From Barcelona to Girona through the Middle East

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As there are many challenges in the Mediterranean region, an idea was born to bring a group of activists together from the region and other European countries to find possible ways to collaborate and start common projects. Following the idea, participants from Palestine, Belgium, Tunisia, Italy, Catalunya, Jordan and France travelled to Girona to take part in a Midi Memes Training devoted to social activism conducted by trainers: Ingrid Danckaerts from SCI Catalunya, Sabina Jaworek from SCI Belgium and Hamza Alshayeb from Space for Sustainable Development from Jordan.

Presentations of each other’s NGOs may sound cliché but it is an essential first step to begin with. Speed dating way to present the profiles of participants’ NGOs made everyone focused on each other’s objectives, struggles and plans. All the details came naturally as the group got together.

We will quickly take you on our boat through the Mediterranean shores. The training was organised by Space for Sustainable Development from Jordan, SCI Belgium and SCI Catalunya who also hosted the event. From the south of the Mediterranean Sea came also Popular Struggle Coordination Committee and Baladna from Palestine, Youth and Change from Kurdistan and Volontaire Sans Frontière from Tunisia. The team was completed by the Italian and French branches of SCI.

The training was an opportunity to confront our conceptions of activism which is a wide idea. The purpose was not to come up with a single definition but to go in the same direction when it comes to social activism in our countries and organisations. We started from meeting a local group of volunteers from the two organisations to understand the Catalan context. We realised that the help is needed in the north of the Mediterranean region as well as in the south of it.

From brainstorming to group debates, we managed to come up with various activists’ actions whether it would be resistance, experimentation or to share a new vision (REVE by Patrick Viveret). The great advantage of the training was the fact that even though there was a different activism experience between participants, everybody contributed to the workshop. 

As the 100th anniversary of SCI is coming soon, it was important to reflect on the past and present activism of SCI peace and volunteering movement. It showed us what volunteers of SCI went through and achieved during this time. One of the biggest SCI achievements is to be a common platform for volunteering exchange which meets social needs of different places around the world. From the SCI plan of action for 2020, it is important to mention projects that the participants of Midi Memes training will work on together and launch in the future. The common projects were established by participants from different Mediterranean organisations which involve building an eco-village in Jordan, developing political tourism, as well as organising a video making training for activists.

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It is impossible to conclude the story of Midi Cat Memes training because it has just began as friendships were established, common projects developed, and hope boosted. That moment when we stop talking and start acting is the core of activism. 

Participants of Midi Memes Training in Girona, November, 2019

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