Without public life, no democratic society can be developed. In Afghanistan, there are hardly any parks, cafes or public places where people can meet freely, especially for women and girls; freedom of movement is strongly restricted. Mediothek's community centers provide a safe open environment for youth, women, cultural and social activists to meet and discuss freely, without fear. Open discussion cannot be taken for granted in Afghanistan, as the experiences of war has created a culture of fear and mistrust. Mediothek's Community Centers - Peacebuilding in Action The community centers promote tolerance, reconciliation and understanding in a number of ways:
- The educational programs in the Mediothek raise people's awareness about issues such as human rights, the functioning of democratic institutions, and conflict resolution.
- The community centers in Kabul, Khost, Jalalabad and Kunduz are accepted by the population as facilitators in local conflicts.
- The Mediothek is fostering national solidarity to overcome wide-spread prejudices by organizing exchange between people from different parts of the country.
- The cultural and educational programs bring people together and help to form new social ties beyond ethnic, generational, or ideological divisions.
- Reviving rich Afghan cultural traditions in music or poetry, Mediothek promotes the development of a positive national culture as against ethnic chauvinism and local divisions.
Safe open spaces for dialogue and reconciliation
Without public life, no democratic society can be developed. In Afghanistan, there are hardly any parks, cafés or public places where people can meet freely. Especially for women and girls, freedom of movement is strongly restricted. Mediothek's community centers provide a safe open environment for youth, women, girls, cultural and social activists to meet and discuss freely and without fear. Open discussion cannot be taken for granted in Afghanistan, as the experiences of the war have created a culture of fear and mistrust, which is kept alive by frequent threats from influential Islamist groups. Apart from discussion forums, the centers offer various civic education programs to inform the communities about the political, economic and social changes taking place in their country.
Supporting civil society
Apart from organizing their own programs, the community centers act as support centers for other civil society organizations, offering workshop and office space, consultancy, capacity building, technical infrastructure, and their social network. Some of these organizations and initiatives have become strong enough to move out of the community centers and stand on their own feet.
Unity in culture
Mediothek's cultural activities are an integrating factor in disintegrated communities. A concert or a literary evening brings people together and create a consciousness for common values and traditions beyond ethnic, ideological, gender or age divides.
The community centers are planning and implementing their programs locally according to the needs and cultural as well as historical sensibilities of the region. Their coordinators are distinguished personalities from the particular region with close ties to the local society.