-Around 300 items of educational material (videos, posters, and posts) have been created and introduced attracting 137,699 views and 11,150 accounts.
47 young volunteers worked to develop content and introduce it through a variety of means, including the following:
-An online summer camp
-Health and well-being sessions
-Online Majd diary sessions
-Digital security and early marriage campaigns
-Question and answer sessions
Majd… a virtual ambassador for positive change
Majd (the same name is used for both the male and female characters) is Sharek and UNFPA virtual ambassador, a 12-year-old who advocates for positive change in the lives of Palestinian adolescents, who number approximately two million. Majd is brave, curious, and engaged; Majd wants to be a healthy, educated, and active Palestinian citizen, contributing to the good of the community, promoting gender equality, and combating gender-based violence.
Many challenges may occur as Majd navigates the complex road to adulthood: physical changes brought on by puberty coupled with rapid psychological development and an increased desire for autonomy and stability; peer pressure and potential harmful social norms; and many, many questions. To become a healthy and educated adult, Majd needs a supportive environment, a great deal of information, and many learning opportunities to help Majd a safe transmission from adolescence hood into adulthood.. With a generous funding support of Belgium to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Sharek Youth Forum developed a cartoon character illustrating a brave student who promotes gender equality and plays an active role in standing up for women and girls’ rights. Henceforth, introducing the general idea of positive behavior and masculinity through integrating it as an educational tool. Majd takes young people on a journey through adolescence using animated videos, a mobile application and educational diary, educational games, and theater-based awareness-raising activities, including school contests.
Palestinian society today needs new tools and methods to help adolescents and youth safely transit from adolescence hood into adulthood. . Majd is not just a cartoon character but stimulation for positive change and behavior that begin in childhood and promote long-term commitment to supporting human rights in general, women and girls’ rights in particular.
Majd’s long journey started in 2018, accompanying Palestinian children and adolescents through various tools and methods.
Majd’s journey invites young people and others including the media to engage in an innovative and unconventional initiative, bringing gender inequality and gender-based violence into mainstream narratives, rather than simply viewing them as issues relevant to women only.
Majd’s journey raises awareness about gender inequality within Palestinian society and how to change attitudes towards all forms of gender-based violence; it encourages young people to challenge dominant stereotypes and promotes young men’s engagement in advocacy for gender equality while at the same time increasing young women’s awareness and empowering them to reject all forms of violence against their peers, both female and male.
Majd “Brave Student” diary
The brave student, Majd diary was developed and updated based on the brave man diary developed in 2017 with the support of the Spanish Cooperation to UNFPA in 2017 which focused at first on teaching boys the concept of positive masculinity and their engagement in promoting gender equality. In 2018, the brave student, Majd’s diary was updated to raise the awareness of both boys and girls on concepts related to gender sensitive roles and responsibilities among school students and their families, teachers, friends and others, aiming at changing misperceptions and stereotypical behaviors of gender inequality associated with norms and traditions, that leads to gender-based violence in the Palestinian society. The diary has been used as an educational tool in selected public, private and UNRWA schools in partnership with the Ministry of Education, and UNRWA. Teachers and counselors have been trained on the use of diary where they facilitated class sessions reflecting for reflections about bravery, the perceptions of gender norms and violence. Through reflections, students talk about the value of domestic work and their mother’s role at home. They also discuss the fine line between societal gender roles and whether they can be crossed or not. Can men cook? Can women work outside the frames of the home? etc. This focuses on making these students advocates for women’s rights and roles.
The diary is one of the tools used by teachers, counselors, and parents not only to talk about the change in understanding gender roles, but also enhancing the dialogue with parents, friends, teachers on topics including violence and discrimination in the society.
Majd mobile application
The application introduces an electronic version of the diary through games and worksheets for positive practices in a variety of situations that the child may face at home, in school, and in the neighborhood and public places. The application includes digital security materials, animated videos, awareness-raising posters, and interactive games. Currently, more than 500 children have downloaded the application. The application is currently available on Google Play under the name رحلة مجد (Majd’s journey).
Majd against COVID-19
To respond to the worsening situation during the coronavirus outbreak, Majd decided to stay at home and engaged virtually through an online platform under the name رحلة مجد (Majd’s Journey) on Facebook. Through this platform, various programs were introduced to keep children and adolescents engaged during their homestay. Forty-seven young volunteers worked to develop content and introduce it through a variety of means, including an online summer camp, reading competitions, health and well-being sessions, online Majd diary sessions, digital security and early marriage campaigns, and question and answer sessions. Around 300 items of educational material (videos, posters, and posts) have been created and introduced attracting 137,699 views and 11,150 accounts.
You, too, are invited to meet Majd and Majd and join them on their journey.