Switchboard

Switchboard

Latest Podcast

Latest podcast alert! When second generation diasporas join students societies, it presents a great example of how youth can develop skills, create networks and most importantly advocate for their beliefs and their home country’s issues.

We have Lily, a young activist with a bright future, who is in discussion with Bara’ah Dalati, our technical lead for Syria. One of the keystones of our switchboard project is intergenerational learning and here it is in practice. Lily is also a volunteer with one of partners in the switchboard project, SCAN UK (The Syrian Charities and Associations Network).

We try to focus on the capabilities of the students in the Syrian Society and  try to shed light on current and recent events after 2011 but not limited to that.

[We are] Bringing a Syrian voice to the SOAS campus so people don’t forget Syria and what is happening in the country.

Listen, learn and share!

Switchboard Podcast 002

Our latest podcast in the switchboard talks series features Hazem Rihawi, the Senior Programs Manager at one of our switchboard partners, the American Relief Coalition for Syria (ARCS), in conversation with Bara’ah, one of our technical leads. It demonstrate the need for advocacy for humanitarian work and explores ARCS’ approach to advocacy by working with policy makers and use of evidence and research. Listen/watch to learn more.

In any government around the world, you have elected policy makers, officials and representatives at any level..who usually dictate policy…so maintaining that constant connection with these officials is important for us to build a better understanding of the situation of the humanitarian crisis which will lead to better support from that country, whether political or financial.

Hazem Rihawi

We can finally announce news of our latest project with USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. During a time when humanitarian needs continue to grow globally, USAID recognizes the importance of supporting diaspora-led innovations that bring in new voices, skills, and abilities to save and improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people

“Business As Usual’ just doesn’t cut it in today’s connected world. Faced with increased crises globally, institutional humanitarian systems have not adjusted to this changing world. THAT is what makes this project even more exciting and pioneering. This project is set to test and incubate new approaches to aid pioneer transformational humanitarian action through a combination of technology and old-fashioned knowledge.”

Bashàïr Ahmed, Shabaka CEO. 

#technology #digitaldiasporas #project #poweringupdiaspora

About Switchboard

Switchboard is a pilot and innovative project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Shabaka, a values-driven, diaspora-led consulting and research organisation focused on diaspora humanitarian preparedness, and response. Switchboard is a project designed by and for the diaspora.

Using technology, it aims to facilitate connections among different generations and networks of diaspora actors to encourage knowledge exchange between communities and generations and produce new ideas related to humanitarian action.

Its main objectives are to :

  1. Improve the reach and impact of diaspora humanitarianism through the development of an innovative Switchboard, which will include a mobile application and a dedicated microsite with different content 

  2. Increase and sustain knowledge and access to education on diaspora humanitarian engagement, especially for 1.5 and 2nd generation diaspora  

  3. Strengthen diaspora networks, bridging generational divides, to improve capacity and action in response to humanitarian crises 

It is designed to become a resource hub full of practical advice for diaspora organisations and individuals involved or interested in humanitarian response, a first port of call for diaspora actors who would like to learn more, contribute or act within humanitarian contexts. This hub will also share cultural resources to remind first generations of home, even in the most challenging times during crises, and to encourage younger generations to (re)discover their familial countries of heritage.

This pilot focuses on three countries: Haiti, Sudan, and Syria, whose diasporas have been active in mounting a humanitarian response to recurrent crises, over generations.

This project is being implemented with partner organisations from these diasporas, namely Governance Programming Overseas (GPO), Haiti Renewal Alliance (HRA), The Syrian Charities & Associations Network in the UK (SCAN UK), and American Relief Coalition for Syria (ARCS) to collect vital insights on their needs when responding to humanitarian crises.

Youth Consultations

The youth consultation activity is a series of three online consultations initiated to bring youth together, learn from them and collaboratively identify priorities, triggers and links that can inform how they relate to their countries of origin, especially Syria, Sudan and Haiti, and evaluate their interest in humanitarian action.

Additionally, these consultations will provide a diverse, participatory, and safe space for youth from the targeted diaspora to share perspectives on the Switchboard project, which will feed into the next phases of the project, and especially the hackathon.

Beyond the project, we aim to create a community of young practitioners, keen to improve diaspora humanitarianism and act as a youth committee for the Switchboard and future activities.
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