Alleph is an interactive educational portal that connects Arab youth and public figures to build connections, and develop communication, and problem solving skills. Alleph will “gamify” collaborative writing on public issues, making it accessible for young people to think together to solve everyday problems, while contributing to the dynamic production of Arabic digital content. Collaborative writing includes elements of different media (print, visual, audio, video) and different genres (fiction, non-fiction, citizen reporting, etc.)
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
The project targets:
– Arab youth in the MENA region as well as in the diaspora.
– Arab educators (teachers, school leaders, members of community organizations involved in informal and non-formal education)
– Activists, bloggers, reporters, and other public figures
Young people, as learners, report challenges relating to the absence of opportunities to read/write about meaningful issues relevant to their lives. Recent mapping confirms lack of quality digital Arabic content, particularly DAC suitable for young people. Research suggests limited opportunities for active citizenship for young people. This project combines key objectives of (1) using technology tools to promote civic engagement (2) production of quality Arabic digital content through citizen journalism, writing, and rep
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
a digital story telling from the middle east – knoozroom.com / @knoozroom / facebook.com/knoozroom
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Apart from bridging the gap between the youth in the Arab region and their language, one of the main objectives of Alleph is to create relevant, current reading material and enrich the Arabic library.
Many of the stories that will be written will be about problems the youth face, and coming up with creative solutions.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established or plan to establish that will contribute to the success of the project.
Alleph has already partnered with a number of schools in Lebanon and the MENA to promote the platform as a tool that supports teaching, learning, and civic engagement in basic schooling for students aged 13+
Alleph is semi-finalist for MIT Arab Enterprise competition
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
Alleph will begin operation in September 2014 and will seek to engage 4000 students/young people in Phase 1 (September-December 2014). We expect the number of users to reach 10,000 by June 2015.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
Technologies involved include using Alleph, our custom web interface from laptop, phone or tablet. The participants will not have a high technical learning curve but rather a knowledge/story telling one.
Our partner KnoozRoom brings the coding and interactive digital story telling techniques as a skillset to build Alleph platform. This includes HTML5, CSS3, JQuery, AngularJS, Lavarel PHP Framework and MYSQL among others.
The Media we will focus on is illustration, sound and text.
Those technologies are most appropriate because they allow our audiences to collectively tell stories in an engaging manner and they can help us bring stories to the digital world and make them interactive.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
There will be no workshops. Alleph is a completely online platform.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
The project is led by an education team with extensive experience working with youth in Lebanon. The team includes expertise in educational technology, civic engagement, and Arabic language.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
The most important challenge will be getting youth to start using the platform to share their stories in Arabic, since there is a gap between them and the language which we are trying to narrow.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
1- Primary participants: joining, participating and disseminating contributions to Alleph
2- Local/Regional community: successful completion of at least one project that displays a creative discourse between participants around an issue of relevance and importance to the community
3- Regional/Global digital community: creating digital content in Arabic that is deemed high quality and invites readership
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
Estimated Dates Activities
May 1-May 31 Designing and setting up the “website”
Jun1-Jun 30 Pilot Phase
Jul1-Aug31 Get user feedback and update “website”
Sept 1-Nov 30 Start targeting schools
Dec 1-Dec 31 Get students and teacher feedback and update “website”
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
The money will be used to fund part of the website design for Alleph. The site will have multiple user accounts and will be designed with having game elements in mind (customizable avatars, point-collection, levels, etc.)
The website development will cost around $4,000 USD
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
Online support by spreading the news about Alleph in your community