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Engaging Democratic Activists for MENA Advancement

PDC's EDAMA initiative is supporting and networking democratic activists in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

Engaging Democratic Activists for MENA Advancement

EDAMA participants at the launching conference.

PDC's regional initiative, "Engaging Democratic Activists for MENA Advancement" is supporting networking and shared learning among democratic activists from 12 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The leaders of the democracy movements in these countries, including NGOs, youth movement leaders, the private sector, the media, new political parties, and bloggers, have challenges to address far beyond democratic elections and changes of government. Their civil society counterparts in Europe, Latin America, and the broader Global South have experienced these challenges first-hand, and have learned many lessons about advocacy and change management in the transition to democracy. Based on PDC’s experience, we know that these MENA leaders will be better able to create the democratic countries they envision if they have access to the support, experiences, and resources of their peers. 

Launch Conference: Regional Forum for Arab Democracy 2012

The first EDAMA learning exchange, held in in September 2012 in Amman, Jordan, brought together democratic activists from the 12 EDAMA countries with activists from 18 different countries that have experienced the transition from authoritarian government to democracy, including Serbia, Slovakia, Georgia and others. The Forum fostered regional connections and relationships and offered training in community mobilization, cooperative advocacy, coalition building, and facilitation. 

EDAMA ICT Platform

EDAMA participants are now sharing their transition experiences and lessons using the EDAMA Facebook page and the secure virtual platform created expressly for this purpose, www.edamaplatform.net. The participant group is actively planning how to sustain the network and the platform after the end of the project. 

Addressing common challenges 

Within the 12 EDAMA countries, there are small groups that are facing similar challenges. For example, activists in Libya informed PDC that they need skills and strategies for interacting with the General Assembly in order to have a voice in drafting the new constitution. Activists in Tunisia and Egypt are dealing with similar issues. In early 2013, the EDAMA team will organize smaller sub-regional meetings for activists to support each other in addressing shared challenges. 

With EDAMA's combination of in-person conferences, online collaboration tools and relevant lessons from all over the world, democratic activists in the Middle East and North Africa will create a strong network of regional democracy-builders who can inspire and support each other for many years to come.

EDAMA is implemented by PDC in cooperation with Partners-Jordan, the Centre for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), and the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR).

EDAMA means 'sustainability' in Arabic. 

 

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