This perspective was contributed by Basil Ibrahim, New Tactics MENA Trainer.
The Lazord Fellowship program is one of the programs implemented by mySTARTUP Business Incubator under the INJAZ organization and it is a unique opportunity for recent graduates in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region who are passionate about creating positive change within their communities. This highly selective program, which is implemented in Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia, accepts only 12 fellows annually from each country through a four-stage selection process.
The fellowship is intensive yet extremely informative. It focuses on four main components:
- Training: The fellowship offers a comprehensive range of training sessions on various topics such as effective leadership and management techniques, enabling participants to better lead their organizations and teams.
- Job placement: The job placement component allows fellows to work in real-world situations for one year with partner host-organizations. It provides fellows with an actual position and job description. Fellows receive the same treatment as any other employee and have the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals and experts in their field.
- Research: The 12 fellows participating in the Lazord Fellowship Program are divided into four groups, with each group consisting of three fellows. These groups work on a research paper that focuses on a particular social cause in their countries. For example, my group and I worked on a research paper in the field of climate change titled “Jordan Valley: Climate Change and Gender-based Violence,” where we studied how climate change exposes female workers in the agriculture sector to gender-based violence in Jordan Valley.
- Mentoring: The Lazord Fellowship Program emphasizes the importance of mentoring, which is a crucial component of the program. Each fellow is matched with a mentor who provides personalized guidance and support throughout the program. The program's mentoring approach is designed to help fellows build their skills, enhance their knowledge and increase their ability to create positive social change in their communities.
New Tactics in Human Rights and the Lazord Fellowship have maintained a successful partnership since 2015. Since this time, New Tactics has accepted four different fellows. During their time at New Tactics, fellows are given a variety of tasks that help them develop their skills and gain practical experience in the field of human rights advocacy. These tasks included:
- facilitating training sessions
- conducting research
- contributing to the development of advocacy strategies or activities
- giving mentoring to actual advocacy campaigns and
- the chance to make interviews with the training’s applicants.
In addition to the tasks given to fellows, New Tactics also provides a solid orientation program to ensure that fellows are prepared to contribute to the organization and make the most of their experience. This includes an introduction to the organization's work and meetings with different colleagues from different departments. New Tactics also provides fellows with the opportunity to travel and attend conferences and workshops related to human rights advocacy. This allows fellows to network with other human rights activists and gain valuable insights into the challenges facing the field in the MENA region.
As a Lazord Fellow, I was placed as a MENA Training assistant at New Tactics in Human Rights in 2021. My experience there has been extremely beneficial. On fact, they provided me with an ideal start by first allowing me to attend their Regional Training for Trainers program as a participant – which was a great foundational step into my role. Then I was equipped to lead sessions in the following Regional Training for Trainers. This amazing opportunity has enriched my knowledge in the Strategic Effectiveness Methodology, as well as my practical experience in conducting and facilitating training sessions.
During my work with New Tactics, I had the opportunity to refine my training and facilitation skills, gain valuable experience in advocacy and human rights and build connections with human rights activists in the region. This experience allowed me to grow as a trainer and gain practical experience in a field that I am passionate about. I couldn’t have achieved all of this without the organization's support, guidance and supervision. Overall, my work with New Tactics was an excellent opportunity to develop my skills and experience in the field of human rights advocacy.
As I write this blog immediately after the Lazord graduation ceremony, I am still filled with gratitude and memories from the exceptional year I have had. To add to the excitement, I have now been hired as a MENA Junior Trainer at New Tactics after my year with the organization as a fellow. This accomplishment is a direct result of the unforgettable experiences and opportunities that were provided to me over the past year.
Overall, the fellowship with Lazord and the job placement with New Tactics in Human Rights were without a doubt a valuable experience that has an enormous impact on me personally and professionally. I received the knowledge and skills I needed to develop into a responsible leader. This has given me an urge to change the world for the better, and I now have more confidence in my abilities to do so.
Today, I am genuinely thankful for taking part in the Lazord fellowship and for New Tactics for selecting me for the MENA Junior Trainer position. I’m incredibly excited for what the future holds and extremely happy to see myself in a role that perfectly suits my strengths and passions.