Contribution details

Sabeel Promoting Democracy among Christians 2016-20

Activity start: 1/1/2016 - Activity end: 12/31/2020

Strategic Partner organisation Diakonia
Swedish responsible organisation Diakonia
Local implementing organisation AL SABEEL CENTER
Region West Bank and Gaza Strip
Sida department Unit CSO
Strategy South
Sector group Democracy, human rights and gender equality
Conflict peace and security
Sectors Democr. particip. & civ. society, Human rights, Civilian peace-building, conflict prevention and resolution
  Budget Outcome
TOTAL 1,878,380 1,878,968
2016 360,000 360,000
2017 477,000 477,000
2018 360,000 360,000
2019 340,690 341,278
2020 340,690 340,690

Description, goals and expected results

Overall Objective: Strengthening Democratic Culture amid Local and International Churches/Religious Leadership by Empowering the Palestinian Christians to Advocate for Policy/Structural Changes that Would Contribute for an End to the Israeli Occupation and for the Establishment of an Independent Democratic Palestinian State.. Specific Objectives: 1-      To empower rights holders, particularly young men and women, to go through a democratic dialogue with church leaders in order to be able to influence the churches’ decision making processes. 2-      To promote networking between local Palestinian Christians and global Palestinian advocacy community through coalitions building to raise awareness among rights holders and to lobby the international community on the needs and aspirations of local Christians.   Sabeel 2016-2018 project will address the problem of ideological extremism and how to counter fundamentalists and use religion and faith to promote democracy as a culture among all right-holders. The articulated methodology to achieve these ends is by increasing grassroots empowerment through faith-based education and increasing unity among moderate voices for advocacy campaigns. Sabeel’s work will embrace publishing core manual on moderate religious teachings, establishing an advisory group with experts in experimental and community-based education, hold 10 education sessions on religion and interfaith unity, and lobby decision-makers to change unjust laws and policies through the creation of national and international coalitions and the conduction of international confrerence to enhance networking.  On the local level, the project will strengthen the democratic culture by promoting a democratic dialogue between the local Palestinian Christian community and church leaders.  First, it will gather the local Palestinian Christian community to speak with each other in a way that empowers them to later express their experiences, needs, and aspirations to church leaders. By gathering through meetings and educational tours, the members of the community will see that they are not alone; they will see that they have many common concerns and needs. Meeting will allow them to develop ideas and strategies for speaking with church leaders. As a result of the meetings and educational tours, the community will create an informal network of local Christian community leaders. Second, this project will open a democratic dialogue between the local Christian community (rights holders) and church leaders (duty bearers) to address the numerous problems within the church and with its policies and actions regarding the occupation. For many members of the community and many church leaders, this will be the first time that they are sitting down together to talk. It will therefore be the first time those church leaders listen to the experiences, needs, and aspirations of the community.

Results achived by the end of the activity period

This project mainly contributes to results within Democratic culture. Summary of results for the strategy period 2016-2020: Democracy - Democratic culture. Diakonia has supported Sabeel’s project entitled “Promoting Democracy Among Christians in Palestine / Israel” during 2016-2020. Sabeel have been able to monitor several outputs and outcomes from the project that exceeded expectations. The positive response and receptiveness of stakeholders reflect both the importance of this project and its relevance. Both the church local leadership and grassroots leaders have shown interest and the need to create platform for dialogue between the right holders and the decision makers. In different areas, the decision makers offered three unprecedented opportunities for the right holders to take the lead in implementing grassroot initiatives in the community on the national level. The establishment of functional 36 dialogue platforms, is one of the most important outputs and outcomes of this project. Below are the timelines of progress of achievements on the output and outcome levels: Year 2016- 8 groups – 1 decisions of a local church was altered Year 2017 – 10 groups -3 decisions of a local churches were altered Year 2018 – 7 groups - 7 decisions of a local churches were altered Year 2019 – 9 groups - 11 decisions of a local churches were altered Year 2020 – 2 groups - 9 decisions of a local churches were altered Through these groups Sabeel are monitoring that in many Churches that the dialogue between the Church and the community has improved, people feel that there is a new and safe place to express their opinions and feel they are being listened to. In their last meetings with facilitators of the groups and meetings with the decision makers in the Churches, Sabeel have been able to see that people speak more openly about their concerns and are becoming influential on the decision makers. Sabeel are also witnessing that the decision makers are becoming more attentive to the concerns of the rights holders. 24 groups have had 72% success rate to either recommend or amend specific decisions of clergy. Sabeel is very much satisfied with reaching the target groups according to the agreed upon plan with Diakonia, and Sabeel believe over 65% of the groups can deal with the challenges that could affect its continuity. Sabeel’s major concern are the internal disputes that continue to affect many of the churches as some church leadership continue to impose harder restrictions on what people can and cannot say. Sabeel will monitor and evaluate the restrictions and consult with partners on the best way to encourage the Church leadership to be open for dialogue with the rights holders. Sabeel are aware that 69 different issues have been discussed openly during 2016-2020 with the Church Clergy because of facilitation group and 31 issues have been followed on by the Clergy.