Kuwait, April 2016: What is a better way to celebrate your journey than to reflect on ways to have a greater one? The en.v initiative (en.v), a Kuwait-based organization promoting social responsibility in the Middle East and its program partners hosted a “Lessons Learned” workshop from April 19-21 for the pilot youth program, n-mu ( “I grow”, in Arabic) . The program aimed to promote active citizenship through critical reflection, dialogue and action, equipping youth in Kuwait with the skills and resources needed to make a positive impact in their communities through a combination of training and funding. Developed through a collaboration between the Eurasia Foundation (EF) and en.v, the program was implemented in partnership with the International Exchange Research Board (IREX) and the U.S State Department. Since n-mu’s official launch in October 2015, seven young local civil society leaders delivered close to 100 hours of training to over 50 youth participants over the course of three training rounds. Following each round of training, participants were given small grants to implement community projects, putting their newly-acquired skills into action under the guidance of their trainers. A total of 11 community projects have been implemented as part of the program to date.
The three-day Lessons Learned conference was held at Sadu House and focused on collecting experiences and feedback from both the participants and the trainers to improve the implementation of future programs. Moreover, building on last year’s initial Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop, the mentors received additional tailored training from international consultants Deborah Bicknell and Omar Abel Samad. The local and international trainers also worked together to localize and enhance the curriculum of the program for the future.
On April 20th, participants from all three n-mu rounds were invited to showcase the achievements of their group community projects. Over 20 youth representatives from nine different community projects participated in the event. They also shared their feedback with partners and sponsors, as well as with fellow participants. During reflective focus groups, participants discussed the impact n-mu had had. “It reminded me that there is more to life,” said one. Another participant said, “I learned to respect other people’s views and how to unite people”. Both the participants’ presentations and their feedback demonstrated the vast potential of Kuwait’s youth in creating positive community impact.
en.v (a subsidiary of El Boutique Creative Group (www.elboutique.com) is an organization dedicated to promoting social responsibility and environmental sustainability in the Arab world. The organization’s activities include planning and implementing social development and environmental programs in the Middle East by creating strategic partnerships with local civil society organizations, governmental actors, and the private sector. Through collaborative efforts and online platforms, en.v raises awareness for pressing social issues as well as leading development initiatives in the MENA region.
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