Since December 2012 Sadaka Reut has been leading “Margins to Mainstream” (M2M) a 2 ½ year long, EU funded program implemented with partners Mahapch-Taghir and Oxfam GB. From the day the project commenced till today (mid-April) more than 30 activities were held in the framework of the program which is focused on building Jewish-Palestinian Partnership as a conflict transformation best practice.
One of the most important aspects of “M2M” is the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning process the three organizations have decided to undertake. Though the three implementing partners have extensive experience in conducting bi-national programs, the MEL (Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning) process will help to consolidate this experience and expose it to other organizations and stakeholders. Another goal of the MEL process is to give the implementing partners creative monitoring tools and innovative learning methods to expand the organizations’ ability of extracting the important insights they collect along the way.
In this context, March was a busy month for M2M as two major MEL actions took place. The first one was a comprehensive survey done for the first time on all of Sadaka Reut’s and Mahapach-Taghir’s participants, with almost 200 Palestinian and Jewish women, men, youths and university students participating in the survey. The survey checked participants’ attitudes on several issues like identity, tolerance, confidence in communal initiatives and Palestinian-Jewish partnership. The task of surveying such a big and diverse audience (in 2 languages…) was not an easy one but the results of the survey, which were presented by the survey conductor, Ms. Dahlia Scheindlin, were encouraging.
“The participants’ perceptions of other communities outside their own, particularly regarding Jewish-Palestinian relationships, reflect more openness and positive attitudes than among the general population; the majority of participants understand and support the organizations’ notions of partnership and believe it to be a feasible basis for community action. The majority identifies and opposes discriminatory behaviour; and at least on the community level, shows a strong sense of agency”.
The second MEL activity that was held in March in the framework of M2M was the external training workshop facilitated by Mr. Giovani Sgobaro, an international expert on MEL and Participatory Monitoring that has been working in many grassroots projects in Africa over the last ten years. In his intensive week-long visit Mr Sgobaro conducted visits to Sadaka-Reut’s and Mahapch-Taghir’s community activities, as well as workshops with staff of both organizations and meetings with M2M’s steering committee. Mr. Sgobaro’s trainings were enriching and fruitful as they opened the organizations to learn about themselves and about improving their work on all levels.
In his final session Mr. Sgobaro gave the joint steering committee some valuable advice: “Nurture your genuine curiosity to know more about yourself in an open, respectful way. Continue sharing questions about Jewish Palestinian Partnership with volunteers, coordinators and community members… make them collective questions you can explore. Recognize that you are one of the actors in a very complex environment… You can make a significant contribution to a more peaceful relationship between the different communities that live in Israel, but don’t feel you are the only ones carrying this responsibility. You live under pressure… in a challenging environment… Allow yourself to learn from mistakes, and don’t take them as personal failures… ”
Sadaka Reut, along with its partners: Mahapch-Taghir and Oxfam GB will continue to explore Monitoring Evaluation and Learning in the coming months as part of M2M. This is indeed only the beginning.
This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Sada-Reut and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.