Strengthen civil society on mobile!

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This blog was originally published in Finnish on the Kepa blog May 24th, 2018, and is written by Auli Starck at Kepa. Kepa is an NGO platform and an expert on global development, representing more than 300 Finnish civil society organizations.

In cooperation with Funzi, Kepa has developed a mobile course to give citizens tools to defend the space for civil society.

The Civic Charter is a charter for civil rights, a tool to defend civil rights and freedoms. It discusses the rights of all of us to unite, meet, and express our views. It also reminds us of civil society’s rights and opportunities for participation, as well as access to information, funding, and cooperation.

Defending the space for civil society is at the moment topical in just about every country, as the annual progress report, State of Civil Society Report 2018 by Civicus, points out. One step towards supporting civil societies is raising awareness. It is precisely to address this need that Kepa developed the Civil Society Today mobile course with Funzi; a course that introduces the Civic Charter and civil society rights.

We hope that Finnish civil society organizations, together with their partner organizations, will actively take advantage of this course, published in English. In emerging countries, the smartphone is more useful for many than the computer. Because the course works directly in the browser, it can also be used on all phones with an Internet browser.

Meanwhile, we have gained valuable experience using new learning platforms - in this case, mobile. Along with traditional on-site training, we at Kepa also want to offer opportunities for new kinds of learning. Mobile learning can be utilized as such or as one tool in training programs, or even in communication and global education.

“Funzi has had nearly 6 million users, mainly in the developing markets in Africa and the Middle East,” says Saila Kokkonen, Account Manager at Funzi.

“This experience strengthens the fact that mobile is an extremely important tool in people’s everyday lives. Not just in communication, but also in taking care of errands and increasingly also as an enabler for continuous learning,” Kokkonen adds.

For Funzi, cooperation with Kepa has brought an important addition to the courses openly available for everyone at www.funzi.mobi, most of which have previously focused on developing skills for entrepreneurship and job-seeking. The intent is to also support the wholesome development of individuals and communities, which is now in part enabled by the Civil Society Today course.

You can also get acquainted with Funzi and Funzi’s courses at the World Village Festival on May 26-27, 2018, in Helsinki, Finland (R515).

So grab your mobile and start studying the Civil Society Today mobile course now. And once you finish, remember to sign the Civic Charter!

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Auli Starck
The author works at Kepa as programme adviser and civil society expert.
Find Auli on Twitter: @AuliStark