The year where the global pandemic changed all our plans; that’s how we will remember 2020.Though we had to adapt to all the cancelled seminars, travels, and workshops, it was a productive year. Only the numbers would tell how productive this year for us as a team: we were able to train 1493 participants on dialogue and its principles through our workshops and dialogue circles, we were also able to open the door for 26 new ambassadors for dialogue to join our team, we developed an online manual on dialogue facilitation and also update our dialogue handbook. Below are the most important Highlights of the year.
Dialogue online: Adapting to the new normal
Although, lots of big entities decided to pause all activities due to the global pandemic that hit the world, AFD was able to adapt with the new situation readily, and find an alternative way to resume all paused offline activities throughout tailoring the dialogical workshops to suit the nature of the new virtual life. Without doubt it was a big challenge but step by step it became easier especially after creating the online facilitation manual. Between coping with the situation and keeping everyone safe, AFD team believed that people during the pandemic are indeed missing social actions and need to feel the connection even if it’s virtual. It was the time people needed to express their feelings and discover more about themselves and the other in a safe space. A rich and diverse online community was created who attended our workshops and dialogue circles.
New Ambassadors Joining the team
Each year, Ambassadors for Dialogue “Egypt-team’’ opens a call to recruit new interested youth to join the project. In order to strengthen the network of volunteers, hence be able to integrate dialogue into more spaces and reach out to blind spots across Egypt. In 2020 AFD-Egypt accepted 38 new ambassadors with diverse backgrounds and experiences which brought rich perspectives and ideas. Although some differences were extremes, only dialogue was able to gather them all together.The new team ambassadors were coming from different walks of life, and they all met virtually then face to face. The new team were trained on how to host dialogue spaces so that they can spread dialogue everywhere they go.
The Creative Lab Program
AFD always cares about supporting the facilitators with different trainings, based on their various needs to enhance the dialogical performance. Since the end of 2018, the Creative Lab program has existed in the pipeline waiting to be released. Finally, in 2020 the program was launched in partnership with Mortagal team overcoming all lockdown obstacles thus AFD team is calling the Creative Lab the fruits of Covid-19. The Creative lab is a long training program aimed at creating new dialogical activities in addition to developing the current ones. In 2020 the creative lab was attended by 14 ambassadors and resulted in 12 new activities for enhancing dialogue skills. The new activities were developed, experimented, and revised by the ambassadors and are included in the updated version of the Arabic Dialogue Handbook.
Regional Dialogue Circles and Workshops
Although Covid-19 affected us negatively in too many ways, it also presented the online element to the workshops which helped maintain the team’s interest in dialogical activities through the pandemic. Ambassadors from Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia were able to meet virtually several times. AFD-Egypt organized 2 regional dialogue circles, one of which was about ‘how are we coping with the lockdown in our respective countries?”. 32 ambassadors attended and shared their thoughts and feelings. The 2nd was about Gender-Based Violence and was attended by 25 ambassadors. This opportunity gave more room for the national teams to connect across countries.
Biweekly External Dialogue Circles
2020 was the most convenient time to include external participants in AFD’s circles and do our best to reach out to new segments who haven’t attended any activities with AFD yet. Hence, AFD-Egypt implemented 21 external dialogue circles open to anyone who was interested to attend. During the whole year the circles were attended by 275 participants that found the circles the perfect chance to get into dialogue about specific topics and meet new people virtually during the lockdown. The main aim of the circles was that the participants are able to express themselves in a safe and healthy space, listen to the other and see the topics from a different perspective.
The main idea behind broadcasting a podcast was to create a platform that ambassadors can use to speak out their minds, express their feelings, and share their experiences with what dialogue means to them and how it helps them in their daily lives. We called it Dialocast. The main plan was to present its episodes in a dialogical way through interviewing the guests in person but after Covid-19 AFD team decided to continue working on this project, but virtually using zoom to record. The first episode broadcasted was about how the quarantine affect the interviewees lives.
Want to read more?
Read the article highlighting the activities of DEDI’s Culture Program HERE
Read the article highlighting the activities of DEDI’s Media Program HERE
Read the article highlighting the activities of DEDI’s Civic Participation Program HERE
This article is written by Amany Fayed.