Zikra promotes alternative learning to empower people to reconnect with their local culture and traditions, and to utilize local knowledge to inspire sustainable solutions to the local community’s most stressing social, economic and environmental challenges. Started in the marginalized village of Ghor Al Mazra’a in Jordan by two young social entrepreneurs, Zikra has two arms: the local non-profit organization Zikra Initiative established in 2007, and its extension Zikra for Popular Learning operating in the Arab region as a private enterprise since 2011. By bridging rural and urban communities, Zikra aspires to shift the prevalent consumerist culture to one of productivity.
Zikra receives the Prize for its “Zikra for Popular Learning Program”.
“Zikra for Popular Learning Program”
This self-funded programme challenges existing social systems and cultivates and utilizes the community’s local knowledge to inspire sustainable solutions to some of its most difficult social, economic and environmental challenges, in order to progress towards more egalitarian, inclusive societies. Zikra for Popular Learning empowers community members to redefine their relationship with their identity and culture, and to inspire sustainable solutions while also generating economic gains.
Its main activity known as ‘Exchange Tourism’ promotes equity by helping marginalized rural communities rediscover their strengths and by exposing economically powerful urban communities to new cultural and regional perspectives. Both parties engage in a two-way equal exchange in which each side learns and contributes. The tourism revenue is invested in the marginalized communities’ economic development, thus narrowing socioeconomic gaps.
Zikra also conducts capacity-building workshops and trainings in educational institutions to empower youth, educators and community members to become change agents for sustainable development. Other activities include a food value chain programme, making wire-car toys from recycled material as well as a musical identity project.
To date, more than 8,500 people have participated in Zikra for Popular Learning, 280 youth have been trained and 60 individual households have been economically empowered.
International Jury Recommendation:
“This exemplary project demonstrates a creative and dynamic response to local issues through using innovative approaches to learning which recognise and affirm existing strengths, cultures and traditions in communities and countries in the region, bringing these to bear on difficult social, economic and environmental challenges towards greater sustainability. Youths, educators and community members are empowered to become change agents for sustainable development. There is commendable demonstration of impact and potential for further growth, and replication by others.”
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