Active Citizens in the UK
Active Citizens workshop in the UK ©

British Council Mat Wright

Who are Active Citizens?

"Active Citizens are change makers. They don’t wait around for change to happen; they drive the change themselves".

Active Citizens are people who feel inspired, motivated, and empowered to make a difference, and who have the drive and the know-how to turn the ideas into concrete actions. 

About the programme 

Through our Active Citizens social leadership training programme, thousands of people became more aware of the many problems and/or concerns their communities are having and for that reason, people who get trained on Active Citizens get out of the programme motivated, persistent and determined to take action on some of the biggest social challenges of the 21st century.

How does Active Citizens programme work?

  1. Active Citizens programme equips people with the skills to mobilize their communities to take action on issues that matter. 
  2. These skills are gained through a reflective ‘learning journey’ which consists of four core modules with a clear set of learning outcomes. 
  3. This learning journey is built around a model we like to call ‘the river’ which develops the participants’:
  • understanding of themselves as an active citizen, improving their self-awareness and confidence, and valuing different perspectives (Me)
  • addresses their ability to engage appreciatively with people different to them and learn how to use dialogue as a tool for empathy, trust and understanding (Me and You)
  • develop a social vision through understanding the others, improving understanding of communities and identifying interventions to address issues at a local and global level (We and others)
  • and to be agents of change through planning a community project and delivering social action using improved social responsibility and leadership skills based on democratic values (Social action).

Active Citizens’ river is designed to be inclusive. It can therefore be adapted to suit the needs of different audiences and communities. We use it to help participants explore ideas around themes such as social enterprise, youth, gender and disability.

How does Active Citizens work in Lebanon?

Active Citizens in Lebanon as well as in any other country works by:

  • Forming partnerships with ‘delivery partners’. These include civil society organizations, universities and schools who have a strong influence on cultural relations at community level and whose staff are powerful advocates for social justice. The delivery partners are responsible for the organization and implementation of the local delivery.
  • The delivery partner(s) identify facilitators who are then trained by master trainers to develop the skills they need to deliver the Active Citizens training in their communities.
  • The facilitators deliver workshops which give participants the tools they need to implement a social action project and tackle a social issue in their community.

Active Citizens in Lebanon

Active Citizens programme has been running in Lebanon since 2010 and has trained over 5000 participants through civil society organizations in different areas of the country including:

  • South Lebanon (Saida, Tyre, Nabatieh)
  • Beqaa, Hermel 
  • North Lebanon (Tripoli, Akkar)
  • Beirut and Mount Lebanon (Aley, Chouf)

Over the years, the delivery model has varied from working with civil society organisationsorganizations to the integration of the programme into schools, while the Active Citizens methodology has also been used to support and deliver other British Council projects.

Active Citizens in Education



Active Citizens programme has now been adapted to operate in school settings in Lebanon where its methodology has been found working successfully with the secondary public-school teachers and students (grade 10 to 12).


In addition to that, this programme is developing the necessary skills and knowledge of the students to implement the Community Service programme developed by the Centre for Educational Research and Development (CERD). It begins with the same methodology; the reflective ‘learning journey’ through which the students build self-awareness and confidence and by the end of the programme, they will be able to find flexible ways to plan social action projects.

Higher Education

Similarly, the Higher Education is also interested in the methodology of Active Citizens’ river where the latter has been found to work successfully with the undergraduate students.

This is how a new partnership has been born between the British Council team in Lebanon and the Lebanese University, the only state (public) university in Lebanon, specifically the Faculty of Education 1 and 2, led by the Dean of the faculty, Dr Therese El Hachem; the only state (public) university in Lebanon, where they noticed the impact and the importance of integrating Active Citizens’ methodology in their curriculum and develop/upgrade it accordingly so that their master students take their ‘Ccitizenship Eeducation’ course before they graduate. This plan has been initiated since July 2019 and the curriculum development work will be in progress until 2021-2022 academic year.

In addition to that, a citizenship club will be founded inside the faculty whereby the students of the faculty will also be trained on the Active Citizens’ methodology cascaded by their professors we call them the working committee of Active Citizens curriculum development project. At the end of the reflective learning journey, students will be placed into teams where they then conceive and plan a ‘Social Action Project’ (SAP) with clear and achievable student-conceived and led goals, designed to improve the lives of those in their communities. This citizenship club will not only provide continuity and sustainability of Active Citizens inside the faculty but it will also open bridges with other faculties of Lebanese University as well as other (private) universities.

Center for Educational Research and Development (CERD)

The Active Citizens’ learning journey has value and application throughout a child’s development because its cycle of learning is logical and intuitive. It returns new levels of impact and reinforcement as the child’s social, emotional and intellectual development progresses and integrates.

In schools, Citizenship (or Civics) is not simply another subject but can add value to all other aspects of school learning. Therefore, we noticed that the Active Citizens model of active learning should be embedded into the 4 cycles of education such that their learning is age and stage appropriate.

This is how a new partnership has been born where the British Council team is writing collegiately with the Head of Civics and National Education Department in CERD, Mrs Blanche Abi Assaf, led by the President of the Centre, Dr. Nada Oueijan, to devise curriculum using the modules of the Active Citizens’ learning journey into the progression pathway for children for cycle 1 (grade 1 to 3), cycle 2 (grade 4 to 6), cycle 3 (grade 7 to 9) and cycle 4 (grade 10 to 12) students:

  • Cycle 1 to 3 would incorporate the logic of the learning journey going from ‘Me’ to ‘Me and You’ to ‘We together’ with a different level of understanding.
  • As for cycle 4, it is being developed by the British Council team in Lebanon which is currently being tested in schools.



Visit the Active Citizens website to learn more about the programme or email us at

External links