#MeWe going international!

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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

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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!

Read our latest article for Vice, here.

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Read our latest article for UNHCR Innovation, here.

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#MeWe speaks at Wilton Park Forum on Mental Health, hosted by Save the Children and DFID

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We working hard, and need you!

Donate directly to #MeWe. We need your support to keep our teams active, and to keep spaces growing for healing and community-building. Thirty percent of your donation will go towards personnel support, and seventy percent will go towards a fund to support activities of #MeWe hubs for healing and community-building in 2018-2019. You will receive personal updates from #MeWe founder, Mohsin Mohi Ud Din. Donate securely on pay-pal here: 
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We have been hard at work and traveling non-stop in order to finish our year strong. In the past 12 months, we have trained more than 50 Syrian youth facilitators across 8 cities in three countries on our storytelling innovation through local implementing partners DARB and Questscope, and their partner orgs in the region. Our Syrian changemaker teams have replicated the program to and reached more 700 youth and caretakers.

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Below are some rapid updates, and demonstration of the extraordinary we are making through #MeWeSyria:

December: Open Ideo Award | UNHCR Innovation Article | #MeWe back in Turkey

Open Ideo Award

We won Open Ideo’s innovation competition, funded by the Australian Govt.! Out of 100s of applications, and more than 70 shortlisted finalists, Open Idea, MIKTA, and the Australian Government have identified #MeWeSyria as the winner of their ‘Education in Emergencies’ Challenge. Read more

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New #MeWeSyria article published on UNHCR Innovation Services

  • Our latest insights just published on UNHCR Innovation, click here 

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#MeWeSyria training with core team of Syrian peace-builders in Turkey 

  • More than 8 Syrians from of our core team came together in Turkey for new training sessions focused on knowledge-sharing across the different hubs they have activated, and capacity building on new modules focused on mental health/psychosocial support, particularly related to interoception and goal setting, co-created with my partner and neuroscientist Michael Niconchuk. The 4 teams formulated refined local action plans to reach another 180 youth in Turkey over the next 5 months.

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November:  #MeWe back in Lebanon | World Children’s Day w/ ODI 

#MeWeSyria training in Lebanon with core team of Syrian youth replicators

  • Similar to Turkey, more than 16 Syrians from our core team in Lebanon came together for new training sessions focused on knowledge sharing across the different hubs, and capacity building on new modules focused on mental health/psychosocial support, particularly related to interoception and goal setting, co-created with my partner and neuroscientist Michael Niconchuk. The 8 teams formulated refined local action plans to reach another 188 youth in Turkey over the next 5 months.

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The Overseas Development Institute invited #MeWeSyria to present its innovation for a #WorldChildrensDay event

  • Watch the panel at ODI here...

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Donate directly to #MeWe. We need your support to keep our teams active, and to keep spaces growing for healing and community-building. Thirty percent of your donation will go towards personnel support, and seventy percent will go towards a fund to support activities of #MeWe hubs for healing and community-building in 2018-2019. You will receive personal updates from #MeWe founder, Mohsin Mohi Ud Din. Donate securely on pay-pal here: 
Donate Button

Back in Zaatari Refugee Camp

I’m back in #zaatari refugee camp, where #MeWeSyria began 4 years ago with just 1 camera and twenty-five refugee youth. Today, the refugee youth-led program has reached more than 700 refugee youth across 8 cities in 3 countries.

This week, I am in the camp with my partner and friend, neuroscientist Michael Niconchuk, co-creating youth spaces for healing, communication, and community building through my #MeWeSyria methodology.

You and me may see only concrete walls and barbed wire. But these Syrian refugee youth see a call to build spaces for healing & changemaking in the harshest of places.

This week we will be engaging with 12 of our refugee youth replication teams from Questscope on further co-creation, capacity-building, and improving the overall localization of the program. We will tackle concepts of media literacy, self-care, brain science and communications, and our mental health and psychosocial support pedagogy.

The replication teams will target 144-180 refugee youth, ages 15–25, over the course of 6 months.

 

Honored and happy to co-create w/ these heroes.

 

MiT Solve partnership + VICE Impact!

Lot’s been going on since #MeWeSyria won Solve MiT at the United Nations in May.

Here is the scoop:

After winning for our pitch on #MeWeSyria at Solve MiT at the United Nations, we presented to partners and allies at MiT. In our presentations we highlighted how our unique methodology leverages the process of storytelling/inter-personal communications    as a tool for mental health/psychosocial support, social/emotional learning, and community-building.

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#MEWESYRIA ON STAGE WITH PRESIDENT OF MIT

 

Vice media released a short mini documentary on #MeWeSyria’s pitch at the United Nations. WATCH HERE:

#MEWESYRIA @VICEIMPACT
WATCH VICE FOLLOW US ON OUR JOURNEY TO PITCH OUR INNOVATION TO SOLVE MIT AT THE UNITED NATIONS

 

We now have an important relationship with VICE IMPACT to help give visibility to our program and the refugee changemaker voices within it. READ AND WATCH our recent publications on VICE:

 

#MEWESYRIA FEATURES NEW MESSAGES AND STORYTELLING CONTENT FROM REFUGEE YOUTH TEAMS ON VICE

 

#MeWeSyria @ MiT!

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Back in March, #MeWeSyria was officially recognized at the United Nations as a ‘Solver’ by Solve’s MiT, an initiative founded by MiT’s president.

In the coming days, we will be at MiT as a featured ‘Solver’ to present further on our impact and share our needs for scaling and growing upon our refugee-led successes. We are excited to collaborate with potential funders, engineers, neuroscientists, and companies.

Our main needs at the moment are…

Funding | Purpose: We need a strong backend to keep powering-up our methodology and network. We first want to tune up our existing MeWeSyria network in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan then scale up to more cities in these countries and add on new countries such as Germany, France, Brazil, and Canada. This would require more master facilitators to run our innovative training of trainers sessions with refugee teams, more equipment, capacity-building sessions with our refugee replicators, and refinement of the pedagogy and curriculum.

Technical support | Purpose: Build a flexible, virtual team of clinical psychologists, neuroscientists, app developers, translators, curriculum developers, multi media specialists who would help us build a holistic program yielding long term results for youth.

What we know

Over the past several years, we know have a methodology powering up a brave network Syrian refugee youth influencers across 3 countries.

Our recently deployed psychometric scale is showing the behavioral growth our program sparks in young refugees completing our program:

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Click on the get in touch tab if you want to support us in funding our mission to scale and globalize our innovative work to activate refugee youth as Changemakers.

Follow updates from MiT this week @mohsindin and @mewesyria.

#MeWeSyria at MiT/United Nations

What a surprising week. Solve MiT selected #MeWeSyria as a finalist to pitch our innovation at the United Nations, and we won!!! We are honored and excited at the prospect of connecting with the resources of MiT, other Solvers, and private sector partners and companies. This win could help us scale and globalize this year. If you are interested in supporting our network, please get in touch with me in the [get involved] section.

This is a victory for our brave and beautiful Syrian changemaker teams in Jordan (with Questscope), Turkey (with Darb_Syr), and Lebanon. This program is built on their hard work and dedication to fighting spaces of darkness and hopelessness each and every day. These are the invisible wars that threaten social and emotional development, and thus threaten our world. We should celebrate and support Syrian youth changemakers everywhere. Congrats to all our refugee teams!! Here’s to the next big steps!! We head to MiT in May!

You can watch our winning pitch at the United Nations below:

MiT Solve invite #MeWeSyria to UN | March 7th

MiT’s Solve have selected #MeWeSyria as a finalist to pitch at the United Nations on 7 March. This could be a big opportunity for our innovative program and refugee-led teams. The event will focus on solutions for refugee education. Follow @MeWeSyria for live updates and also PLEASE VOTE FOR US HERE!

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Expanding #MeWeSyria spaces in Turkey + Lebanon

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Because of intense travel for #MeWeSyria, I have had little time to share the many insights, successes, and impacts made since October 2016. Since then, we have expanded refugee-led #MeWeSyria teams in Turkey and Lebanon. I promise to share more in the coming weeks and months. Here is a short summary of basic goings-on. Much much more to come.

January 2017: 

The numbers: 20+ Syrian facilitators and teachers were trained and signed-on to the innovative storytelling for changemakers methodology of #MeWeSyria after an intensive 4 day training of trainers and co-creation session. 20 replicators will implement localized versions of #MeWeSyria in 3 cities across Lebanon, reaching 270+ teenagers and parents.

October 2016:

The numbers: 18+ Syrian facilitators and teachers were trained and signed-on to #MeWeSyria localization. These brave changemakers will implement localized versions of #MeWeSyria in 3 cities in Southeast Turkey, reaching 400+ teenagers and parents.

  • Trends and quick insights:

  • Because of the war, and the level of loss and destruction, every Syrian–be they an engineer, teacher, artist, student—is now being called upon to be healers for the mental health/trauma/emotional paralysis that are epidemics for today’s Syria’s young.

  • Most Syrian refugee youth volunteers have expressed an urgent need to have new engagements and interventions for working with Syrian refugees. Traditional trainings and youth programs are not serving the needs of today’s refugee youth. Youth need opportunities for social and emotional learning, communications practice, and resiliency-building.

  • All Syrian refugee trainees are themselves wrestling with trauma and barriers to social and emotional development as a result of war and forced displacement.

  • All trainees expressed increased fear and pressures with handling youth who have mental health challenges or trauma. Syrian teachers and youth facilitators are noticing more and more Syrian kids are living off the streets and getting involved in either forced childhood marriage or drug abuse.

  • Youth are becoming increasingly vulnerable to apathy, isolation, and anger. And parents of refugee youth remain helpless, frustrated, and ill-equipped to handle these sensitive cases.

  • All expressed a desire to have more access and support for integrating social and emotional learning and wellbeing/mindfulness practices in their youth interventions.

  • Peace is now becoming a divisive and dangerous word among some Syrian communities, because of the death and destruction that has been allowed to persist during the failed processes of attaining cease-fires and peace deals over the past 5+ years of war.

Our latest on UNHCR Innovation hub

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Check out our latest article for #UnitedNations UNHCR Innovation on our storytelling for changemakers work with young Syrians. Please take a few to hear Syrian youth messages and engage w: their creativity and ideas. #MeWeSyriahttp://innovation.unhcr.org/narrative-control-power/

Here is an excerpt:

In life, there are things we cannot control: where we are born; the color of our skin; our parents; or the rapid pace of change in our personal lives and in our societies.

On the other hand, stories,  by nature, are  free. In the face of uncontrollable variables, every person, young and old, possesses the power of narrative and the ability to formulate new realities and ideas. Stories are blank canvases in which the author is in control, using the past and the imagination to create a new reality.

When it comes to the story of Syria, and how the international community and Syrians themselves interact with it, it’s  no surprise that extremists, political plays, and tragedy colonize the narrative space. It’s also not surprising that the production and consumption of stories of suffering, fear, and violence results in the international community’s desensitization to Syrians’ plight and of refugee youth from numerous communities. But less obvious is the risk of Syrian and other refugee youth accepting a world of consequences instead of innovating a world choices, for an entire generation. This risk carries direct implications for humanitarian efforts and for sustainable peace and development.

A story can be a simulator, where anyone can practice control, exercise imagination, build empathy, and test a range of human conditions, failures, and triumphs.

For most of us, the push of  a ‘record’ button on a camera, the push of a key, the ink on a piece of paper seem as though they are insignificant acts. But words and the process of connecting feelings and ideas to paper and media have power.

Check out recent pieces produced and shot by young Syrian refugees from the Darb-Syr community organization in Gaziantep, Turkey during Youth Venture’s #MeWeSyria program. What you see is a finished story, but the real story is what transpired  as young Syrians stepped into their stories and connected mind and heart with their breaths. Through collaborative storytelling exercises, young Syrians practiced working in creative teams, leadership, creative problem-solving skills, and connected passions with problems. What was built was not just a video, but a tangible youth-led space for empathy and ideas sharing that lasts beyond the actual days of the workshops and trainings READ MORE ON UNHCR

 

 

 

 

#storytelling for #Changemakers Darb Syr Questscope Ashoka’s Youth Venture