At the end of every year, we take the time at Ahel to reflect on it with a sense of celebration for the achievements that made an impact on people power. While it was hard at the end of last year to maintain a sense of celebration, our reflection still unveiled hope and an enduring capacity for change.
The past year has proved to be testing for Ahel and for the region as a whole. Earthquakes in Turkey, Syria, and Morocco, conflicts in Sudan, flooding in Libya, aggression in Idlib, and the ongoing genocide in Gaza affected not only our team but also all the organizers, activists, campaigns, and movements we are engaged with. Despite these challenges, we stayed true to our mission and values, banked on our team’s strength, adapted our work, and focused on continuing to build people’s power and organized collective action.
We remain true to our unwavering belief in People Power
During 2023, we focused on strengthening people’s capacity to organize for their rights across the Arab world by investing in:
- Campaigning and Winning: Coaching and accompanying grassroots change campaigns with social, political, and labor causes, actively working to impact change in their causes, and achieving justice and freedom.
- Agency, Leadership, and Organizing Capacity: Building the capacity of leaders who seek change through participatory leadership, organizing skills, building networks of right holders to claim their rights, to launch social, political, and labor rights campaigns.
- Resilience and Solidarity: Facilitating connections among organizers and campaigns we work with enhancing their resilience and the intersectionality of their causes. We organized convenings for campaigns to view themselves as active units within a broader social movement ecosystem and to exchange insights from each other’s experiences.
Community-based organizations explore and adopt community organizing.
In the upcoming five years, one of our key objectives is to forge partnerships with civic and community-based organizations in several countries in the region, encouraging them to adopt the community organizing methodology in their strategies. To achieve this, we have initiated efforts to acquaint these organizations with the community organizing approach and expose them to like-minded organizations who have already adopted the methodology in their work with right holders and communities. We look forward to engaging with more organizations interested in their methods in promoting leadership and organizing among their bases to demand their rights and achieve sought change.
Turning our focus to Palestine, particularly amidst the aggression on Gaza and the broader Palestinian resistance, we have diligently engaged with our partners, especially those on the international stage, holding them accountable for their stances regarding the unfolding events. We have also been part of collective efforts advocating for the opening of the Rafah crossing and others promoting boycotting Israel We have also contacted Arab leaders from around the world who have previously worked or learned with us, supporting them and coaching them in their action for Palestine.
Despite the inevitable challenges, the dedicated and faithful Ahel team, united by shared values and viewing their work as a genuine commitment to justice rather than just a job, has provided unwavering support to our community of campaign leaders. We must remember the support of our advisory board, which is generous with knowledge and insights and always helps us pave our way forward..
We look forward to this year and we renew our commitment to justice and freedom. We start with gratitude to our advisory board Dawood Kuttb, Lana Sweiss, Rama Halas, Randa Naffa, Naela Awad, Ahmed Awad, and Ikram bin Said who were there for us. We thank Ahel’s community, encompassing thousands of supportive friends and current and former partners. We also honor the hard work of leaders, organizers, and organizations whose journeys we have the pleasure of accompanying, teaching and learning with them.
Nisreen Haj Ahmad