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Migrants of Circumstance

An open source knowledge sharing platform that has been designed alongside Syrian refugees in Lebanon, for the past 8 months.

Photo of Daniel Nasr

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

UNHCR has stated that only 20% of Syrian refugee children are in school, in Lebanon. In my visits to the country over the past year, that was made evident- many kids are on the streets and are left exploited and abused. Lack of work opportunities and insufficient funding from the international community has marginalised the people into extreme poverty. Although these problems are prevalent, they are only a few in a sea of many. This project aims to address those specific needs- sustainable access to both education and income. The way it works is that once a settlement has agreed on the curriculum and framework, a campaign is launched to raise funds for the system 'jumpstarter'. This amount theoretically jumpstarts the system which gradually becomes self sustaining through public workshops and events, at a fee the community members retain. So two parts make up this framework- workshops facilitated by refugees for refugees for free (based on what skills they are able to share), and workshops facilitated by refugees to the public at a cost. For youth specifically, safe spaces and skill building curricular frameworks are encouraged to produce Agents of Social Transformation.

WHO BENEFITS?

All migrants of circumstance benefit from the system. It is an intrinsically socially integrated and culturally contingent process of operation and thus is inherent in responding to the needs of its users. Specifically, for Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, this idea offers opportunities for socio-economic sustainability, and a framework of educational stimulation. For a film showing the system in practice and its effect, see the film above or on the website at www.migrantsofcircumstance.com

PROTOTYPE

For six weeks in May and June, I ran a trial implementation of the system in a community in the North of Lebanon. The purpose of the trial run was to assess how well the framework would work. Of course ideally there would be a longer trial, running anywhere from three to six months, however due to constantly changing circumstances, the community leader suggested to run it for a much smaller time as to test its initial effects and response. During these six weeks, various community members led classes and workshops falling under the various curricular umbrellas. Please check above in the full idea explanation for the details of the trial run, including the specific classes and workshops implemented.

FEEDBACK

This entire process has been designed alongside the community members of Plage Nour, and we've been in constant and continuous contact over every decision made, including the wording and makeup of the curriculum which I first wrote as a draft then circulated around the settlement asking for changes, additions, and notes. As I'm a design student, I have had the constant support and mentorship of my tutors, who have experience in socially responsive design practices. They have specifically suggested components of the system like incentives for teachers and facilitator template packs, both of which I've developed and implemented in the trial. I've also met with members of UNHCR in the early stages of my research to discuss methodology of aid and lack of proportional distribution. I've met with the head of Ana Aqra, an NGO working to enhance literacy in migrant communities- we are now working together on how to incorporate their practice into the system. These have all informed both the design and implementation processes. Since beginning the initial implementation phase of this idea, I've received some, but limited, feedback from the users of the system. This is partially due to Ramadan which began after the trial ended. Due to word limitations, I'll break down their feedback into points: -Economic Viability- revenue generation has been limited due to lack of public engagement- iterations to the system are needed to increase opportunities for economic sustainabilty

HOW IS THIS IDEA DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION (OR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS) IS ALREADY DOING?

To my knowledge, no organisation is currently implementing a system of community-wide, social and economic sustainability through education in any refugee setting. There are similar programs, like UNHCR's vocational training program, but none are designed to formulate socio-economically sustainable communities, only individuals. And even in those situations, the individuals are taught a skill, but have no immediate outlet to channel that skill. This system provides opportunities and platforms to both learn, teach, and apply, and offers immediate benefits, in the form of payment for services, vocational skills, and creative and cultural stimulation.

HOW WOULD YOU USE AMPLIFY FUNDING AND DESIGN SUPPORT?

Given IDEO's history in supporting socially responsive service design projects, the knowledge and experience accumulated over those projects will be a core backbone to my design process and progression. After the trial runs, my plan is to expand the project to a finalised framework, curriculum, and manifesto and present it as a universally accessible open source design that anyone can utilise to implement an informal knowledge sharing platform in their communities. This is where amplify's funding and support is highly needed, in order to formulate a culturally and socially appropriate methodology of going about this plan into full scale implementation.

HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF THE CHALLENGE?

The Amplify design principals are largely similar to my own, outlined in my manifesto which can be found on the project's website www.migrantsofcircumstance.com . This project came about after an extensive cultural and social inventory in which both lack of sustainable income and education were identified as key vernacular issues. The system is designed to be wholly sustainable, through encouraging engagement and cultural exchange with the host community, and develops alongside the migrants' circumstances. It is a framework, and is suggestive and evolutionary by nature. And by offering Safe Spaces, the system becomes universally inclusive of all marginalised groups within the community.

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS FROM THE AMPLIFY TEAM

We've just finished running a 6 week trial with the basis of testing the system in terms of general engagement, social integration, and immediate effect on the ground. Since they began their workshops, it's been difficult to keep up attendance- refugee life is very fluid and at times they are on site, other times they have a job to go to. We've learned to make the structure of workshops fluid as well, and some act like frameworks in themselves. For example, the gold leafing workshops initially ran twice a week, running an hour each. Now they run on Sundays for three hours at a time, and work as a gradual progression. First week was material make up and contemporary application. Second week was initial application on smooth surfaces. Third was on curved surfaces. But through all of these, we made the materials and equipment readily available at all times so that anyone can practice at a time of their choosing. This is just a small example, we've been improving the structure day by day. I'm meeting with the head of community later this week through Skype to discuss the successes and the areas of improvement as to be ready for our second implementation, beginning August 1st. Since beginning working in the community, I've been putting together a small manifesto of what I've learned as a designer. This can be found on my website, (http://www.migrantsofcircumstance.com under the 'framework' page) but my hope is by the end of summer and by the end of the second implementation trial to develop a more comprehensive manifesto on designing for society, in exile. I see this project existing as an open source design for setting up platforms of knowledge exchange and skill sharing in refugee settings, or anywhere a community is systematically denied access to education. So I don't see it as technical, but rather informal and socially and culturally integrated. In terms of financial inputs, these are only a one-off. This idea acts as a system enabler, utilising the external financial input and advisory panel as a 'jumpstart'. The 2,000 pounds that were raised through Kickstarter were used for initial investments in materials, equipment, and payment for workshop facilitators (all of whom are from within the community). After this, the community is encouraged to push for cross cultural engagement and exchange, through making the workshops open to the public, and exhibiting the objects made and skills learned... (no characters left, please see comment below)

SKILL SHARE (optional)

For this project to come to life and continue as a self sustaining entity, we need two main things from the public. The first is the system jumpstart- a certain amount of money is needed to start up. That's being raised through the kickstarter page : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1400585589/migrants-of-circumstance . The second is a network of NGO partners to aid in infrastructure support. I am a designer, and so my skills are largely based in that- graphics, video, making, systems.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I am a BA Design student at Goldsmiths University of London in the UK, but originally from Beirut, Lebanon. This idea began as my final year project and thesis and has developed into this live project. While am not affiliated with organisations, I have secured the advisory of local NGOs & schools.

IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?

  • Yes, I have implementation capacity and am interested in and able to make this idea real in my community.

Attachments (1)

BOOKFINAL(engandarabic).pdf

The curriculum of the system, co-designed by myself and the Syrian community of Plage Nour

17 comments

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Photo of An Old Friend
Team

PLEASE READ THIS TESTIMONY CAREFULLY. I AM USING THIS OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THE WORLD THAT, GREAT MOTHER IS A GIFTED SPELL CASTER. MY HUSBAND LEFT ME FOR NO REASON. I WAS NO LONGER MY SELF AND AT A TIME, I ATTEMPTED TO COMMIT SUICIDE. BUT THANK GOD I CAME ACROSS GREAT MOTHER ONLINE. I READ GOOD REVIEWS ABOUT HER GOOD WORK AND HOW USEFUL AND HELPFUL SHE HAS BEEN TO PEOPLE. I CONTACTED HER AND TOLD HER MY PROBLEM. SHE TOLD ME THAT MY WAN WILL COME BACK TO ME. SHE TOLD ME WHAT TO DO AND I DID IT AND TO MY GREAT SURPRISE MY HUSBAND CAME BACK JUST AS GREAT MOTHER SAID. I EVEN NOTICED THAT WHEN MY HUSBAND RETURNED, HE EVEN LOVE ME MORE. THIS IS NOT BRAIN WASHING BUT GREAT MOTHER OPENED UP HIS EYES TO SEE HOW MUCH LOVE I HAVE FOR HIM AND HOW MUCH LOVE WE OUGHT TO SHARE WITH EACH OTHER. CONTACT HER NOW ON HER EMAIL:
GREATMOTHEROFSOLUTIONTEMPLE@YAHOO.COM AND YOU CAN ALSO CONTACT HER ON WHATSAPP WITH HER NUMBER: +2348078359876 SHE ALSO HAS 2 BLOGS WHICH YOU CAN ALSO USE TO REACH HER. THESE ARE THE BLOGS BELOW. YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE BLOGS TO SEE HER WORK.

GREATMOTHEROFPOWERS.BLOGSPOT.COM
GREATMOTHEROFSOLUTION.BLOGSPOT.COM

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

PLEASE READ THIS TESTIMONY CAREFULLY. I AM USING THIS OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THE WORLD THAT, GREAT MOTHER IS A GIFTED SPELL CASTER. MY HUSBAND LEFT ME FOR NO REASON. I WAS NO LONGER MY SELF AND AT A TIME, I ATTEMPTED TO COMMIT SUICIDE. BUT THANK GOD I CAME ACROSS GREAT MOTHER ONLINE. I READ GOOD REVIEWS ABOUT HER GOOD WORK AND HOW USEFUL AND HELPFUL SHE HAS BEEN TO PEOPLE. I CONTACTED HER AND TOLD HER MY PROBLEM. SHE TOLD ME THAT MY WAN WILL COME BACK TO ME. SHE TOLD ME WHAT TO DO AND I DID IT AND TO MY GREAT SURPRISE MY HUSBAND CAME BACK JUST AS GREAT MOTHER SAID. I EVEN NOTICED THAT WHEN MY HUSBAND RETURNED, HE EVEN LOVE ME MORE. THIS IS NOT BRAIN WASHING BUT GREAT MOTHER OPENED UP HIS EYES TO SEE HOW MUCH LOVE I HAVE FOR HIM AND HOW MUCH LOVE WE OUGHT TO SHARE WITH EACH OTHER. CONTACT HER NOW ON HER EMAIL:
GREATMOTHEROFSOLUTIONTEMPLE@YAHOO.COM AND YOU CAN ALSO CONTACT HER ON WHATSAPP WITH HER NUMBER: +2348078359876 SHE ALSO HAS 2 BLOGS WHICH YOU CAN ALSO USE TO REACH HER. THESE ARE THE BLOGS BELOW. YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE BLOGS TO SEE HER WORK.

GREATMOTHEROFPOWERS.BLOGSPOT.COM
GREATMOTHEROFSOLUTION.BLOGSPOT.COM

Photo of AMPLIFY Team
Team

Congratulations on making it to the Refugee Education Challenge Refinement List We’re excited to learn more about your idea, Daniel! It’s great that you have begun to test this idea and that people are attending the classes. What are some of the key things you have learned so far? What type of platform are you envisioning being created - is it something technical or more informal? How would financial inputs be used? Would there always need to be an external funding support? If so, how do you envision an idea like this being sustainable?

Uploading a User Experience Map http://ideo.pn/UX_Map will also help us get a better understanding of how different members of the community would interact with your idea. Great to see you in the challenge!

Photo of Daniel Nasr
Team

Hello! Apologies for my late replies, I've been traveling with no internet access and didn't even know I made it to the refinement list! Was a great email to come back to.

So we've just finished running a 6 week trial with the basis of testing the system in terms of general engagement, social integration, and immediate effect on the ground. Since they began their workshops, it's been difficult to keep up attendance- refugee life is very fluid and at times they are on site, other times they have a job to go to. We've learned to make the structure of workshops fluid as well, and some act like frameworks in themselves. For example, the gold leafing workshops initially ran twice a week, running an hour each. Now they run on Sundays for three hours at a time, and work as a gradual progression. First week was material make up and contemporary application. Second week was initial application on smooth surfaces. Third was on curved surfaces. But through all of these, we made the materials and equipment readily available at all times so that anyone can practice at a time of their choosing. This is just a small example, we've been improving the structure day by day. I'm meeting with the head of community later this week through Skype to discuss the successes and the areas of improvement as to be ready for our second implementation, beginning August 1st. Since beginning working in the community, I've been putting together a small manifesto of what I've learned as a designer. This can be found on my website, (www.migrantsofcircumstance.com under the 'framework' page) but my hope is by the end of summer and by the end of the second implementation trial to develop a more comprehensive manifesto on designing for society, in exile.

I see this project existing as an open source design for setting up platforms of knowledge exchange and skill sharing in refugee settings, or anywhere a community is systematically denied access to education. So I don't see it as technical, but rather informal and socially and culturally integrated.

In terms of financial inputs, these are only a one-off. This idea acts as a system enabler, utilising the external financial input and advisory panel as a 'jumpstart'. The 2,000 pounds that were raised through Kickstarter were used for initial investments in materials, equipment, and payment for workshop facilitators (all of whom are from within the community). After this, the community is encouraged to push for cross cultural engagement and exchange, through making the workshops open to the public, and exhibiting the objects made and skills learned in local fairs, farmer's markets, and so on. In the same gold leafing workshop mentioned above, half the students are Lebanese from the local surrounding communities, who pay a small fee that gets fed back into the system and re-invested in various things. The idea is that while external funding is needed to get system started, through public engagement with the host community, that system slowly becomes economically self sustaining, on top of its social sustainability. One of the commentators below suggested having free workshops to the local community- I fed that back to the community leader, and they successfully hosted an 'open-day', of sorts, where people from the local communities came and visited the different workshops that were being put on. Some of these were cooking, story telling, and so on.

My overall idea is to provide all the tools and frameworks necessary for the people living in these otherwise educationally unstimulated pockets of informal refugee communities to be able to transform them into cultural centres for free education and innovation.

Photo of AMPLIFY Team
Team

Thanks for the thorough response Daniel! It would be awesome if you could share some of the feedback you've gotten on your prototypes (from users) in the Feedback section of this form. Let us know if there isn't enough space. And, when you have a chance, be sure to fill out a User Experience Map! http://ideo.pn/UX_Map Cheers!

Photo of Daniel Nasr
Team

Hi! I'm trying to add some of the feedback I've gotten, but there is very limited space.

Here is a small breakdown of some of the feedback I've received from quick chats to some of the community members. Because of Ramadan, they have been largely unresponsive and feedback has been limited so I will be meeting with them in full after the holidays.

-Economic Viability- revenue generation has been limited due to lack of public engagement- iterations to the system are needed to increase opportunities for economic sustainability. We now need to work out a way to enhance and develop methodologies of income generation separate from our current plan, which is done through cross cultural engagement and enrichment workshops with the host community.

-Expanding the areas being taught: This came from women who would like to engage in more hands on workshops that they can then see immediate benefit for. They have requested to be taught hairdressing and makeup as this is largely a profitable business in Lebanon. But because this project is rooted in community based education, meaning members of the community are teaching others in the community, we may have to expand this idea to allow for external facilitators to train others in the community. This is what they have requested, and I'd like to integrate this into the advisory panel that acts as 'mentors'; we would expand this to not only include NGOs and Schools but skill based organisations that work in these fields of interest.

-Assessment reports for the children: a parent made a comment about seeing progress reports for the children to assess their learning development. As this was intended to be a largely introverted process of individual development, the idea of rigidly assessing the children seems out of place, to me at least. So, the next step here is to work with the community to develop methods of assessment beyond traditional institutionalised practices.

Photo of AMPLIFY Team
Team

Hi Daniel, it's no problem - we'll find the answers to your questions in the comments! Thank you so much for this additional information!

Photo of AMPLIFY Team
Team

Hi Daniel,

As you know we've had experts review your idea. One of our experts had a comment for you. If you could please spend time addressing their comments that would be great.

"Need closer links/analysis of how this intervention meets priority needs of the target community. Needs to take thinking out a level to see how it will connect into the broader community (linking to formal education programmes, etc.). How to ensure quality of workshop facilitators/content? Specify target populations to narrow scope - subset based on age or other specifications."

Thanks!

The Amplify Team

Photo of Daniel Nasr
Team

Hi all,

Meeting the needs of the target community- both myself and the Syrian refugee community I am working with, through 'focus group'- type meetings and conversations, have identified two underlying problems that then formulate their other, smaller immediate issues. Those being lack of sustainable access to income and education. In my visits and discussions to other communities outside this specific one in the North (Plage Nour), they too expressed a need for education and some sort of steady, sustainable source of income. This is where this project came from- the immediate needs of the community. Yes, they also specified a need for immediate cash and food and medicine, but thousands of NGOs are operating on this basis. I wanted to instead offer a system of social empowerment and innovation that would provide these things, but through a framework of knowledge exchange.

Connecting to broader community- at the beginning of this project, I went about formulating a socially sustainable system- that is, being able to develop and operate without the continuous need for external funding and facilitation. This then developed into the need for external (public) engagement in order to culturally and economically sustain the system. This is now done with integrated classes and workshops for both Lebanese and Syrians, and open days (mentioned in an earlier comment) to engage the host community on the ground. Linking it to formal education is something we have not thought through, at the moment only providing formal educational institutions in the advisory panel to inform the development of the curriculum and the make up of the system in action. Situating the system in a formal education setting from the beginning, however, made it difficult to secure trained teachers or approved curriculum to begin the classes as soon as they did. The idea was to supplement formal education through an alternative. In the curriculum which I've uploaded as a supporting document, I explain why the 'normal' institutionalised system of education may not work as well as an informal community centric model for circumstantial migrant children.

Quality of facilitators/ content- I've tried very hard this year to act as a framework advisor, rather than attempt to run every detail of the system on the ground- this was to allow and familiarise the community to run their own model of education, following my framework and curriculum. Having said that, to ensure both quality of facilitators and content, at the end of every workshop the students/pupils are given a feedback form to be filled out and privately given to the head facilitator (or settlement focal leader). This is to then inform future workshops or even future facilitators. This is largely the case with Trade-based classes. With others such as Art Therapy and Safe Space, the network of advisors act as facilitator trainers and give them the initial skills and knowledge necessary to run these workshops. With proper assistance, I'd like to set up program scrutiny panels to oversee the development of each workshop as well as a development committee to assess the successes and failures of each workshop area. This is, of course, to be done after proper establishment and finalising the details and implementing the curriculum and framework as standardised methods of operating within this 'system.'

Target demographics- Initially, this project was centred around the needs of migrant children, and their lack of access to education. However, whilst observing the need for education and skill building among all ages and sexes, I found no need to identify a specific subset of the demographics as they face these limitations and intersectional oppression as a collective- adults needed education as well as income, children needed education as well as income, teenagers needed education as well as income. And all these interrelate. This is not a system for a specific individual, but rather for a collective of individuals who share experience and who share circumstance.

Hope that helps!

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Team

Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

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Team

Congrats on making it to the Refinement Phase Daniel! We would love it if you can take some time to answer the new Refinement questions that we've added to your original idea submission form. To answer the new questions, hit the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post. Scroll down to the entry fields of the new Refinement questions. Hit Save when you are done editing.

Also, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 5/11" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

Photo of ronald ssenfuka
Team

Hi Daniel,
You have an amazing idea, could you please share more on how it engages refugees.

Photo of Dina Bokai
Team

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for sharing this great inspiration. What I love about your idea is the capacity building component, getting the community to help out each other and sharing the skills with people from the world outside the camps. I also really enjoyed reading the stories in your attached document.

Having said that, I would love to see this project idea expand beyond vocational training. It would also be interesting to see how we can integrate some elements of discovering technology and ICT skills.

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Team

Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Thanks for sharing this community focused project. Great that the community plans to include the host community in their classes. Any thoughts on recruiting teachers from the host community as well?

As you mention that that in all the communities you visited there was little access to early childhood education this posted Idea might be of interest. https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/ideas/little-ripples-ponds

Photo of Daniel Nasr
Team

Hi Bettina, thanks for the earlier suggestion! I think bridging the communities with free cultural events is a great idea and will pass it on to Loula, the head facilitator! We've secured the participation of a local school in Beirut that will aid in facilitating teacher training workshops and more, if the community requests. Most of the children above 6 years of age are going to school through a 'second shift' the Lebanese education ministry is attempting to implement in public schools. It runs from 3-7 but bars anyone under 6 from attending. The problem is, is that many of the children in Plage Nour are under that age. So at the moment the current teachers can handle it, but should context change then they may need the host's communities aid in facilitation.

Thanks for sharing that initiative! I found both our approach's very similar, excited to see how that develops!

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Thanks for sharing this ongoing initiative Daniel. Were there any feedback and lessons learned from the trial run in the Plage Nour community? What might be some plans to scale this approach to other refugee communities? Perhaps you might consider helping people better grasp how this idea could play out by creating an Experience Map of the proposed activities you've outlined. Hit the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post and scroll down the the Prototype section where you will be able to access the Experience Map template.