Category Archives: NGO

Media Buffer Zone Project – Raising Capacities of Civil Society for the Production of Multimedia in Cyprus, the Middle East and South East Europe

photo (3)As a follow up to winning the audience award for best project idea at the Power of One Conference held in Nicosia, Cyprus in October 2012, the Media Buffer Zone Project team was invited to present and workshop their innovative project at the “POINT2013 – Political Accountability and New Technologies Conference” held in Sarajevo 23-26 May 2013.

Now you may be asking yourself what does this prestigious “unconference” featuring many fascinating speakers such as UZROK from Serbia, Milica Begović of UNDP-Montenegro, “The Facebook Girl of Egypt”, Esraa Abdel Fattah and the famed Amira Yahyaoui of Al Bawsala from Tunisia have to do with a group of committed activists from the MENA region, Cyprus and Central Europe who want to provide media skills trainings to NGOs and develop an Internet platform linking media talent to civil society have to do with this group of incredible entrepreneurs? Well, more than you’d think!

It seems our unique idea formulated during long days and coffee-fueled brainstorming sessions, but whose birth was really a product of the group’s years of passion and experience working for their respective communities, is something that many innovative people relate to and are inspired by. So, it was a natural fit in this turbo-charged and “change the world for the better” atmosphere.

The crowd response to our informative workshop session included people from Egypt, Libya and across Europe and was overwhelming positive. We all wish we could have started the trainings on the spot! However, we agreed to settle for stimulating idea creation, exchanging the needs of various communities in a more in-depth fashion and creating a space for a better understanding amongst the regions.

In-between the conference sessions members of the Media Buffer Zone Project team gathered in hotel lobbies, coffee shops and Labor Union halls (yes really, we met at the headquarters of the “Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, thanks labour leaders!) to discuss how best to implement the project to satisfy the needs of all.

The first order of business we thought of was to gauge the pulse of the people by conducting an in-depth needs analysis of what NGOs from our regions really need. So naturally we turned to our trusted partners from Palestine, Near East Consulting, who have years of experience in just this type of data mining. Next we thought to design the trainings from the actual research and turn that info into training materials civil society can use in their efforts to build their capacity in media skills.

Then we planned to use these tools to train “trainers” in media skills to multiply across the regions with media skills trainings in both Cyprus and Egypt to better equip our target audiences from the vast experience of both media partners CCMC and Qabila. From there we decided to develop a web-based platform which will link interested media professionals to active NGOS in the region to better serve the needs of the people these organizations serve. Whew! From an idea to being productive is an exciting and challenging proposition.

In order to make this all work we realized we need the vast networks of our partners Universal Patient’s Rights Organisation (Cyprus) and Zašto ne? (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to activate their networks to communicate, inform, and motivate the participants. Only in times of true inspiration due the stars align and such partnerships are formed!

So, here we go on our journey from a loose confederation of NGOS scattered throughout the Middle-East, Mediterranean and Central Europe to a tight-knit group of dedicated civil society leaders working for an innovative inter-regional knowledge exchange to strengthen the role of citizens and civil society in stimulating positive social change. Follow our adventures on twitter at @MediaBufferZone.

Opening a digital Window to the History of Cyprus

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This article was first published on page 16 of The Cyprus Weekly (8 February 2013).

Allow me to start with a few questions: What is the relationship between medieval Cyprus and media? How can centuries-old historical artefacts be brought to life by modern technology? Can a creative interpretation of cultural heritage help cultivate a vision of a common future in Cyprus? At a small gathering at the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) on Saturday 26 January, celebrating over two year’s work on, the Cyprus Artefacts Treasure (CAT) media education project , the answers were clear in our minds.

A little bit of background to start with. In October 2011, and under the auspices of the International Children’s Film Festival of Cyprus, or ICFFCY for short, the participants in CAT 1 got together in a group comprised of 20 Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot children from Paphos and Famagusta as well as 10 adults. What we wanted was to respond to the Brussels Declaration, adopted in January 2011 under the Belgian Presidency of the European Union, which called for, amongst others, the development and promotion of “pedagogies adapted to each audience, to all ages of life, to varying social and cultural backgrounds”. And what better way to learn about the creative use of media than through the lens of history and culture!

There is often criticism of so-called ‘bicommunal’ projects for not affecting significant changes, but we beg to differ. Because we knew what we wanted to do! Our bicommunal group of eager young Cypriots and enthusiastic educators met regularly over a period of 6 months during the CAT 1 and worked on 5 animation films which illustrated each in its own unique way, a little bit of Cypriot artefacts from the Ayia Irini collection. All of a sudden through the eyes of the children emerged a blend of creativity and history that brought to life a world long forgotten, consigned for the most part to history textbooks, encyclopaedias, and dusty museum displays. In that time we also published two educational booklets about Cypriot artefacts prepared jointly by ICFFCY and the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR).

The excitement got the better of us! In May 2012 we launched the CAT 2 with the aim of building on the success of CAT 1, and to strengthen the bonds between our two partners, the Famagusta Cultural Association and Paphos Antamosis organisation. We realised that culture and media really could be used as a vehicle for promoting a shared understanding of both past and present, for promoting trust and dialogue, and for nurturing reconciliation. This time we were focusing on medieval Cypriot artefacts.

We traversed the island visiting medieval archaeological, from St Hilarion all the way to Paphos Castle. The work was not always easy of course – there is the issue of language that we had work with, and the very obvious impact of the division of the island. But where there is a will, there is a way. And our group leaders and volunteers worked tirelessly, with a smile on their face and with tremendous energy to keep the momentum of CAT going. In the process we managed to involve not only the children but also their parents, with people experiencing the ‘other’s’ reality, which was an equally rewarding experience.

Whether there will be a CAT 3 remains to be seen. But if there are parents and teachers out there who would like to become involved with our work, or would just like to find out more information about CAT, please visit our website http://www.icffcy-cat.com.

The CAT was supported by the Bicommunal Support Programme of the US Embassy in Cyprus and organised by ICFFCY in collaboration with Mağusa Kültür Derneği in Famagusta and Antamosis in Paphos.

Lands of No Return lecture with Prof Roger Zetter (30 January)

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The NGO Support Centre (@ngo_centre) are working with the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (@AHDRCY) on an open lecture entitled ‘Lands of No Return: population exchange and forced displacement in the 20th century’ next Wednesday 30 January, at 18:00, at the Home for Cooperation, in Nicosia.

The lecture will be given by Prof Roger Zetter, Emeritus Professor in Refugee Studies, University of Oxford, and will be followed by the screening of the ‘Twice a Stranger’ documentary.

Call the youth of Cyprus! Define your own Future!

image001Call the youth of Cyprus!

Do you think that quality youth work can contribute to growth, prosperity and social inclusion of all young people?

If you are young and want to express your opinion join the public consultation, organised by the Cyprus Youth Council (@CyprusYouthCoun) to be held on Wednesday January 23 at 6pm at the Home for Cooperation.

The consultation will be carried out in preparation for the European Union Youth Conference of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU, and will be in English.

To complete the electronic questionnaire click here.

For more info you can contact Nikolas Christofi on +357-22-878316, or by email at info@cyc.org.cy.

Development in Theory, Development in Practice

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We told you they were busy!

Development seems to be all the buzz at the moment! The NGO Support Centre, in organising an open discussion on «Development in theory, Development in practice» to be held on Monday, 21 January, 18:00, at the European University of Cyprus, Room 203.

During the event two books will be presented, written within the framework of the «Knowledge Makes Change!» project.

The first book, «Development theory and Development in Practice: A Dialogue», was written by Dr. Alexander Apostolides and Mr. Stefano Moncada, and looks at the synergies emerging between, on the one hand, theoretical analysis, and the practical aspects of development on the other.

The second book is entitled «Working Together to Reach Our Goals», and was written by Mr. Marios Antoniou. The book aims at providing a basic understanding on the concept of international development, introducing the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and presenting the progress that has been made in achieving them.

Keep an eye out for more exciting development events and much, much more coming up next week!

Envisioning Education in Cyprus in the 21st Century

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CCMC member the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), working in collaboration with the Cyprus Academic Dialogue (CAD), are organising a policy dialogue discussion on ‘Education in Cyprus in the 21st Century’ on Thursday January 24, from 18.30 – 20.30 at the Home for Cooperation.

The discussion will focus on the following issues:

·         The role of Education in Cyprus, within the current socio- political situation and its possible contribution to the efforts towards a settlement of the political problem, and

·         How education could contribute to the sustainability of a future settlement?

The discussion will be held in Greek, Turkish and English and translation will be provided.

Th event will be the first installment of an exciting initiative involving key stakeholders from the main communities in Cyprus working collectively on a public consultation driven procedure, which will lead to the production of policy recommendations on education in Cyprus. The policy paper will be formulated using all key points raised in this series of events in order to articulate a collective vision on the future of Education in Cyprus in the 21st Century. Moreover, the policy paper will include recommendations on educational policies in the two main communities in Cyprus, both within the current political (pro-settlement) environment, as well as within a post-settlement political environment (irrespective of the content and the form of this political settlement).

The initiative is based on the AHDR’s comprehensive research project, exploring history teachers’ views of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot history curricula and textbooks used across the existing divide in Cyprus, as well as history teachers’ use of methods that promote, historical thinking in their teaching.  You can download “History Educators in the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot Community in Cyprus: Perceptions, Beliefs and Practices” from the AHDR website.

For more information, please contact AHDR by e-mail ahdr.mide@gmail.com, or on the phone at +357-22-445740 or +90-548-8345740.

Open Discussion: Feminism and Development

feminism_invitationAs part of a series of events dedicated to development, CCMC member the NGO Support Centre (Twitter ngo_centre) is organising an open discussion on the topic of Feminism and Development. The event will take place on Friday 18 January at 11am at the Greek Cypriot Union of Journalists in Nicosia.

All events are organised within the framework of the «Knowledge Makes Change!» project, which aims to raise public awareness in relation to international development and development aid.

The discussion is supported by another CCMC member organisation, the Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies (MIGS) – Twitter @MigsCy.

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