Public Libraries – a gateway for empowering local communities

Several libraries in Palestine and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are becoming beacons for local community empowerment. These libraries are beneficiaries of the Libraries for Change project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Samer Khoury” library in Ein El Hilweh camp, a project beneficiary, is now offering IT training for its youth members. The youth were very enthusiastic during the interactive training and expressed their desire for additional training courses.

Such project comes under  the education program of the Welfare Association (Taawon) which believes that well-educated, critical and inquisitive individuals are the cornerstones of flourishing societies. Accordingly, cultivating these characteristics across generations of Palestinians is core to Taawon’s mission. The Education Program consists of various components, each of which invests in enhancing the quality of education at all levels, from preschool to university studies.

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Quality Education for Cocoa Communities

The Jacobs Foundation Livelihood Programme aims to improve the living conditions of families in rural areas of West Africa. The project in Ivory Coast has shown the importance of understanding and integrating social, cultural and economic realities of vulnerable communities into projects that focus on improving access to education.

Alongside the provision of technical support and entrepreneurship training for smallholder farmers, the project aimed to improve education at 7 schools in the region by supporting close collaboration between teachers, management, parent-teacher associations and the community.

In 2015, after gaining experience with the Livelihood Programme, the Jacobs Foundation has committed CHF 50 million to change the situation in cocoa-growing communities in Ivory Coast by implementing a comprehensive strategy to transform education, empower women, and ensure child protection.

This initiative is called TRECC (Transforming education in cocoa communities), and it builds on CocoaAction, an unprecedented commitment of the private sector to sustain the cocoa industry and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.

Making all voices count

Making All Voices Count is an international initiative that contributes towards effective governance and accountability by enabling citizen engagement and open, responsive government in 12 countries in Africa and Asia.

This Grand Challenge is committed to promoting transparency, fighting corruption, empowering marginalised citizens, and harnessing the power of new technologies to make government more effective and accountable.

It nurtures innovative approaches to strengthening citizen engagement and government accountability by:

– making grants and brokering new relationships to support the development of new ideas and the scaling-up of successful initiatives
– investing in capacity-building for funded partners and other stakeholders in the technology, citizen engagement and open governance communities of programme countries
– carrying out and commissioning research to build a base of evidence about what works and why
catalysing global action through engaging with policy makers, opinion formers and influencers in relevant debates.

Making All Voices Count is about seizing this moment to advance our commitments to promote transparency, fight corruption, empower citizens, and harness the power of new technologies to make government more effective and accountable.

The initiative in supported by Open Society Foundations.