Both COVID-19 and fascism destroy by de-storying, and are successful in this effort because they weaponize the most powerful tool we have as a human species: words, language, communication.
You see, the sounds you release happen at the tail end of a process where your mind, body, and voice sync together to emit an energy cocooned in a word, and liberated through language and expression. Your words do things. How you communicate — -verbally and non verbally — transforms the energy of ‘me’, of ‘we’.
As we emerge from the trenches of 2020 to enter into the unknown of 2021, we must bear witness that it is not just a virus that is killing so many of us, in the same way it is not just one political figure who spawns insurrection and fascism. No. The genesis, the omnipresent culprit here is language and words.
Inequality lives in language. From a human rights lens, words are what fueled an insurrection that almost destroyed and de-storied the United States and the votes of more than 70 million people. Communication — or the lack of representation within it — is being used to destroy and de-story the inalienable rights and protections of black and African American communities in the United States; and minority groups worldwide from Syria to Kashmir to Myanmar.
From a health lens, COVID-19 continues to de-story our communities by robbing our species of physical ways to communicate, listen, and heal. Healing needs the very things COVID weakens: socialization, communication, community. Some used words to falsely equate mask-wearing with giving up one’s rights. This cost lives, more than 2 million of them. COVID, in another parallel to fascism, is hellbent on killing black, brown, and indigenous communities at a rate 2 to 3 times higher compared to other communities, according to the Center for Disease Control.
#MeWeIntl remain focused and privileged to foster spaces where all people may exercise communication as both a human right and a component of health.
Throughout 2020 and the beginning 2021, lockdowns from COVID-19 in the Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps in Jordan persisted, and Syrian refugees in Turkey and Lebanon lived with relentless and increasing socio-economic instability from COVID. In Honduras, our #MeWeHonduras have been grappling with back to back hurricanes and flooding, and increased poverty from the COVID19 lockdowns.
Despite these threats and disruptions, our local implementing partners (Questscope, Mercy Corps, DARB, WSA, Zenobia, Oye, Honduras Social, Tejiendo un Sueno) have managed to innovate with us to ensure our community programs and trainings continued uninterrupted through virtual interventions using WhatsApp and Zoom. In some cases we are funding the mobile phone stipends to ensure those with financial or technical barriers to programming can have a chance. We have also been funding 1:1 psychological support and newly designed self-care trainings to our community facilitators.
What we are witnessing from our #MeWeIntl networks is nothing short of extraordinary, and we are determined to keep pushing forward.
#MeWe International Inc. | August 2019 — September 2020 Updates
We remain humbled and grateful to get to do the work we do in times like these, where the fabric of humanity — how we communicate and why — is being weaponized, threatened, and redefined.
After February 2020, everything as we knew it changed forever, for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted our organization; how we typically perform; and how we plan. Most importantly, the pandemic exacerbates inequality and the safety of the communities we serve from the Middle East to the Americas.
Our North Star remains the brothers and sisters we serve and co-create. Why? Be it the refugee mother from Syria, or the youth activist in Honduras, all of them have been navigating threats to health, lack of mobility, threats to life, and trauma before COVID-19. These communities possess leadership, perspectives, and creative capital that can inform and empower the billions of people across the world struggling to deal with the disruptions and fear the pandemic has unleashed in our world today.
As an organization, #MeWeIntl made an intention to move slowly through our world of uncertainty, and not react out of fear. Since April 2020, we have restructured our budget to keep us moving through March 2021. Programmatically, we have pivoted from our in-person community engagements, to virtual and mobile phone program delivery across all locations globally. Logistically, we have even been buying phone cards and mobile services for some of our community facilitators and participants so that technology and poverty do not persist as barriers to engagement. We also went through a process of reevaluating our community partnerships by identifying strengths, and correcting weaknesses where possible, in close collaboration with our community allies. We are accelerating moving programs like #MeWeSyria to open-sourced models, and are transitioning out of some local sub-grant and implementation partnerships which have run their course in Turkey and Lebanon. In many ways, the pandemic and global disruptions forced us, #MeWeIntl, to be still and thoughtful, while at the same time challenging us to accelerate our original plans of program innovation and transitions to community ownership of #MeWeIntl tools and programming.
We’ve had tough choices to make. Still do in fact. At times we had to ask ourselves whether we keep fighting, or do we stop all together? Despite the uncertainty and global shutdowns, #MeWeIntl and its community partners have successfully completed subgrants and community interventions with more than 10 local partners and #MeWeIntl implementers across Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Germany, Mexico, Honduras and the United States, from February -September 2020. Grants to #MeWeIntl successfully closed with Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of State, Community Arts Labs, and Mercy Corps Jordan between March and August. For these trainings and community actions, more than 50 community trainers activated by #MeWeIntl transferred #MeWeSyria, #MeWeMexico, and #MeWeHonduras and other programs to more than 1400 youth and caregivers from vulnerable communities.
As we head into September with no end to the pandemic in sight, we are ready to launch new phases of #MeWeSyria in Turkey and Jordan, and #MeWeMexico and #MeWeHonduras in Mexico and Honduras. We are also initiating a new program, #MeWeDC, with detained and incarcerated youth in Washington D.C.
Some critical questions remain: How can we measure the impacts and effectiveness of our virtual program delivery? What happens if the pandemic passes and in-person programming can resume? What risks exist and should be mitigated if virtual and digital interventions carry on for another year? How do we maintain local community support to partners in a sustainable way — especially in financially disruptive times under Covid-19?
Lastly, we realized that in times like these, it is necessary to give actions and opportunities for leadership and creative expression to our communities. In the coming months we will publish a series of books, release a short animated film, and post physical billboards in the community — -all featuring the creative capital and perspectives of the underrepresented and vulnerable communities we serve.
In the words of our partner Quiet, “We believe in cultural currency — which increases by giving, and cannot be owned…’.
We stand in solidarity with all our #MeWeIntl family from Jordan to Honduras. I’d like to thank local partners in this family for their trust and continued collaboration: Questscope (Jordan and Germany), DARB (Turkey), Mobaderoon (Lebanon), Women’s Support Association (Turkey), Mercy Corps Jordan, OYE (Honduras), Honduras Social, Tejiendo un Sueño (Mexico), Human Rights Initiative (Texas), DYRS (Washington D.C.), Aga Khan Museum, QUIET, and Community Arts Labs.
Below are some updates for the mountains that have been moved recently.
Mohsin Mohi Ud Din, Founder of #MeWeIntl
Community Programs and Impacts, August 2019-September 2020
#MeWeSyria in Germany
● July/August 2019: #MeWeIntl funded and led a series of #MeWeSyria sessions for more than 10 Syrian refugees. The sessions also included training of trainers work which activated 4 Syrian community trainees to lead their own #MeWeSyria hubs in Berlin between the end of 2019-September 2020.
● #MeWeSyria sessions in Germany were severely disrupted during COVID-19 lockdowns. Instead of abandoning the program however, #MeWeIntl, and its local partner Questscope, piloted virtual engagements. This was somewhat successful, and now #MeWeSyria sessions can be attended by refugees from outside Germany, across Europe. One session invited Syrians from the Netherlands.
● To date, 3 #MeWeSyria hubs — 2 in person and 1 virtual — have been completed and led by 4 local refugee trainees reaching more than 32 Syrian refugees. None of this would have been possible without local volunteers and facilitators Zena and Zozan. #MeWeIntl is currently reassessing programmatic and financial sustainability of the program in Germany.
#MeWeSyria in Jordan
Za’atari refugee camp
● #MeWeIntl designed and led more than 4 trainings of trainers for over 12 Syrian community trainers in Zaatari refugee camp, through our partnership with Questscope. #MeWeIntl’s subgrants to Questscope in Zaatari are funded by the Ford Foundation. 2019–2020 trainings for Syrian refugee trainees focused on self care, facilitation skills, communications as a tool for healing, and video production and interviewing.
● From July 2019 through August 2020–Syrian community trainers outreached and successfully facilitated the #MeWeSyria programs to more than 510 refugee youth in Zaatari refugee camp.
● In early 2020, #MeWeIntl ally, psychologist Alexandra Chen, led a 1.5 day workshop for a group of 10+ Syrian #MeWeSyria facilitators targeting self care and facilitation skills.
● In November 2019, #MeWeIntl brought to Zaatari refugee camp artists and filmmakers Rafe Scoobey-Thal and Wyatt Winborne who led production workshops for Syrian facilitators in the camp. The artists also filmed and produced two short films documenting #MeWeIntl’s work, and built an archive of professionally shot photos of workshops in Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps.
● COVID-19 forced a lockdown in the refugee camp, and a suspension of all program activities. However, #MeWeIntl — in collaboration with Questscope — adapted the program to be led virtually through WhatsApp. Thanks to our brave community trainers already living in the refugee camp, more than 120 participants were reached from June-August 2020.
● A new #MeWeSyria phase is currently being designed with Questscope in Zaatari refugee camp, with an anticipated start date for mid September 2020-March 2021.
Azraq refugee camp April 2019-March 2020
● #MeWeIntl, through a partnership with Mercy Corps Jordan, designed and led more than 3 trainings of trainers to 4 Syrian refugee trainees in Village 5 of Azraq refugee camp.
● The Syrian trainees outreached and bravely led the program to more than 100 refugee youth in the camp from July 2019-January 2020.
● Trainees and alumni organized the first #MeWeSyria community event inside Azraq refugee camp. Over 500 people participated in the event at the end of February, 2020.
● The 1 year pilot was funded by the Trip Advisor Foundation through Mercy Corps Jordan.
● Due to positive feedback and demand from refugees to continue #MeWeSyria in Azraq, Mercy Corps Jordan have invited #MeWeIntl to initiate another 4 month phase from September 2020 -December 2020
#MeWeSyria in Turkey and Lebanon, February 2019-May 2020
● #MeWeIntl provided subgrants to local community orgs DARB in Turkey and Mobaderoon in Lebanon to scale trainings and expand the reach of #MeWeSyria programs across 8 cities in both countries.
● #MeWeIntl designed, led, and funded more than 6 training of trainers sessions to groups of Syrian refugee Master Facilitators of the #MeWeSyria program. The local #MeWeSyria leaders then trained more than 20 refugee community facilitators across both countries. Trainings included sessions on neuro-education, self-care, and facilitation skills led by #MeWeIntl allies and experts in community programming and facilitation Maureen Jane MacPhail and psychologist Alexandra Chen.
● The passionate and dedicated Syrian facilitation teams across Turkey and Lebanon led the #MeWeSyria programs more than 670 refugee youth and caregivers. More than 70% of participants were girls and women.
● #MeWeIntl also funded and provided 1:1 and group psychological support to Syrian community trainers in both Turkey and Lebanon through partner and ally Alexandra Chen.
● Through local partner DARB, #MeWeIntl designed and funded the production of an open-sourced digital capacity-building tool for refugee community facilitators.
● COVID-19 and regional instability (Pre-pandemic) in Turkey and Lebanon disrupted community programs as national shutdowns took hold from November 2019-May 2020. Despite the instability and challenges, #MeWeSyria trainees from DARB Turkey and Mobaderoon Lebanon successfully led our programs, enhancing the communications skills and wellbeing of more than 600 refugees.
● As of August 2020, #MeWeIntl opened a new partnership with the Women’s Support Association shelter in Kilis, Turkey. #MeWeSyria trainees at the womens shelter are currently leading pilot virtual #MeWeSyria sessions with women and girls over video meetings and mobile phones.
#MeWeHonduras, August 2019-August 2020
● In August 2019, #MeWeIntl led small scale #MeWeHonduras sessions in San Pedro Sula and Progreso, and led a series of community needs assessments with local partners OYE and CASM to learn the impacts of cartel violence, corruption, and migration on youth and caregivers. Knowledge from the sessions supported the program designs for the next phase of the program. Session and field visits were organized by #MeWeHonduras ambassadors from 2018, Absalon, Meg, and Duniya, and ally QUIET brought guests Ezra Miller (actor and artists), and Brittany Packnett Cunigham (activist).
● In December 2019, #MeWeIntl launched 2 new partnerships with local community orgs OYE Honduras in Progreso, and Honduras Social in San Pedro Sula. From February-September 2020, #MeWeIntl has been providing subgrants to both organizations in order to support trainings, community interventions, and community support for the newly re-launched #MeWeHonduras program.
● In February 2020, #MeWeIntl trained 10 new Trainers in a 3 -day training of trainers session. After the training, national shutdowns took place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
● #MeWeIntl worked carefully to adapt the program to be delivered over WHATSAPP and ZOOM. The 10 facilitators of #MeWeHonduras virtually lead 1 hub per team, reaching 50+ participants peer to peer from June-August 2020.
● Facilitators and participants completed “ COVID-19 live writing exercise for book” producing about 20 stories for the upcoming #MeWeIntl book.
#MeWeMexico, August 2019-August 2020
● In August 2019, #MeWeIntl led small scale #MeWeMexico sessions across Tlaxcala and Mexico City to more than 100 community members. #MeWeIntl led a community needs assessment with local partners to plan for the next phase of the program. Thanks to local #MeWeMexico Ambassadors Coral and Ale — #MeWeMexico alum from 2018– #MeWeIntl engaged with migrant shelters and local city mayors.
● In December 2019, #MeWeIntl launched a new partnership with local community organization, Tejiendo un Sueño in Teotihuacan, Mexico. #MeWeIntl has been providing subgrants to the organization in order to support trainings, community interventions, and community support for the newly re-launched #MeWeMexico program.
● In February 2020, #MeWeIntl trained 10 new community trainers in a 3 -day training of trainers session. After the training, national shutdowns took place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
● 10 community trainers in Mexico were activated, and they successfully led 5 new virtual #MeWeMexico hubs, reaching 50+ new participants in their communities.
● Facilitators and participants completed “ “ COVID-19 live writing exercise for book” producing about 25 stories for the book.
#MeWeTexas, March 2020-July 2020
● 1 new #MeWeTexas pilot launched with new partner the Human Rights Initiative.
● #MeWeIntl designed the program to support the communications skills and MHPSS knowledge of families and young people seeking asylum or navigating the impacts of migration.
● Due to COVID-19, the March 2020 in person training for 20+ community members was cancelled for participants in order to protect the vulnerable. However, #MeWeIntl adapted the training and program to be virtual over Zoom.
● 3 youth completed program online + demonstrated enthusiasm and communications skills development.
● Community facilitators from our #MeWeHonduras hubs led cross- cultural sessions over Zoom.
#MeWeDC, September 2019-September 2020
● From September 2019-August 2020, #MeWeIntl met with officials and community leaders from the District of Youth and Rehabilitation Services to explore piloting #MeWeDC for incarcerated youth in Washington D.C.
● In August 2020, #MeWeIntl and DYRS have agreed to initiate #MeWeDC sessions from September 2020-March 2021. The program will engage 26 ‘Title 16’ youth, between 16–21 years old, who are awaiting sentencing.
#MeWeIntl x Aga Khan Museum, July 2020
● In July 2020, #MeWeIntl designed a 1 day training of trainers session for educators and staff at the Aga Khan Museum. The trainees led a six-week children’s camp focused on a current exhibit, “ What is Sanctuary?”, using the #MeWeIntl methodology.
In 2018, Open IDEO, MIKTA, and DFAT Innovation XChange named #MeWeSyria a winner of its Education in Emergencies Challenge (#EiEChallenge).
In this summary video, #MeWe International Inc. share what was achieved with its program, #MeWeSyria, during the 6-10 month journey to make tangible change for communities in need. During the #EiEChallenge, #MeWeIntl successfully piloted enhanced training approaches with the #MeWeSyria refugee networks in Turkey and Lebanon, and we supported our local trainers to reach more than 300 refugee youth and mothers across 8 cities in the two countries.
Please watch and share!
#MeWe International Inc. is a storytelling and communications skills-building methodology and training targetting psychological wellbeing, leadership opportunities, and goal-setting. Follow updates with hashtags #MeWeIntl, #MeWeSyria
In the fall of 2018, #MeWeSyria were invited by our partner Questscope and the British Council to lead a 5 day combination and trauma-helaing session for a group of 15 Syrian leaders and refugees in Berlin. During the week, Syrian leaders, for the 1st time, engaged in #MeWe exercises on breathing, goal-setting, trauma-healing, communications, perspective taking, and leadership development. #MeWe led the sessions with experts Michael Niconchuk from Beyond Conflict, and Justine Hardy, for Healing Kashmir.
At the end of the intensive training, #MeWeSyria co-led a storytelling event with the Syrian participants. The event was meant for Germans in the community to engage with refugees through communications and the arts. This was the first time Syrian participants at the Migration Hub space led and organized such a public event. For many of the participants, the week’s #MeWeSyria trainings enabled Syrian participants to open up and communicate their stories, challenge,s goals, and emotions for the 1st time.
Check out this article and photos from Pass the Crayon, who participated in the event…
In collaboration with trauma-healing expert Michelle Girard of Third Paradigm, and Mosul Organization for Development, #MeWeIntl led two 5-day #MeWe trainings for more than 40 Iraqi leaders and survivors from Mosul in September and November 2018.
The trainings–which focused on trauma-healing through storytelling and communications– were highly successful, and participants have reported reduced aggression and fear, as well as enhanced goal-setting and communication capacities.
Much to unpack and share. Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, check out this video of #MeWeIntl trainings in Iraq made by local partner Rooh Mosulia:
Check out this article form the Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau featuring the recent country pilots #MeWeIntl led with local embassies and youth leaders from Tajikistan, Ecuador, Moldova, Mexico, and Honduras. Read the full article HERE...
“Who is ready to step into their story and unleash their voice?”
What seems like an awkward silence is actually the noise of battle taking place internally among young leaders wrestling with their limitations, fears, and self-doubt.
#MeWe International, in partnership with Ashoka, the U.S. State Department, and U.S. Embassies across five countries are using storytelling to break arrested narratives among youth communities.
Why? So that youth potential is no longer anonymous under the veil of silence and fear.
After a few seconds of silence, a young leader walks up to the front of the room. She is nervous, and taking deep breaths. Then, something miraculous happens: she begins to connect her mind and heart with her breath in order to unleash ideas, feelings, and thoughts. This is her first time speaking in public, and opening up about gender based violence. Once one person does this, almost always others follow suit.
“This is the first time in life I am expressing myself like this,” says the young leader from #MeWeTajikistan.
Thousands of miles away, a young Honduran girl says, “ I did not ever think I could do this.” For the first time in her life, she shares what migration has done to her family and community, and how she wants to stop this from happening to more young people.
Further north, a young Mexican participant during the #MeWeMexico trainings shares an epiphany to the room of 40 young leaders.
“This program, I am realizing now, is not a workshop but a form of leadership therapy. As leaders, we are not looking after other leaders, nor taking care of ourselves,” he says.
Since January 2018, more than 400 young leaders across 5 countries applied to #MeWe International’s storytelling for changemakers workshops, made possible thanks to support from Ashoka’s Youth Venture, and ‘The Collaboratory’, part of the State Department’s Education and Cultural Affairs Office.
In April 2018, more than 140 young leaders were selected by the U.S. Embassy and local NGO partners across the 5 pilot countries of Tajikistan, Moldova, Ecuador, Mexico, and Honduras.
Once selected, young leaders from each country experienced an interactive three-day training to understand the power of words and communication as tools for healing, community building, and empowerment.
Throughout the #MeWe trainings, young people explored the science of storytelling, learned about story structures for social impact, and exercised internal communication as a foundational step towards effective public communication. The program’s exercises involved mindfulness practices, communications strategy-building, public speaking, creative writing, and video making.
After the initial three-day trianings with youth leaders, small teams formed around a set of self-defined social issues. Since May, more than 15 youth teams have been initiating their own pilots for shifting mindsets in their communities by applying what they learned in #MeWe International Inc.’s communications methodology.
In our storytelling work as #MeWe International, our hypothesis is that arrested narratives among young people fuels arrested development among youth, and their communities.
Below are snapshots of the changemaker stories and community events that young leaders from each of the five country pilots are initiating. Click on the links below to stay up to date to the changemaker magic unfolding from the #MeWe global sprint.
#MeWeTajikistan (#MahBaMo) | CVE
MARCH 27- 1 APRIL 2018 | Local partners: Y Peer Tajikistan and Beyond Conflict| U.S. Embassy Dushanbe
60+ applicants for 30 spots | 30+ youth leaders successfully engaged | 5 youth teams activated | More info: http://bit.ly/2MbbCRU
Over the course of 3 days, young people from both rural and urban areas of Tajikistan explored ‘they why?’ driving their leadership aspirations, and exercised ways to communicate choices and alternatives to their peers when it came to violence, gender inequalities and gender discrimination. With the help of Beyond Conflict, much time was spent on understanding how stress, anxiety, and fear — triggered by violence or abuse — impacts the brain and one’s behaviour.
Powerful moments in the training included young girls coming together for the first time in their lives to open up about the prevalence of gender inequalities and violence in their own communities, and then communicating with one another effective solutions to navigate their challenges.
Since the initial direct #MeWe International training in April, Youth teams activated in #MeWeTajikistan (#MahBaMo) have already led 3#MeWe community events, including 1 public debate session on the topic of gender inequalities. Youth teams successfully engaged more than 60 people, approximately, in their own locally organized #MeWe events where they transferred their learnings and insights from the #MeWe training to their peers in the community. Two other #MeWeTajikistan youth team produced and edited 2 short videos on education and gender inequalities.
#MeWeMoldova | ANTI-CORRUPTION
9–13 APRIL 2018 | Local partners: CDA | U.S. Embassy Moldova
50+ applicants for 24–30 spots | 25 youth leaders successfully engaged | 5 youth teams activated | More info: http://bit.ly/2vZWjk3
#MeWeMoldova teams are launching a public event this September, with local partner ADC. At the community event, youth teams will present their #MeWeMoldova stories and share insights from their community projects which have been targeting corruption in Moldova.
Youth teams have already produced more than 3 short videos, 1 blog series, and are currently mobilized dialogue spaces at more than 3 local libraries where teachers and youth are actively discussing how to redefine and reframe society’s understanding of the term ‘corruption’.
#MeWeMoldova youth teams have successfully engaged more than 40 people, approximately, in their locally organized #MeWe events, not including the upcoming event in September.
#MeWeEcuador | Gender Based Violence
APRIL 19–22, 2018 | Local partners: Ashoka Andean Region, Esquel, and Plan International | U.S. Embassy Quito
120+ applicants for 20+ spots |24+ youth leaders successfully engaged | 5 youth teams activated
#MeWeMexico | CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
MAY 18–21, 2018 | Local partners: Ashoka Mexico | U.S. Embassy Mexico City
70+ applicants for 50–60 spots | 44+ youth leaders successfully engaged | 6 youth teams activated | More info: http://bit.ly/2vE4MtB
The largest of all the #MeWe country pilots took place in Chapultepec park in Mexico City. More than 40 young leaders from across the country participated in 3.5 days of intensive training on communications for social impact. ‘Civic Engagement’ was the theme for the #MeWeMexico pilot, led by #MeWe International and Ashoka Mexico. Young leaders formed collaborative relationships and workshopped ways they wanted to combat apathy and lack of trust in civic institutions among young people in Mexico today. Community distrust and was particularly prevalent due to persistent challenges since the devastating earthquake last year and rising gang violence in recent years. Issues of discrimination against the LGBTQ community also were addressed among youth leaders in the program.
To date, #MeWeMexico youth leaders have launched more than 4 community events, targeting youth civic engagement, gender violence and discrimination, and community building. After the initial training #MeWeMexico teams have reached more than 400 people in their own communities by replicating key exercises from the #MeWe International methodology.
#MeWeHonduras | MIGRATION
MAY 25- 27 2018 | Local partners: OYE, CCS San Pedro Sulas | U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpas
100+ applicants for 20–30 spots | 20+ youth leaders successfully engaged | 4–6 youth teams activated | More info: http://bit.ly/2KOv1m9
Migration and gang violence dominate the national and international narratives of Honduras. Young leaders in #MeWeHonduras wanted to tackle this misrepresentation by giving voice and visibility to the talent, creativity and resilience within Honduran youth.
During the #MeWeHonduras trainings, young leaders, many for the first time in their lives, broke their silence around how violence and migration have broken their families and communities; and expressed ideas and pathways to reframe their losses and tarumas into opportunities for empowerment, collective problem-solving, and healing. For these youth, migration is not limited to leaving to the U.S. for work. Instead, migration is a threat to the health of family and community dynamics of an entire nation, and they want to reframe the narrative of how Honduran youth view and engage with their own nation.
Since the pilot training in May , #MeWeHonduras youth teams have launched more than 4of their own community events, targeting youth, migration, and broken families. After the initial training #MeWeHonduras teams have reached more than 100 people in their own communities by replicating key exercises from the #MeWe International methodology, and have produced a social media video series on migration that has reached more than 1,000 views on Facebook. The national news televised their locally organized #MEWE event in August, reaching thousands more households across San Pedro Sulas.
Throughout 4 of the 5 #MeWe country pilots, we are obeserving significant qualitative and quantitative evidence that communications development is a crucial piece of programming that enhances leadership development, creative collaboration, and community building led by young people.
On average, the #MeWeInternational storytelling methodology activated 4 small team projects per country, with an average of 2 small teams-per country remaining active in the months following the initial trianing. On average, #MeWe youth teams launched more than 2 #MeWe community events per country, and these took place in the months following the direct trianings. Most the community showed young leaders training others on #MeWeInternational’s methodology.
(1) Honduras, (2) Moldova, (3) Mexico, (4)Tajikistan, and (5) Ecuador represent the top performing #MeWe youth teams — in order of impact— who achieved all of the following: released a video series, published blogs, and mobilized multiple community events targeting a social issue.
Across all countries, youth particpiants reported significant growth when it came their leadership and communications abilities.
Over the course of the Latin America #MeWe pilots, Ashoka and #MeWeInternational executed a pre and post assessment among youth leaders. The results are quite encouraging.
Data across the three #MeWe Latin American countries — Mexico, Ecuador, and Honduras — shows that more than 90% of beneficiaries self-reported the program enhancing their leadership and communication skills.
90% of beneficiaries reported that they would recommend the training to their peers and community.
NOTE: The #MeWe projects across Latin America, in Moldova, and Tajikistan were sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and were designed and administered by #MeWe International Inc. and Ashoka’s Youth Venture, with support from Beyond Conflict.
I am pleased to announce #MeWe International Inc. is now registered as a non-profit C-corporation, and is in process of filing for 501C3 status!
Much else has also been going on. Too much to share here, so below are some highlights!
Some quick highlights:
#MeWe International Inc. are launching small country pilots in partnership with the U.S. State Department and local orgs:
March: Tajikistan, with Y Peer Tajikistan | April: Moldova, with CDA | April: Ecuador, with Esquel and Plan International | May: Mexico, with Ashoka Mexico | May: Honduras, with CCS and Oye. Stay tuned for more….
#MeWe accepts OPEN IDEO award from Australia DFAT and Innovation Exchange
In February we were in Australia to accept the award for the #EIEChallenge, or education in emergencies challenge. This award will able #MeWe to boost our refugee-led network, and build in new tools. While in Australia, we were trained by Open Ideo on human centered design principles and built new prototypes to improve our work. Stay tuned…
New article on VICE Impact and more insights published on UNHCR Innovation’s Year in Review!