Closing the 2018 GATHER Fellowship with social innovation and reflections
As the 2018 GATHER Fellowship is coming to an end we spent the last week in Athens with our partner Seeds of Peace to wrap up the programme and celebrate this year’s Fellows and their work to transform conflict through work that supports refugees, encourage integration, and re-builds conflict affected communities.
During our days in Athens we had the opportunity to share learnings and insights from the past year as well as explore some brilliant social innovation initiatives in Athens. We visited Skaramagas Refugee Camp where about 2,500 refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are waiting to find out if they can stay in Greece.
Many NGOs are working in the camp to support the people living there with food, clothing or language courses. One of them is our GATHER Fellow Anis who set up El Sistema Greece to teach refugee kids classical music. We spent a truly inspiring afternoon with Anis and his colleagues where we saw high professionalism, true dedication to share the knowledge and passion of music as well as the desire to make kids smile.
Values and principles
We took part in a workshop with FC Barcelona Foundation where we learned about the principal values of the foundation during a football game. The values where respect, effort, ambition, teamwork and humility and we had the opportunity to discuss how, via sports activities, these values can be communicated to children and how they can prevent social problems such as exclusion and marginalisation.
With an international set of Fellows from various parts of the world, Athens in Greece was chosen as the location of the closing event because of it being easy for most to travel there but also because it’s the home of democracy and philosophy. This was a good based on which to build our conversations and the reflections we are shared during the closing sessions.
Professional and personal development
The closing event included various sessions with the Fellows to explore their learnings during the programme and to support them going forward. The first night was a f*ck-up night where we all shared our failures to create an atmosphere where no one feels alone in making mistakes. Everyone does. But the perception of failing is often viewed negatively and kept private so we wanted to make sure we released the pressure and stress and instead laughed about and shared constructive feedback.
We touched on topics such as planning your upcoming work to track and achieve expected results. And we also discussed a healthy work-life balance, the struggles of being a social entrepreneur, running projects, and always being responsible for everything. All Fellows were ever so supportive and shared great tips with each other to ensure everyone can combine these things whilst also staying motivated and not stressing too much.
The end but beginning of something new
As this year’s programme is coming to and end, we’re very much looking forward to developing the 2019 Fellowship. All Fellows, Seeds of Peace staff and the SE Forum team took part in an evaluation session, hosted by our Impact Team member Oren Ipp, to reflect on the 2018 GATHER Fellowship. Grateful feedback was shared but also constructive ideas and suggestions on how to make next year’s programme even better. Key things we’re taking with us is the fantastic passion and commitment we’ve seen from the Fellows, and the amazing community of changemakers we’ve seen develop over the year and that we’re hoping will continue.
The support they’ve given each other, to inspire and motivate towards new ideas, and share friendly advice when someone’s struggling.It’s been truly inspiring and we’re very proud of the 16 Fellows who are working in some of the world’s most difficult places in some of the most difficult situations. Their innovative solution to create and better life for people affected by conflict have inspired us throughout the year and we wish them all success going forward!