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Galilee Women Fellows Program

Connect Arab and Jewish Women to lead a change for peace and sustainability and encourage collaborative social and business entrepreneurship

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The Galilee Women Fellows Program is a new program, now after two years of a pilot stage, addressing the common challenge of sustainability as the catalyst for cooperation between Arabs and Jew in the Galilee to promote regional economic, social and environmental innovation. We aim to engage a group of Arab and Jewish women change-makers in a learning process that employs a transformative pedagogy to empower them to go on and lead projects in the field geared towards coping creatively and effectively with the social and environmental issues and create joint regional development. This framework seeks to build agendas and programs around the common good based on joint interests, identifying opportunities for greater inter-group interaction and cooperation. The program includes two phases: A learning phase and a practical phase. During the learning phase participants learn about sustainability principles, understand the connection between environmental, social and economic issues, while also dive deep into local political issues and how their connect to sustainability issues. This phase will have eleven days of learning, including three overnight seminars, with the purpose to get Fellows out of their daily routine and create more personal connections. The practical phase will include group meetings and one-on-one mentorship meetings to support each Fellow and assist them in turning their ideas into reality.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The direct beneficiaries are women leaders in the Galilee, North of Israel. Our theory of change suggests that if we train those who have an openness for new ideas, with the capacity to influence large circles of people, and the will to bridge between cultures, they will be most effective and bringing about change to their communities. We are thus looking to recruit women, ages 22-55, that are in a position to influence wide circles of people, such as senior officials in municipalities, communication professionals, entrepreneurs, educators, artists, business managers, etc.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Israel is a unique country, with 8.8 million residents, 75% are Jews with a 20% Arab/Palestinian minority. Historically, there have been a conflict between Jews and Arabs around the right of each to live in this land, and there have been peace-building programs that deal with the political situation and involve conflict resolution and management. Meaning, the conversation usually begins with the political situation which is loaded with emotions and animosity. Most of these programs, though not all, bring people together but not necessarily people who are in a position to influence others, senior people in key positions and with wide circles of influence. Our unique idea is not only taking people that have the power to make a difference, but also take women. There is no such program that brings Jewish and Arab women of influence to connect over environmental sustainability, that begins the conversation from a positive angle: to dream a new Galilee, through peace, planet and prosperity.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

We are a think-and-do tank, a non-profit organization with the ambitious agenda to promote a renewed social environmental and economic vision to create a just society, a fair economy, and a healthy environment, now and for future generations in Israel.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Liat is a Galilee Fellows. A mother to a child that is allergic to milk and unable to eat at any normal restaurant, Liat went on the Galilee Fellows program, and during phase II developed a project - an allergen-free chocolate company based on sustainability values. She is looking for a female Arab partner who will manage this business that will hire only Jewish and Arab women from the Galilee, use environmentally friendly materials, relying on cutting edge, sustainable economic models.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

The Galilee region is placed in the North of Israel which has the challenges of a "geographic periphery". It is characterized by by diverse rural and urban settlements. Within the Arab society in the Galilee in particular, the rapid urbanization in recent years has created its own set of challenges due to insufficient infrastructure, limited environmental planning and the consequent increase in environmental hazards. Moreover, the Galilee has also seen several joint Arab and Jewish initiatives to face local environmental problems. The fact that Jews and Arabs live in close proximity, and that environmental hazards do not stop at municipal boundaries, has created both reasons for conflict as well as opportunities for collaboration. Specifically with regards to women, they are hurt the most from the lack of infrastructure and tend to have high unemployment rate for the lack of access to public transportation.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

TAEQ – the Towns Association for Environmental Quality – was founded in 1993 by scientists and educators wishing to raise awareness of environmental issues within Israel’s Arab society. It was the first environmental initiative to emerge in the Arab-Israeli sector. Situated in the Galilee, TAEQ has become a place where Arab and Jewish Israelis come together in joint stewardship of their common environment. The association serves six Arab towns in the Beit Natufa Basin encompassing a population of approximately 85,000 residents and a jurisdictional area of 60,000 dunams (15,000 acres). TAEQ’s educational, scientific, and advisory activities promote sustainable development, increase public awareness, and stimulate community-based action on environmental issues. The association’s model of proactive peacebuilding is has gained recognition locally, across the Middle East, and beyond.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Despite the challenges, the Galilee communities have the potential to serve as a space for environmental and social innovation: It is a key source of agricultural goods, and it could serve as a lap for Arab and Jewish collaboration: with close on a 50/50 split between Arabs and Jews (54% Arabs and 43% Jews in 2015), no other area in Israel affords such potential for promoting co-existence. Lastly, women have influence among their communities and are worth investing in to create change.

Geographic Focus

The Galilee, North of Israel.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Each cohort lasts a full 12 months, and we would like to run two cohorts, for two years in a row. Total is 24 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


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