Engaging Democratic Activists for MENA Advancement
Partner's EDAMA initiative supported and networked democratic activists in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.
Partner's regional initiative, "Engaging Democratic Activists for MENA Advancement" supported networking and shared learning among democratic activists from 12 countries in the Middle East and North Africa for 18-months between 2012 and 2013. The leaders of the democracy movements in these countries, including NGOs, youth movement leaders, the private sector, the media, new political parties, and bloggers, had 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 Partner’s experience, we knew these MENA leaders would 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 shared 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 actively planned how to sustain the network and the platform after the end of the project.
Addressing common challenges
Within the 12 EDAMA countries, small groups were facing similar challenges. For example, activists in Libya needed 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 were dealing with similar issues. In early 2013, the EDAMA team organized 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 have created a strong network of regional democracy-builders who can inspire and support each other for many years to come.
EDAMA was implemented 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.