Globally connected, locally engaged

About the programme 

Active Citizens is a social leadership training programme that promotes intercultural dialogue and community-led social development.

The programme brings together people with different beliefs and perspectives to learn from and share with each other. It empowers participants with the skills and knowledge needed to affect social change in their communities.

“for every person who loves to change, for every person who loves his country, I confidently say [that] through [the] Active Citizens programme you will be empowered to create the change you want in your community”

 Ayman Touk, Zweitini Public Garden 2013 Social Action Project, Saida – Lebanon. 

Since the launch of Active Citizens in 2009, the programme has been delivered in 55 countries worldwide with 693 partner organisations. Through these partners, the programme has trained over 6000 facilitators and more than 200,000 Active Citizens who have designed and implemented 7854 social action projects.

 How does Active Citizens work? 

  • A key national issue is identified through a needs assessment. In Lebanon, for example, there has been a strong focus on peace building and community cohesion, in addition to women empowerment and citizenship education. 
  • Partnerships are formed with “delivery partners”. These include civil society organisations, 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 organisation and implementation of the local delivery.
  • Delivery partners 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. 

Learn more about the programme and be inspired by the achievements of other Active Citizens.

Active Citizens in Lebanon

The programme has been running since 2010 and has trained over 5000 participants in different areas of the country including Saida, Tyre, Nabatieh, Beqaa, Hermel, Akkar, Chouf, Tripoli and Beirut.

Over the years the delivery model has varied from working with civil society organisations 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:

Civil society organisations and municipalities

The programme has partnered with a diverse range of civil society organisations and municipalities across Lebanon. These have included Youth for Peace and Development for People and Nature Association (DPNA) as well as government bodies such as the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Public Works.

Through these organisations, they have been able to engage with:

  • Ten municipalities in ten regions
  • Two federations of municipalities
  • Parents Committees
  • World Vision NGO
  • Baytouna AlJadeed for Disabled People
  • UNIFIL
  • The CERD (local educational authority)
  • ADYAN NGO

Schools

After a successful pilot, the delivery of Active Citizens was officially launched in 21 private schools in 2016 and a further 9 public schools in 2017. The change in delivery model has been extremely successful as it has increased the sustainability of the programme and involved youth from outside of the normal NGO catchment zones. The training has empowered and motivated the students who now have the skills to affect change in their community:

“Now I realise how to obtain advocacy to solve the issue of a lack of public space for the orphans in my community”. 

The programme has had an equally transformational impact on the teachers. The facilitator training brought teachers together from different areas and religions. It enabled them to engage positively with ‘difference’ and dialogue across boundaries, which created new opportunities and relationships.

“We all face the same problems and we all have almost the same needs!”

 While similarly, the parents of students have been strongly engaged in the programme as they have supported and encouraged their children in the implementation of projects. It is clear that the schools model and the consequent projects have benefitted the wider community.  

Methodology

The Active Citizens methodology has been used to support the DAWRIC and Artivism projects:

DAWRIC

DAWRIC – ‘Direct Action for Women: Reform, Inclusion and Confidence’ – is an EU funded project that aims to build the capacity of women in Lebanon and provide support to actively involve them in public life, in order to combat poverty and ensure greater equality in both political life and decision-making processes.

The project delivered the Active Citizens training in 21 villages and towns to 200 participants who represented local NGOs, community based and grassroots organisations and municipalities. Following their training, the organisations submitted proposals for community-led initiatives which will be both led by and for the benefit of women. In addition to this, there will be gender sensitisation sessions which will reach a further 4500 women and men.   

Artivism:

The Artivism project provides invaluable opportunities to participants, from a range of backgrounds, to increase their social networks, develop their leadership skills, and acquire a deeper understanding of how art can be used to address social issues.

Following the Active Citizens learning journey, the participants have developed social action projects that are based on an art form including storytelling, film and drawing. The arts-based approach also created a safe space for potentially contentious issues to be explored and solutions put forward.

WANT TO GET INVOLVED?

Visit the Active Citizens website to learn more about the programme or email us at society1@lb.britishcouncil.org

See also

External links