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Consolidation of Democratic Awareness in Egyptian Society, 2012


Association for International Affairs (AMO)

The project of the Prague-based Association for International Affairs (AMO) aims to lend support to the wave of enthusiasm for citizen participation in public affairs in Egyptian civil society. The project concentrates on elaborating reform narratives and agenda through training, capacity building and networking of young writers and debaters in Egypt's regions. is a website and a strategy for citizen participation. For the successful reform process to succeed, citizens need to actively participate in it. The basic participation consists in formulating citizen's needs and demands locally and erecting them so into political agendas. For that, citizens need to develop public communication skills, be it writing or debating. CIVIC POLE aims to assist existing efforts in creating an empowerment structure for local initiatives: it is being built up as a publication space, a network, an event agenda, a democrat’s library and a continuing source of skill acquisition.

A project started with a series of trainings. In May and June 2012 AMO organised in Cairo 2 three-day workshops on journalism. 25 young non-professional journalists from Egypt's regions took a professional training course with a well qualified British-Egyptian trainer from the BBC. The training focussed on journalism strategies and skills, that is, on journalism as a civil service and on practical exercises in journalistic writing. With the assistance of the trainer, the participants have developed stories on local issues and citizen participation.

At the end of June 2012 AMO organised a 2 day training course on debating leadership. AMO invited 25 leaders of debating clubs from the Nile Delta to Cairo to focus on different debating models and techniques with two well qualified trainers from Prague and Cairo. During the training, the rehearsal debates focussed on citizen participation and corruption. After the training, debates and further trainings were organised using the provided training materials in Ismailiya, Port Said, Cairo, Mansoura and Alexandria.

A public debate on “Rule of Law, Citizen Participation and Anti-Corruption” was organised at the Syndicate of Journalists on June 19 by a partner organisation parallely to the training. Czech experts Stanislav Beránek (Transparency International) and František Havlín (Agora CE) debated with Egyptian experts Habiba Mohsen (AFA) and Roaa Gharib (AFTE) on strategies of civic participation in Czech Republic and Egypt after the revolutions of 1989 and 2011.

2012 was completed by a two-day training for the consolidated editorial group on December 18 and 19 in Cairo. 4 professional journalists presented journalistic work methods with focus on ecology and worked on story development of articles on environmental issues in Egypt.

The outputs of participants of both training courses are being continually published on project website. An informal editorial team was set up under the supervision of a skilled Egyptian mentor-trainer. CIVIC POLE further developed cooperation with Madara Online and with the Arab Spring Collective network for a further extension of the project.

Financial support of the MFA CZ: 1 188 592,- CZK