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Ukrainian Library & Civil Society Create Platform to Engage Local Government

In January, the Kropyvnytskii central library in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, created an open forum for community members and local government to establish an ongoing platform for dialogue about development within the city. Since then, the library hosted 21 forum meetings attended by nearly 150 activists from NGOs, clubs, libraries and City Hall. With support from IREX’s Bibliomist program, libraries like Kropyvnytskii prioritize public access to information and offer opportunities for creative engagement between citizens and government.

In January, the Kropyvnytskii central library in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, created an open forum for community members and local government to establish an ongoing platform for dialogue about development within the city. Since then, the library hosted 21 forum meetings attended by nearly 150 activists from NGOs, clubs, libraries and City Hall.

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Ukrainian library open forum for community members and local government

Liberian Women’s Radio Listening Group Impacts Constitutional Reform

The women’s radio listening group in Kamara Town, Liberia is creating awareness and promoting community participation in the country’s national development. The listening group meets twice a week where the women sit together, listen to the radio, and discuss what they hear and how they can use the information to better their own lives and community. Early in 2013, IREX and its CSML partner, the Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC), encouraged the women’s group to listen to a weekly program run by the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) that had recently started on Liberian Women Democracy Radio. 

The women’s radio listening group in Kamara Town, Liberia is creating awareness and promoting community participation in the country’s national development. The listening group meets twice a week where the women sit together, listen to the radio, and discuss what they hear and how they can use the information to better their own lives and community.

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Women's Radio Listening Group in Liberia

Increasing Access to Information in Burma

For Burma’s people to participate fully in this period of accelerated development, they need broad-based access to information. The country’s thousands of self-sustaining community libraries are going to be indispensable in bridging those gaps, and through the Beyond Access, IREX is partnering with several organizations to help. The resulting project will establish a forum where a common discussion can take place among the library community and development stakeholders to discuss what a 21st century library should be for the country.The project will also help pilot modern information services in three libraries to forge a model for public access to technology.

In the village Nyaung Bin Pu, two hours outside Mandalay, Burma (Myanmar), a library built of thatch sits on wooden stilts near the central square. It is one of thousands of self-sustaining community libraries across the country. This one serves as a public space in the remote village, bringing reading material in Burmese and English to the community.

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Libraries offer existing infrastructure and are key development partners.

Filipino Teacher Facilitates Student Led Literacy Program

In the conflict-ridden Mindanao province of the Philippines, Zamboanga City High School is ranked second to last in reading proficiency. But Christine Guinacaran, a dedicated English teacher, is improving literacy in her school with a reading support group. The results are highly encouraging: tutees, including marginalized orphans, are now insatiable readers, reading 10 to 12 stories in one sitting. They read during their free time instead of listening to music or watching TV and are significantly improving their comprehension skills. These literacy skills will be invaluable to students as they graduate to higher education and to jobs, especially as the Philippines transitions from an agricultural economy to one based in services and manufacturing.

In the conflict-ridden Mindanao province of the Philippines, Zamboanga City High School is ranked second to last in reading proficiency. But Christine Guinacaran, a dedicated English teacher, is improving literacy in her school with a reading support group. The results are highly encouraging: tutees, including marginalized orphans, are now insatiable readers, reading 10 to 12 stories in one sitting. They read during their free time instead of listening to music or watching TV and are significantly improving their comprehension skills.

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Peer reading support group in Philippines

Integrating Low Cost Technologies into the Classroom

Although part of everyday life in American schools, the cost of integrating technology into classrooms is often prohibitive in the developing world. But recently, Indonesian physics teacher Berry Devanda found a way to include a less costly and lower maintenance technology solution in his classroom. He created a $100 interactive whiteboard as an alternative to the $3,000+ SmartBoard. With this adaptation of an existing resource, Devanda enhanced his students’ learning experiences and fostered an exciting and challenging environment in his classroom.

Although part of everyday life in American schools, the cost of integrating technology into classrooms is often prohibitive in the developing world. But recently, Indonesian physics teacher Berry Devanda found a way to include a less costly and lower maintenance technology solution in his classroom. He created a $100 interactive whiteboard as an alternative to the $3,000+ SmartBoard. With this adaptation of an existing resource, Devanda enhanced his students’ learning experiences and fostered an exciting and challenging environment in his classroom.

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Indonesian physics teacher Berry Devanda

A Regional Approach to Journalists' Safety

232 journalists imprisoned in 2012. 70 journalists killed. 456 journalists forced into exile since 2008. These journalists paid the price for simply seeking to practice their profession. Every day around the world, additional untold numbers of journalists are threatened and have their phones and computers hacked. These journalists and their colleagues live in a state of constant pressure and psychological stress. The field of media development has increasingly recognized that the physical and digital security of journalists must be addressed alongside reform of media laws, development of professional standards, and business sustainability.

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SAFE centers combine training in digital security, physical safety, and psychosocial care for journalists at risk in Central America, East Africa, and Eurasia.

Youth-Led Radio Bridges Ethnic Divide in Moldova

The hallways of Ion Creanga Theoretical High School in Micleuseni, Moldova are now filled with youth-focused news, public service announcements, and music for students, thanks to the “Radiolescenta” project implemented as part of the Youth Civic Engagement and Dialogue Program. Citing the lack of relevant and accurate information for their age, students created their own school-wide radio station to improve access to information for disadvantaged youth as well as to engage youth in resolving problems in their school and communities.

The hallways of Ion Creanga Theoretical High School in Micleuseni, Moldova are now filled with youth-focused news, public service announcements, and music for students, thanks to the “Radiolescenta” project implemented as part of the Youth Civic Engagement and Dialogue Program.

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For the youth participants, the radio station has been an opportunity to build tolerance and to serve a need they identified in their community.

Transforming Engineering Education in Iraq

Engineering students in the Kurdistan region of Iraq will soon benefit from new teaching methods, experiential learning in class, and courses that meet global standards. For these students, schoolwork usually has traditionally meant taking copious notes during lectures and memorizing textbooks to prepare for weeks of final exams. The graduates will become the engineers that Iraq relies on to rebuild infrastructure and create innovations after years of conflict and neglect; however, most of them will leave the university with little hands-on experience with real engineering projects. A partnership between IREX, the University of Duhok Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department in Kurdistan, and Michigan State University (MSU) aims to change this through the Iraq University Linkages Program (ULP).

Engineering students in the Kurdistan region of Iraq will soon benefit from new teaching methods, experiential learning in class, and courses that meet global standards. For these students, schoolwork usually has traditionally meant taking copious notes during lectures and memorizing textbooks to prepare for weeks of final exams.

Young Leader Gains Workforce Skills for Tunisian Economy

“Being a female in the field of technology in Tunisia is quite challenging … in Tunisia we still have that idea that women are still incapable to achieve what men can do in the technology field.” Houda is a Thomas Jefferson Scholar developing her technical skills in information technology this year in the United States through the Tunisia Community College Scholarship Program (TCCSP).

Tunisian Female Loves Technology“Being a female in the field of technology in Tunisia is quite challenging … in Tunisia we still have that idea that women are still incapable to achieve what men can do in the technology field.” Houda is a Thomas Jefferson Scholar developing her technical skills in information technology this year in the United States through the

Houda is working on a professional certificate in Local Area Networks at a US community college.

Evaluation Shows Multifaith Dialogue Has Community Impact in Iraq

An independent evaluation recently found IREX’s Uniting Communities Through Multifaith Dialogue (UCTMD) program improved the abilities of Iraqi faith-based organizations to facilitate dialogue, mitigate conflict and advocate for religious tolerance through the media. “The Uniting Communities Through Multifaith Dialogue Project has resulted in a generation that do believe in peaceful coexistence,” said Program Director Ahmad Suleiman Jaff. It has helped them “understand that they are human beings before being different.”

An independent evaluation recently found IREX’s Uniting Communities Through Multifaith Dialogue (UCTMD) program improved the abilities of Iraqi faith-based organizations to facilitate dialogue, mitigate conflict and advocate for religious tolerance through the media.

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In Erbil, volunteers staged a play on multifaith tolerance.
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