Updated Jun 20, 2018

#MeWeSyria

Part of #MeWe International Inc.

#MeWeSyria is a refugee-led platform leveraging the process of storytelling as a vehicle for healing, community building, and changemaking.

hthttps://www.youthventure.org/en/program/storytelling-changemakers

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Snapshot

Stage 4: Transition to Scale

We have launched successful youth storytelling hubs in South Africa, Jordan and Turkey, with new expansion planned this year for Lebanon and the USA. Since 2012, the program has been utilized by youth, schools, educators, social entrepreneurs, and community-building organizations in Gaziantep + Istanbul (Turkey), Zaatari Refugee Camp + Zarqa (Jordan), Johannesburg + Cape Town (South Africa), the European Union, and this year it will expand to schools and youth organizations in Lebanon and the United States. Syrian youth--working in teams, have written and produced more than 10 short films with key social messages and ideas for solutions. Our storytelling program has been featured on multiple media outlets, most recently promoting Syrian youth ideas, narratives, and messages on global networks and international channels such as Al Jazeera America, UNHCR Innovation, SocialGood, Germany UN, and ARD German TV.

Focus Areas:

Communications and Media

Communications and MediaSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Lebanon and Turkey

Lebanon and TurkeySEE LESS

2
Countries Implemented In
Verified Funding
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Problem

Forced displacement strips youth of safety and agency, which often translates to a loss of control of how the mind and body respond to the world around them. Refugees’ education journey is limited because traditional programs aren’t refugee-led, they lack opportunities to exercise social and emotional development, structures of psychosocial support, and interpersonal communications. #MeWeSyria addresses these losses by restoring agency and community-healing through storytelling.

Target Beneficiaries

MWS targets female and male refugee youth (ages 10-20) in rural and urban areas with limited access to education or psychosocial support. To date, more than 500 youth, parents, and caretakers have completed the MWS program in eight cities across three countries. Over the next 18 months, MWS aims to reach 2,000-3,000 additional participants (including 60% female beneficiaries). Girls in conflict zones face specific vulnerabilities to violence and restrictions on self-expression. MWS works to re-establish an environment where girls are empowered by unlocking their voices, creativity, and agency alongside trained and trauma-sensitive female “replicators”. Additionally, MWS will assess impacts on learning, wellbeing, and stress through the use of psychometrics that have been developed with academic partners and mental health practitioners. This measurement survey is taken before and after implementation. Data so far shows consistent and meaningful growth in all four of these categories.

Mission and Vision

By 2021, we aim to have the MeWe platform (both online and offline) engaging marginalized youth communities across Africa, Central, South, and North America, and MENA regions with wholesale partners so our young changemakers inform policy and become active participants in the "Everyone a Changemaker" world. How can our core MWS replicators, who are refugees themselves, continue to launch, activate, and engage young changemakers even when they resettle or are forced to migrate?

Innovation Description

#MeWeSyria (MWS) is an education platform that leverages storytelling, self-awareness, and entrepreneurship to build safety and agency for refugee youth. The MWS program, through a training of trainers system, creates a growing network of “replicators” in partner communities trained in therapeutic and pedagogic knowledge that syncs narrative therapy, somatic experiencing, and communications literacy. The MWS program is then localized and delivered by replicators to young refugees in spaces like refugee camps, community centers, and mosques. The “replicators” are Syrian refugees themselves--selected with our local partners-- ensuring sustainable upkeep of the program due to their intimate relationship with MeWe methodology. Skills learned and bonds built through MWS are then leveraged to design community changemaking projects, restoring individuals™ sense of control and opportunity for refugee youth. Replicators mobilize the community to participate in the program and activate youth-led storytelling for changemaker hubs where youth literally and figuratively author their futures, while enhancing social and emotional learning, wellbeing, and inter-personal communication.

Competitive Advantage

First, MWS infuses the knowledge of neuroscience and trauma psychology into a curriculum that links mental health support and emotional development, with storytelling and communications skills. Second, MWS is a refugee-led program embedded within pre-existing youth organizations, ensuring maximum outreach for refugee youth. Third, the curriculum’s pedagogic and therapeutic core (mind-brain education, mindfulness, and storytelling) can be integrated into existing activities taught by other youth professionals. Fourth, MWS works alongside the Ashoka Changemaker framework, an established network of social entrepreneurship and community activism. Lastly, embedded in MWS are tools for evaluation where stories are seen as data points that can inform policy and practice. Our separate psychometric tool allows practitioners to assess behaviors and attitudes, (empathy, stress control, collaboration, leadership capacities) pre and post intervention.

Milestones

Mar 2018
Mar 2018
Mar 2017
RecognitionPENDING
Selected
Date Unknown
Launched
Date Unknown
New Country
Turkey
Date Unknown
New Country
Lebanon