In partnership with Dar Al-Kalima College of Arts and Culture, DVV International in Palestine, is implementing “Stories of Palestine” project in cooperation with eight community centres for youth and adult education in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The project will last for three years (starting from the beginning of November 2020 until the end of October 2023), with joint funding from the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The project is consistent with the vision of DVV International to consolidate Palestinian culture within the local adult learning and education methodologies and as an essential part of shaping the components of the Palestinian identity. The project is based on investing in the large intersections between the fields of culture and education in order to involve Palestinian civil society institutions in the depth of cultural and artistic work, and to grant them the necessary tools to build cultural education methodologies to improve living conditions and to achieve steps towards reaching a local development in which the core values are justice and freedom, within an increasingly difficult global context on all social, economic and political levels.
From this standpoint, the project generally aims to enhance civil society's engagement in preserving, reinforcing and promoting the Palestinian culture.
As for the specific objective of the project, it is to strengthen contribution of Adult Education Centers in Palestinian rural areas and areas that are less exposed to the various artistic expressions in fostering cultural education and action.
"Stories of Palestine" project aspires to achieve its goals through three phases. Under each, detailed activities are built in order to achieve the comprehensive goals:
The first phase: Eight community adult education centers have enhanced capacities in provision of cultural education and cultural actions that promote local cultural heritage, active civic engagement of local women, men and youth, and values of tolerance and respect of cultural diversity. Through the following activities:
• Curriculum development.
• Capacity building of the management of targeted community-based adult education centers.
• Training of local adult educators.
• Support of start-up business in field of culture.
The second phase: Engagement of the targeted communities in cultural and artistic expression is enhanced through increased opportunities for quality local cultural education and action, Through the following activities:
• Implementation of local cultural activities.
• Documentation of local heritage.
The third phase: Public awareness about the Palestinian cultural heritage and narrative is improved through:
• A mobile cultural festival visiting three Palestinian cities.
• A mobile cultural festival visiting six European cities.
"Stories of Palestine" project is considered a continuation of the work of DVV International in local Communities. Therefore, the project is based on several concepts, the most important of which are: Promoting the concept of partnership with the targeted local communities as they are considered a genuine partner the project seeks to serve, and the need for the involvement of community centers for youth and adult education as a primary actor in adopting and presenting cultural learning programmes and preserving identity and cultural heritage in Palestine among many other programmes, while taking into account the sustainable development goals adopted by UNESCO as a reference, which mentions education in its various forms as one of the most important ways to achieve sustainable global development, including cultural education.
In Palestine, since the establishment of community centers for youth and adult education, the results of all the various needs assessment processes that have been carried out, indicated the importance of the centers' work on providing cultural education as an essential part of their programmes. The community centers for youth and adult education have already developed in their founding strategic plans their vision for cultural and community learning programs, as the conclusions and recommendations of the needs assessments indicated that "there is an urgent need to provide services and places not only to provide opportunities for education, learning, rehabilitation, awareness and education, but also to provide spaces for the participation of the local community of all groups in cultural life and to promote the preservation of the local cultural heritage."
The Community Centers for Youth and Adult Education have defined that among their main principles: “Reliance on the needs and interests of learners and society in designing the center’s programmes and services, innovation and creativity in providing education services for youth and adults, respect for diversity in cultures, respect the community culture and strengthening community solidarity.”
Consequently, the natural result was for the cultural learning programme to be an essential part of the programmes of the community centres for youth and adult education, which include:
• The Literacy Education Program.
• The Personal Empowerment and Professtional Development Programme.
• The Cultural Learning programme.
• The Community Learning and Participation Programme.
From here, lies the importance of the Community Center for Youth and Adult Education in providing opportunities for the local community to participate in cultural activities that express its identity, values and cultural contributions. As it also provides more opportunities for individuals to exercise their right to lifelong learning, and contribute to community and personal development, transforming the perception of community members, increase their involvement in positive societal change and in social, economic and cultural life, and strengthening community solidarity.