These Cooperation Circles are working to improve the quality of life in Spain and Kenya by encouraging educational opportunities such as interfaith learning, human rights awareness, vocational training, and mentorship programs. By engaging community members of all ages and religious and cultural traditions, their work bridges the gaps left by harmful stereotypes and encourgages participants to work together, creating more opportunities for themselves and their communities.
Associació UNESCO per al Diàleg Interreligiós - AUDIR CC, Barcelona, Spain
Associació UNESCO per al Diàleg Interreligiós (AUDIR) promotes knowledge, dialogue, and cooperation among the various religious groups in Catalunya. This Cooperation Circle organizes exhibitions, gatherings, conferences, workshops and trainings about different aspects of pluralism and interfaith dialogue, involving about a hundred people from more than ten different religious traditions.
Other projects include publishing materials to bring knowledge and peace to people in the terminal phase of diseases such as cancer and AIDS, and working with police officers and civil society to raise human rights awareness. Additionally, AUDIR advances education for young people who plan to continue in this kind of work, so the young people can become leaders in their communities. “We also want to involve young people by providing them with resources, knowledge and a platform to share their experience, so that they can become leaders for positive change.”
Centre for Partnership and Civic Engagement Trust (CEPACET), Nairobi, Kenya
Centre for Partnership and Civic Engagement Trust (CEPACET) engages community groups of Muslims and Christians to work together on long-term projects focusing on education and agriculture.
“In one of our school projects, we had an incident where a Christian Religion Education (CRE) teacher converted to Islam and so teaching Christianity became a challenge for her. She therefore requested a swap where she could teach another unit besides CRE. This posed a problem for us because we were operating under a limited budget and so we could not afford to hire a new teacher for the subject … we still managed to accommodate her request. The surprise however came at the end when in return to the granted privilege, she worked twice as hard in her work and this is playing a huge role in the success of our school project.”
The Big Brother Society (BBS), Nairobi, Kenya
The Big Brother Society (BBS) is a youth-led Cooperation Circle made up of alumni from the Starehe Boys and Girls Schools that reduces stereotyping and prejudice in the younger generation by offering training and mentorship to schools. This Cooperation Circle visits schools and institutions, providing youth education. Topics include: “Lectures and workshops about leadership training for prefects and student leaders, time management, stress management, effective study skills, balancing between academics and extra-curriculum activities, purposeful living, unlocking one’s potential, self awareness, the making of a brand, the small things in life, communication skills, career guidance and counseling, laws of success as a student, and life after school.”