • Reinforcing the importance of basing the civil society sector efforts on social justice and rights values and principles
  • Developing and strengthening the capacities of those working in this field
  • Provide a model for an inspiring learning process that can be advance the work of interested organizations, practitioners and activists
  • Contributing effectively to creating and enhancing communities that believe and apply social justice and rights principles in their daily living practices

In addition to the introductory part and some additional useful material attached at the end, the main part of Al Mulhem includes three chapters:

  1. Conceptual Framework: being the essence of ‘learning processes’, be it in training settings and/or at the level of project planning, implementation, follow up and mentoring.
  2. A model ‘Learning Process’: a selected model of a training workshop selected from many others.  It illustrates the structure, content, sequence, required modifications, etc.  Al Mulhem users can modify, build and restructure their own models as they please and in accordance with their goal and targeted group.
  3. Training tools: a selected number of interactive exercises that have been used to enhance the learning process and engage the participants.

Why ‘Al Mulhem’?

Too many training programs and various types of projects are being implemented around us at all times as part of the ‘development’ and ‘humanitarian’ fields’ work.  And with that comes the expenditure of a very large amount of resources, be it in cash, in kind and/or in technical expertise.  Yet, when comparing actual results on the ground to the quantity of both work and resources consumed, we realize that little has been achieved or changed on the ground. 

Naseej believes that this is due to one main factor which had become the main gap in most work and organizations; no relevance to any specific ‘paradigm shift’, and if so, neither values-based nor linked to a clear conceptual framework.  The focus is usually more on the “what” rather than the “how” and “who”; too many nice buzz titles and wordings, wide goals, great emphasis on facilities and the external look of details, impressive names of HRs who in many cases too busy and have no time to customization, follow up and in-depth mentoring, no real link to targeted audience, etc.

In our effort to achieving our goals and creating deep genuine effect on the individual human and thus communities, we focus and aim at enhancing the conscious, provoking critical thinking, changing perspectives and practices so that people are more able to analyze their environment, develop their identity, role and positions, make decisions and take active roles; each based and in line with her/his culture, needs, assets and environment. 

And to do so, our focus is mostly the “how” and ‘who” as within them lays the “what.”  Since we started, Naseej consciously chose to position itself and structure its interventions on the bases of Social Justice values and Rights principles.  And to put that into a practical and applicable form, we innovated a human-centered ‘conceptual framework’ formed of four working ‘concepts and approaches’; Asset Based Community Development, Community Youth Development, Positive Youth Development and the ‘Services, Opportunity, Support’.  Each of these four concepts is a ‘paradigm shift’ which is applied through all the work we do. 

We work very closely with our targeted audience and gradually develop their ownership towards the development of themselves, others and their surroundings.  Our trainers, whom we trained, are part of the audience and/or communities we aim to serve and engage; they know their grounds, issues and cultures, speak the same ‘language’, have genuine interest, and they belong. 

Naseej believes that all efforts implemented are ‘learning processes’ which should be mostly lead by its main stakeholders.  Naseej roles on the other hand, is focused on designing ‘structures’ where the ‘paradigm shifts’ can take place, innovating ‘engaging tools’, mentoring and supporting the learning process, providing follow up and extended opportunities.

‘Al Mulhem’ is yet one additional ‘structure’ for ‘learning processes’ which we hope that it inspires others as well to follow the ‘collective feet steps’ of us and our partners in making real lasing -positive- change.  

Hania Aswad is the Executive Director of the CEO & Naseej Foundation – Arab Region, a social justice activist and practitioners and a member of the Working Group on Philanthropy for Social justice and Peace.