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One World In A Box

Peace-Building Education Through The Universe

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

One World in a Box project will educate young people in refugee camps to know, appreciate and value differences and diversity in their communities and around the world to encourage a peaceful society. The project will foster a spirit of interconnectedness and inspire and empower young people across different ages, genders and cultures to be global citizens and responsible proactive peacebuilding citizens. The starting approach will be an understanding of the beauty and vast enormity of our Universe, with the realization that we all view and wonder at the sky above us, live under the same stars, and inhabit this awesome Universe. The vastness of the Universe can help expand perspectives about our world, broaden minds and stimulate intercultural awareness, global citizenship and responsibility. Instead of pinpointing the differences, we want to highlight and appreciate the common ground. For example, Sun, Moon, stars and planets are represented in each culture and faith. Commemorative periods and religious festivities and fasts in the three Abrahamic faiths, are determined by the relative positions of the Earth, Sun and Moon. We will draw from the vast experience of the global Universe Awareness community who teach youth about the wonders of our Universe, as well as the peer-reviewed educational materials already present in ‘Universe in a Box’. We will develop this in close collaboration with educators from The Step Up who run informal educational programmes and clubs in refugee camps during the school holidays empowering young people and developing their skills. Using co-creation approaches, the new materials for ‘One World in a Box’ will be developed with a team of young advocates from different refugee camps representing different communities, cultures and faiths. As future leaders they will be empowered to make a difference and contribute in their own way to make our shared world a better place.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

As a result of war, conflict and severe regional droughts, hundreds and thousands of underage people have fled their homes to find refuge and safety in neighbouring countries. Often hostilities break out in the refugee camps among the youth, due to lack of communication and misunderstandings of faith, culture or tribal beliefs. Therefore, the programme will be aimed at youth ages 8-18, living in refugees camps Adjumani (Uganda), Gambella (Ethiopia) and Ali Addeh (Djibouti). Youth will have the opportunity to channel their energy to contribute to their communities and develop their personal skills and identity. Our Universe has the power to change the way we think and live. It can inspire us to take responsibility for our planet, continue learning about the world we live in and be a part of a shared society. Youth will be encouraged to contribute to peace in their environment and become part of a movement towards a peace culture.

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

One World In A Box is a powerful educational tool and an innovative way of promoting peace-building and interconnectedness. Our planet as seen from space can spark imagination in young minds and have a profound influence on their life. The vastness of the Universe helps broaden minds and stimulate intercultural awareness and global citizenship. Exposing young refugees to the enormity of the Universe can expand their perspective about our world. Extremes of ideological dogma are overshadowed by the realization that we all view and wonder at the sky above us and that we all inhabit the same planet in an enormous and awesome Universe. The Box will be co-created by young refugees across the globe and implemented in informal settings. The youth friendly tangible resources, i.e. handbooks and activity guides, will be triggers for activities, dialogue, discussions and hands on learning about cultures. The practical Box can be taken and used anywhere as a basis for peacebuilding initiatives.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

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

Universe Awareness is an international programme, coordinated by Leiden University, that uses the beauty and grandeur of the Universe to inspire disadvantaged children to inspirational science and foster their sense of global citizenship: The Step Up programme offers youth refugees a chance to gain vital life skills and knowledge during the holidays, explore and appreciate differences in their community, and empowers youth to lead, volunteer and make a difference:

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.

Staff from UNAWE and The Step Up who are from all three Abrahamic faiths wanted to collaborate to bring peace awareness to young refugees. The Universe can inspire children to have dreams and hope, enriching their hearts and minds and can ignite children's imagination and creativity. It can contribute to building partnerships and peace between people. Seeing Earth from space can dramatically affects our relationship to the world and our appreciation of the greater community of mankind.

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

Uganda and Ethiopia currently host the largest number of refugees in Africa. In the small country of Djibouti, neighboring to Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Yemen, thousands of diverse refugees from different faiths find shelter. The majority of the fleeing population are underage, and they will inherit the challenges of their communities. In order to strengthen society we must recognize the importance of youth being part of ongoing dialogues and creative solutions. Their voices are crucial in shaping the way we look at the future and in promoting an understanding and respect of differences in a shared dynamic world. Youth in the refugee camps are in a difficult situation. They are idle and restless with minimal options to use their time productively. The bottom-up approach of co-creation will ensure that young people are part of the programme development and are able to discuss and debate important topics in peacebuilding, youth leadership and sustainability.

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

We will partner with local and global civil society organisations and public institutions, i.e.: 1. Refugee youth through the Step Up Camps and Clubs, host communities and local educators (e.g. LWF World Service) will support in co-creating the Box and will volunteer in its implementation and execution. 2. Existing NGOs that work with youth in refugee camps, will support by implementing the Box in their programmes. 4. The Astronomy and Society Group of Leiden University, a leading European astronomy research department will support the project. They have experience in managing European and global space education programmes and in scientific outreach and primary school education. 5. The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development will support and promote the project through their offices in South Africa and Ethiopia: 6. UNAWE will use its global network of 1000+ astronomers and educators in more than 63 countries to peer-review and distribute the Box.

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

Over 60% of the refugees in the camps are underage and dream and hope for a better life for themselves, their family and community. The various youth also have many cultural and religious similarities, i.e. Abrahamic faiths. This rich heritage is something that binds them and will also be used to motivate them to contribute to peace for the whole of the planet. If this large number of youths are educated in peace-building it will have a great impact on generations to come.

Geographic Focus

Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti: youth of refugee camps Adjumani, Gambella, and Ali Addeh.

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

Months 1-3: Contact global and local CSOs; refine plan with stakeholders; run first co-creation workshop using human-centred design approaches; development of evaluation and impact assessment framework. 4-8: Appointment volunteers; planning of outreach visits; training & fieldwork; co-creation sessions for developing the Box with youth. 9-14: Implement project in the refugee camps. 15-18: Evaluation, peer-review, reporting and development of up-scaled outreach for refugee camps worldwide.

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

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of bikash gurung

Hi AH, glad to have you in the challenge. Its really a nice concept and a out of box initiative to bring together a common value and common ground to all. Would love to learn why your targeted beneficiaries are Refugees? what if you could share our Universe idea to whole humanity? I am curious to learn what are contents in this extremely powerful educational tool 'One world in a box" except understanding of the beauty and vast enormity of our Universe. What has been your previous experience while implementing this project? What has been the shift of change of mind and how it has supported them in Peace and prosperity? Looking forward to learn more.
Jean-Marc Mercy would love to hear your thoughts on this as well. How do you think more prosperous situation can be created through this initiative.

Photo of One World In A Box

Hi Bikash,

Thank you for your comment! Our goal is that every child in the world deserves to learn about the beauty and enormity of the Universe to integrate them as a citizen of our planet. However, it is important to devote our limited resources to targeting underserved communities for which we can make the most impact. Refugees and migrant communities have the most need and are less likely to be exposed to knowledge about our Universe than other sections of society.
The contents of the box is derived from UNAWE's 'Universe in a Box':
For instance: Certain standard gadgets from ‘Universe in a Box’ as a starting point, e.g. a borderless inflatable Earth Ball; Posters, and painting, DIY and drawing tools; Games (e.g. a peace game); Educational tools that are adaptable to different contexts; The participants are stimulated to design a space mission; It will come with a handbook with activities for different age groups (4-11 and 12-18).
Furthermore, through co-creation (together with all stakeholders and beneficiaries) we will develop new content for One World In A Box, this will perfectly suit the needs of our target group and not to mention empowers them to know they can actively contribute to a peace culture.
So, our previous experience is mostly based on UNAWE's Universe in a Box.

M. Ahmadi

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