Knowledge is Power

Idit Sargusti, a mental health coordinator for NIF grantee Bizchut: The Israel Human Rights Centre for People with Disabilities, and Nirit Moskovitz, director of The Social Guard, another grantee that promotes civic engagement, are two social change forces to be reckoned with in Israel.

Recently, the two activists came together as part of Shatil’s pilot programme The Greenhouse: Developing Transparency Initiatives. The Greenhouse project was inspired by the need to create more democratic infrastructure in Israel.

Through the project, Idit and Nirit, along with a host of representatives from other prominent organizations, learned from each other about issues relating to social change.

As Idit explains: “By learning more about disability issues, The Social Guard can be ‘the eyes of the disabled’ in the Knesset on many different issues.”

“I was surprised to find out that the need to have free access to information is not obvious to everyone,” said Nirit Blair, executive director of the Movement for Freedom of Information. “I was so pleased to be able to educate people about what we do and what is available. I also developed my own knowledge of their organizations.”

As part of the program, participants engaged in an activity called “Challenge the Expert,” which gave NGO professionals an opportunity to present a project and ask for advice from the various experts. Later, the professionals could meet with the expert who seemed to most suit the needs of their projects.

“It was a win-win situation for everyone. The encounter was so natural. The two groups of organisations had so much to learn from each other and were so appreciative of the opportunity to teach about what they do,” said Shatil consultant Milana Yaari. “Shatil has a very expansive view of the arena, the different actors and how to create a platform that makes all the organisations more effective.”

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July 2016