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Post-revolution Egyptians launch initiatives to sustain social change

Since the 25 January Revolution, countless initiatives have flourished to secure and sustain the new values that the upheaval sprung upon Egyptian society

Amira Noshokaty , Monday 14 Mar 2011
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Among the countless initiatives that have sprung out of the energy generated by the 25 January Revolution, we have selected three different models to give a taste of the long-awaited social change.

Al lagna al shaabia le taweiat ahaleena fe rief wa saaid Misr  - (The people's committee for raising awareness of the constitutional rights of our families in Upper and Lower Egypt). This is the brainchild of Reem Shaqweer, a music teacher and composer. Shaqweer first created this facebook group to network with volunteers in Upper and Lower Egypt in order to promote the idea. She sought the expertise of a lawyer who volunteered to facilitate the basic constitutional and voting rights into short points.

 "The idea is to raise awareness among average citizens  on how important their vote is, what parliament means, and how to monitor the parliament member they have voted for," Shaqweer explained.

The idea, based on individual volunteers, attracted lots of citizens from Beni Sweif, Minya, Sohag and Alexandria respectively. "As a starting point, we are finalising a draft on simplified constitution clauses, which will be discussed in our weekly awareness sessions, with volunteers that have agreed to devote two to three hours a week to this cause," she said.

On a similiar note, Esha Masr Betetghayar(Wake up, Egypt is changing) is an initiative by young resident of Al Hay Al Sabea district in Madinet Nasr. The facebook group was created during the revolution, explained Doaa Ahmed, a college student and founding-member of the group.

"It started out as a venting place for people to express their opinions about  all the events we were going through.  However, it has taken on a bigger role when people who joined decided they wanted to be proactive in their community,” she added.

“We started organising events and meeting points every Friday and we began by cleaning and repainting the sidewalks of our neighbourhood.  Now with over 179 members we are in the process of creating our own Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO), so that we help our neighbourhood as much as we can. We are thinking of numerous projects, one of which is to help financially-constrained people in our community with painting and we even have two sponsors already to help us,” Ahmed concluded.

On another level, one of the most interesting initiatives is Om-eldonia (Mother of the world) a non-profit online media initiative. "The idea came to us during the revolution when our local media was biased and did not reflect the truth.  So we thought of creating a media that is objective," explained Ahmed Allam, one of the founding-members of Om-eldonia.

Having noted that numerous post-revolution initiatives are either long- or short-term and range between creating political parties and cleaning initiatives, “we were leaning towards creating an intermediate initiative that is consistent", continued Allam.

After the 25 of January revolution, their plan is to be part of developing individual thinking and perceptions in general. The website includes radio, video and written material that aims to raise awareness, through a team of professional media, marketing, and script directors who have agreed to volunteer their efforts for the cause.

Having come across numerous unique post-revolution initiatives that were not in the limelight, Om-eldonia has created a database for all such initiatives to enable networking and media exposure. Moreover, Om-eldonia will also act as a means of social media, open to new ideas, suggestions and volunteers.








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