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Testimonials about Social Innovation in a Digital Context

A capacity building programme previously offered by Lund University

During the Social Innovation in a Digital Context programme, participants developed individual projects to help strengthen human rights and democracy building. Learn about some of our participants and their projects below.

Raheel Tajuddin Lakhani
Project: Chirag’an

Chirag’an is a project that aims to promote critical thinking and pluralistic values through child-generated stories. Furthermore, curating artefacts of digital storytelling on an online platform creates a sense of community and thus promotes freedom of expression.

What have you learned so far, and how has it inspired you to further your project?
"The participants come from different backgrounds and disciplines which challenges me and promotes new ideas. Through the programme, I have been in contact with different organisations related to my field and project and I have learned about best practices and new methods. It has also furthered me professionally by being introduced to other people who work with e-learning design. The knowledge I have gained will also further my aspirations to pursue PhD studies as the Faculty at Lund University mentors in developing rigour in your thought process as they come from multidisciplinary backgrounds."

How valuable has the networking aspect been within the group as well as outside the group?
"You make friends with people from different cultures. It’s really interesting to see how similar we are as human beings, but how different our environments and ideas are. I come from an academic background and some of us are more technical, thus we can exchange areas of expertise. What we are trying to achieve through this programme is to show that strength lies in diversity."

Walaa Ismail
Project: We are Here

We are Here is a project that aims to educate, research and create awareness regarding sexual reproductive rights in order to prevent abuse and violence related to gender and sexuality.

What have you learned so far, and how has it inspired you to further your project?
"It has been eye opening for me to integrate new areas of knowledge. I have always been focused on the medical aspect of sexual health and through the course I have been introduced to new fields such as the international perspective and international law. I have also learned about social change and social norms and how you integrate them. I have gained new knowledge and the mentors and professors have helped me on how to gain more information and thus knowledge."

How valuable has the networking aspect been?
"Some of the participants in SIDC have similar projects so they can learn from each other. And even if the subject in the project is not entirely related to your own you learn a lot. You gain connections with people from other countries and this has really broadened my mind. You will gain a wider perspective on everything."

Rania Joseph
Project: Merry Alexandria

Merry Alexandria is a campaign to raise awareness about the environmental human rights of the people of Alexandria as the city of Alexandria has fallen in to sanitary neglect. Volunteers and people interested in the campaign will be able to connect through an interactive website.

What have you learned so far, and how has it inspired you to further your project?
"A lot of participants in Social Innovation in a Digital Context are making good changes. Listening to their stories and experiences humbles me. It makes me believe that I can create change. During the programme I have learned a lot about different social norms, and this has been very important for me as Merry Alexandria has to address this."

Would you recommend other social innovators to partake in programmes such as SIDC at Lund University?
"Yes, I have already recommended my friends to do as I have. People in Egypt are trying to create a lot of change. Not necessarily political change, but to touch upon the basic needs of the underprivileged.  We need such programmes in Egypt."

Ishraq Al Fataftah
Project: Hands to Palestine Children

Hands to Palestine Children is a project based in Palestine that aims to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health issues brought by war. Through an online platform, children are meant to share their stories to the society as well as create a sense of belonging to a community that cares.

How did you get in contact with SIDC?
"Through a friend. She attended the Entrepreneur programme and she recommended it to me."

How has SIDC inspired you to further your project?
"During the programme I have been exposed to different courses, topics and visits. The situation in the Middle East is less than great and you can find similar problems in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Perhaps it is possible that I can extend my project to other parts of the region."

Would you recommend the programme Social Innovation in a Digital Context?
"Yes. You make new connections and you get exposure to different kind of views. It has been a life changing experience."

Aasia Niazi
Project: Break the Silence

Break the Silence is a project on online education based in Pakistan. It aims to teach the youth and their parents about the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights education in a context where the prevailing norms of the society prohibits it.

What have you learned so far, and how has it inspired you to further your project?
"I have been working with human rights in Pakistan within the context of the nation. But it is very different to learn from an international context and from a developing country such as Pakistan. Mentors have been guiding me through every stage on how I can learn how to embed concepts in to my existing work."

 How valuable has the networking aspect been within the group as well as outside the group?
"Within the group there are people with diverse backgrounds with their own social and political situations. You learn a lot from the diversity. The exposure and networking with different organisations and different people has been wonderful."

About the programme

Social Innovation in a Digital Context is a one-year Master’s programme arranged by Lund University Internet Institute (LUii) and Lund University Commissioned Education (LUCE) since 2012 on behalf of the Swedish Institute (Si).