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The German Federal Agency for Civic Education visits the West Bank with KAS

On August 20th and 21st, we hosted a small delegation from the German Federal Agency for Civic Education with its President Thomas Krüger. During one and a half days we met with Palestinians in Ramallah and Nablus, listening to their thoughts and opinions on politics and the civil society as well as the economic situation.

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The delegation together with some representatives of the Palestinian startup scene including Flow, Gaza Sky Geeks and Build Palestine
The BpB meets with young Palestinians from the startup scene

The first day in Ramallah began with a meeting with Startups Accelerators Incubators at the office of the Palestinian start up Flow, which is set out to provide Palestinian entrepreneurs and startups with the relevant skills, resources and the network necessary to establish oneself in the field. The meeting was joined by two other startups and partners of the KAS Gaza Sky Geeks and Build Palestine and together they shared their thoughts and gave insights into the current situation of the young entrepreneurial scene and specifically the challenges they are facing such as the establishment of a legal framework, the creation of an environment of knowledge and skill sharing and the acquisition of sufficient international outreach.

Dooz meets with BpB
The media platform Dooz and the BpB discusses means for civic engagement
Afterwards, the delegation met with Salem Barahmeh and Inès Abu Razek from the KAS partner Palestinian Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD), a young organization that aims to raise awareness about current issues in Palestinian society and develop Palestinian public diplomacy capabilities. The meeting turned into a lively and fruitful debate and both the delegation as well as the PIPD could learn from each other’s experiences of increasing civic education and engagement in society. The difficulty of the German perspective, in negotiating its special relationship with Israel while also supporting the Palestinian side, was also touched upon. The last stop of the day was the Nablus based Palestinian independent media platform ‘Dooz’, represented by Jalaa Abu Arab and its founder Abed Othman, which acts as a tool to bridge the gap between journalists and citizens in Nablus, the West Bank. They organize daily opinion polls, online dialogues between officials and citizens as well as training centers for journalists. The delegation was very interested in their work and they planned to organize a collective training day for both German and Palestinian journalists.
A summer camp group at the Yafa Cultural Center in Balata
The Yafa Cultural Center organizes summer camps for children

The program of the next day was continued in Nablus itself, one of the oldest cities in the West Bank, with a visit to the Balata refugee camp together with our partner Reform, The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development. The Balata Camp is the largest and most populated camp in the Palestinian Territories. We had the chance to speak to the chairman of the board of Balata, Tayseer Naserallah who provided us with an insight into the dire conditions in the camp where violence, lack of privacy, social unrest, lack of education and unemployment are omnipresent. Subsequently, we took a small tour through the narrow alleys of Balata and visited the Yafa Cultural Center where inhabitants of the camp receive psychological help and find a space to address their often traumatic experiences.

The narrow alleys of Balata refugee camp
The narrow alleys of Balata
Students of the Al-Najah University are sharing their thoughts on their studies, the Palestinian jobmarket and the impact of the occupation on student life
We get an insight into student life in Palestine

Afterwards, the delegation met with students from the Al-Najah University to gain an insight into student-life in Palestine, how the job-market is being perceived, the choice of their field of study and Palestinian-Israeli relations. Due to dire economic conditions and social restrictions, pursuing the studies of choice is not always possible so many obtain degrees in engineering or computer science. The students also addressed our delegation with questions concerning the lack of Palestinian coverage in German news and set a debate in motion about Germany’s delicate position in the conflict. The last stop was the youth organization Witness Centre for Citizen’s Rights and Social Development who works with the civil society, marginalized groups most notably, acting both as a capacity building center as well as rights education group. Both the senior members as well as the young volunteers shared their experiences of how civil society in the West Bank is positioned and what challenges they are facing.

 

The volunteers from the Witness Centre and our delegation
The volunteers from the Witness Center and our delegation

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Contact Person

Fee Brinkmann

Fee Brinkmann bild

Program Manager

Fee.Brinkmann@kas.de +972 2 240 4305 +972 2 240 4307

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