Implementing positive change through British Council programs



Mon, 25 Jun 2018 - 03:57 GMT


Mon, 25 Jun 2018 - 03:57 GMT

All projects took place in Abu Al-Enein Alley in the Al-Marg Al-Qeblia in 30 days during April 2018, with the aim of transforming the alley to the better. - Egypt Today

All projects took place in Abu Al-Enein Alley in the Al-Marg Al-Qeblia in 30 days during April 2018, with the aim of transforming the alley to the better. - Egypt Today

CAIRO – 25 June 2017: The British Council held June 26, 2018, the Ceremony of Virtuous Alley (VA) Project, the graduation project for those graduating the Social Action Projects (SAPs) from Active Citizens Program. The British Council have partnered up with Fadali for this program.

The Active Citizen program is a worldwide British Council program, which is run in cooperation with local agents and non-governmental organizations and has been running for the previous eight years, that aims to build volunteerism and community ownership, as well as social trust and the desire to build the community. The program aims to ensure that citizens take ownership of their community and address issues and problems within the community.

Who does the program target?

“Active Citizens is aimed at people who are socially responsible, influential and engaged at a local community level. This may include youth workers, women’s groups, educators, community development professionals, voluntary sector representatives and faith leaders. By creating an international network for these community leaders, it is hoped they will gain experiences that will then help them to be more effective in their own countries,” explains the British Council’s website.

All projects took place in Abu Al-Enein Alley in the Al-Marg Al-Qeblia in 30 days during April 2018, with the aim of transforming the alley to the better.

Participants in the program presented their projects, focusing on three main points: how they came upon the idea; how they worked on implementing change and influencing positive behaviour; and, the outcome of the project, including the number of beneficiaries influenced and the number of volunteers and civil agents.

Commenting on the program and its positive impacts, Alex Lambert, Deputy Director and Head of Programmes, British Council, Egypt, said during the ceremony, “In the UK, just like in Egypt, the community is complex. Even in a small alley, there are several different social, educational, economic, cultural and political backgrounds. Generally, the world is growing, people are becoming much more diverse, which is great because it’s a huge resource, but it also means that people are growing in different ways. However, when we have ideas and initiatives like these [the ones implemented under this program], we make sure that people grow together and live in harmony. When you have these amounts of compassion and energy towards bringing people together, you have a positive effect; and, I hope you continue to be passionate about your respective causes.”

Lambert closed off the ceremony, saying, “I just want to say very quickly thank you to all of you. I am sitting here and I’m feeling really proud and really impressed. This would not have been possible without all the partnerships; we thank Fadali and the team in the British Council.”

Speaking to Yosr Gado, Society Programme Manager at the British Council in Egypt, after the event, she explains that the program aims to enrich the eco-system of society work with funding, material, international links and skills transfer, producing a sustainable project able to withstand changes and costs over time and space.

There are numerous aims to the programme, Gado explains. Improving the lives of civilians is one, but another very important one is nurturing volunteerism and allowing youth to see that they can really influence change. “You can really see positive change happening, you can see positive impact, and this is good. There are real-life positive impacts to the projects done under this program and you can see people grow. Not just so, but over the years, I have also been lucky enough to see the program develop and evolve, with ideas becoming better and more innovative.”

Explaining her point further, Gado gave the example of a couple of years ago when it was very popular for prospective participants to present ideas focused on picking rubbish from the streets, however, now, they look at how they can reproduce rubbish or teach people how to benefit from their rubbish, especially plastics, glass, metals and such materials.

The program aims to impact communities on a multitude of levels, focusing on social enterprise as the entry point to all projects. “We aim to help participants develop ideas and work on how they can turn these ideas into plans that can be implemented in real life,” explains Gado.

Speaking about the future of the program and what is excted from the Active Citizen program in 2019, Gado explains that the focus will be on networking and connecting youths with each other, as well as allowing them to benefit from the social capital within the community to support their journey as a social change agent.



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