When working on an initiative you will of course face challenges from all aspects. However, before moving in order to implement a possible solution to a problem that you are facing, it is important to step back and explore the root cause of this problem. As a community mobilizer, it is imperative to dig deep to understand and acknowledge the context that the problem is situated in and the factors contributing to it in order to develop the best possible solution with the community involved. Well intended solutions that do not correspond or engage to the context that a community is in, may often lead to more harm as unexpected consequences and reactions may occur in the community as a result of this disconnection.
Sham’s Network: Part One
Baraa: Yes 800 people, which is approximately 200 families.
Serene: Exactly, we chose the families that are most vulnerable; who really needed this aid, to ensure that nothing goes to waste or vain.
Baraa: And the people we were reaching were Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians, and with the work itself in the kitchen, you would find, like Seren was telling you and telling the world on social media, so that people could help even if it was just volunteering time, you would find pictures of the women, that live in those refugee camps, that were hosting us, they were all in the house that was our safe space. At the same time, you’d find a guy sitting in the circle, with his long hair up to his back and beard up to here (gestures to his chest) with tattoos and piercing being very hipster and mincing parsley, you get what I’m saying?
A young man or woman, Lebanese, with broken Arabic, he’d be sitting with them learning how they dice onions without tearing up, someone else was…
Serene: For example you had Michelle, shouting at Mohammed, it was so funny …
Baraa: And some were moving the pots and pans and others, and it stops being a chore. We are just some guys and girls fortified with the aid of local volunteers going to the refugee camps, titles stop existing, you get me? There is no longer a “project manager” … I had the sack of rice on my shoulder, Serene was carrying the pots and so were the folks with us, some of them truly didn’t speak a word of Arabic, you see them carrying the container full of ghee and running across the refugee camp after us…
Serene: and like truly other than the food, there were people who expressed that they just by being there they felt satisfied, nourished… it was really special and you know what else was special, I’ll give you an example. I think it was Fadel, there was a boy who comes everyday, we didn’t know who his parents are but we knew he was one of the citizens of Sabra, every day he would come and take two bags, that happened for the first few days then he started taking 3 bags and saying for my family. After a while the kid was taking 6-7 bags and every bag had a meal. At this point curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to ask him, so I said “Fadel we have no problem with you taking all these, I just want you to tell me where these are going so I can make sure they are reaching people who truly are in need”…
Baraa: Fadel is 11 years old…
In your mobilization e-Portfolio, answer these questions that are attributed to the But Why? Approach section on your form.
- What do you think of Serene’s reaction?
- What do you think the context is that made Fadel take more bags of meals every time?
- What do you think Serene’s reaction should be to deal with this situation?
Sham’s Network: Part Two
After forming an initial opinion on the issue at hand, in this video Serene and Baraa tell us the context of the issue and what urged Fadel to do so.
Fadel taught us that… Of course we faced a few issues. To give you an example, since the refugee camp encompasses a vast variety of nationalities and a lot of sects and different groups, we were facing an issue that some armed areas were saying “ we want from the food you are making” and you can’t say no because you are in their territory, ok, so to fix that we had to deliver food to the families of those armed groups that lived in the middle of the refugee camp. To reach the most number of people we are forced to do that. Sometimes the children and the volunteers faced issues because people were stealing from them the meals, so instead of fighting with those who stole the meals we were like “ok brother, come to us, we are here, register your name and how many people are in your family and we will deliver it to your door” there is no need for you to steal, it was great, the change, he couldn’t comprehend the initiative, no one had ever told him about it, he was asking how he would come to get food without having to do anything. That in on its own, for me was the change I wanted to see, I felt that this social work was working out.
Baraa: We finished Ramadan, so they returned to their jobs, actually their daily tasks for a better term, it became that instead of only being busy at home at Maghrib time (sunset) when she can come and help us during the day, we had 10 women helping us, she now had to go back to prepping breakfast, lunch and dinner on top of cleaning, they had to return to the daily routine. So from every day in Ramadan we began cutting down to one day a week, their rest day, which is a Friday, it’s the day everyone in the family gathers around for lunch regardless of the time, so we kept doing it on Fridays, we kept doing it on Friday for… 6 months?
Serene: (nods) maximum…
Baraa: Less than 6 months.