Community empowerment describes the ability of communities to function and grow in harmony together rather than in conflict, and it has a strong links to concepts of equality and diversity. Cohesion can only grow when society as a whole recognizes that individuals have the right to equality (of representation, access to services etc.) and respects and appreciates the diverse nature of all components. For that and more, Kesh Malek started the Community cohesion program with aim of engaging the community in decision making, and ensuring that all individuals come to expect the same rights and treatment. The program works through a group of activities and projects targeting youth, IDPs and Women considering them most vulnerable groups in the community.
With the aim to amplify the youth voices to speak up and motivate them to be more involved in public life, Kesh Malek started a program in early 2018 to create youth groups in all its community centers inside Syria (Kafarnaha, Big Orm, Abzemo, and Mare’e) called the Youth Citizens Clubs “YCCs”. The YCCs are envisioned to be the grassroot youth arms of Kesh Malek which will 1) reach enthusiastic young males and females who are interested in leading the change in their communities, 2) empower them, 3) work with them to identify their priorities as youth, 4) connect them with different important stakeholders, all in order to improve their representation, and support them to work for their rights, shifting them from inactive to active community members, instead of completely depending on others and blaming the community for not fulfilling their needs. The first phase of the program included creating the clubs, building the capacity of the clubs’ members in advocacy and community mobilization in addition to conducting several volunteer activities and advocacy campaigns.
As Volunteering help Civilians to gain confidence and to make change in their communities, Kesh Malek started “Kesh Malek Friends Club “as an open space to those who have the experience and want to share with others. The Club gives people the opportunity to be part of the community and participate on social life. We now have a group of volunteers among Kafarnaha, Abzemo, Orem and Maree’, who are providing lesson for students and participating in social and political events.
Kesh Malek works in this project on supporting and empowering initiatives and evolving civil society organizations, in order to empower the Syrian civil society aiming to strength general civic life in Syria. The value of this project has emerged based from Kesh Malek organization seeking to support grass-root civil societies and local initiatives to be pressure groups, and to impact the community changing process. Along with its important role in the monitoring process, to maintain on governance basis and principles.
Kesh Malek organization worked in 2018 on supporting and empowering six evolving local civilian gathers in western Aleppo suburbs distributed over five cities and villages, where the six evolving gathers were chosen based on specified criteria.
Ten activities implemented as well:
- Civil society organizations management
- Projects management
- Strategic planning
- Human resources management
- Financial management
- Communication skills
- Monitoring and evaluation
- Grants and fundraising.
Also supports these six gathers through to develop the vision, message and goals and prepare the organizational structure and rules of procedures through 2018.
Kesh Malek seek in this project to increase community control on local councils through community participation of the citizens. And conduct meetings and regular seminars between local councils and citizens to discuss the development, current events and living condition and discus the service problems and search solutions for it. And exchange thoughts and hear the citizens complains and suggestions regarding the local councils work.
Based on Kesh Malek keen to support gender equity issues and marginalized groups. Also sessions and regular category based meetings between local councils and women, youth, and forcibly displaced people to increase their effectiveness and participation in public affairs and decisions making
The community participation contributes to increase citizen feeling in the importance of his\her voice and exercising his \ her freedom of expression on opinion and dissemination of ideas related to authority responsibilities towards the people. And the monitoring role played by community in following local councils work. Besides to enhance transparency value through local councils sharing the projects and activities they have done with citizens and answering their questions and strength principles of accountability by community.