Social impact is about the effect of an activity on a community and the well-being of individuals and families. Moreover, it's about turning dreams into reality, bringing hope and empowerment to communities in need, and supporting positive development.

To further MDF's mission of working towards a better world, we united our efforts with Sharek Youth Forumand NUFFIC/OKP on a learning trajectory titled Working Together Not Apart. The goal of this project was to build the capacity of community-based organisations in marginalised communities in Palestine.  

Sharek Youth Forum observed that most capacity-building is generally aimed at professionals working in non-governmental organisations. Hardly any support is offered to community-based organisations (CBOs); an intervention in this scenario is fundamental in creating positive change. 

How to effectively work together and not apart 

In this project, Sharek Youth Forum and MDF sought to build a common understanding among CBOs and the implementing organisations working with Sharek, focusing on gender-sensitive project management principles and advocacy. 

We aimed to create an increased level of knowledge and ownership regarding result-based management for CBOs, contributing to their sustainability for both men and women, and going beyond simply ‘counting the numbers’. Consequently, CBO staff would be equipped with the appropriate tools and knowledge to effectively implement their projects and achieve their desired goals. 

To accomplish the project's mission, the trajectory was organised in 4 stages: 

1- Capacity-building of 35 community-based organisation leaders (m/f/x) in gender-sensitive and transformative leadership 

2- Capacity-building of 35 community leaders (m/f/x) in results-oriented planning and management of their projects towards social change through easy-to-use tools for their power analyses and impact analyses 

3- Creation of a project manual to be used by community-based leaders, supportive to gender equality and positive transformation 

4- Strengthening the capacity of Master Trainers and equipping them with training and facilitation skills, as well as on-the-job coaching, to continue working with the youth programmes undertaken by Sharek 

The MDF learning facilitators, Jolanda ButerRhodé de Graaf, Lisa Freiburg, Pauline van Norel and Huda Laban, worked actively in these trajectories, coordinating the training sessions, coaching, and manual creation. 

"This project can turn people's dreams into reality", said Jolanda, who led this project. "The participants learned how to manage their own community projects driven by their core values and beliefs while using a gender-sensitive results framework". 


A manual to keep the learning trajectory alive 

At the end of the project, MDF developed a manual for community-based organisations, focused on inclusive leadership in a results-oriented development. The manual is available in Arabic and English and was designed alongside a Palestinian illustrator to make it localised and relevant for Arabic CBOs. 

Jolanda explains that the manual will be used as a working guide for facilitators and community-based organisations in Palestine to strengthen their personal leadership, helping them to work together on community-based projects as well as overcome stereotyping and fixed mindsets while working towards the realisation of their vision. 

The manual is one of the first to be published in Arabic. It will help members discuss collectively and exchange ideas on reaching community goals, while making a realistic plan. Furthermore, it will support the development of communities in which men, women, and children would equally benefit without exclusion.  

By Caroline Corso, Marketing & Communications at MDF