Filed under: Development 2.0 Peace and security Social innovation

“We spend much of our time worrying about our ideas being truly innovative. Better, faster and newer. But the truth is, the essential elements of innovation are patience and team work.”

When we started with the idea of a platform which would bring together the work of NGO practitioners from all around the area, innovation was at the forefront of our planning.

And to get the best ideas out there, we launched a Fund and made it all about knowledge innovation. We started by getting several strong ideas, and as time passed we realized that innovation became a tangible value when we worked diligently, taking into account the creative input of many people.

You need your practical minds to ask “how will this work,” some aesthetic feedback to make sure it looks pretty, a tech person (or two) to get all the technical stuff right and a communications team to make sure you get the word out and do justice to the work. Most of all you need patience and loads of “yes, but,” “ahah,” and “duh” moments.

When it’s time to explore the interactive tools on the space of creativity which is mahallae, it is this type of spirit which will welcome you. At the moment, a handful of innovative tools which push civil society into new and exciting paths, reaching new groups and engaging in different conversations. The tools include the following:

Shared Worlds with pie chart logo

Shared Wor!ds: The game was developed by a Turkish-Cypriot Greek Language learner and a Greek-Cypriot linguist, combining experiential and academic knowledge. SharedWor!ds is an on-line language-learning game, part of the  SharedWords project aimed at  learners of Greek and Turkish. It utilizes common words shared by both languages  and uses the learner’s existing knowledge of Greek or Turkish to make language learning easier and more fun.


circle with ribbon logo - lessons from cyprus

Collaborating into the Future: The Management Centre of the Mediterranean and the NGO Support Centre developed a video webinar, which explores the case study of the collaboration of the two organizations, one Greek-Cypriot and the other Turkish-Cypriot, and how they dealt with challenges in Cyprus, a post conflict society. These organizations built up a successful relationship with each other centred on trust and developed a unique way of working together. An additional aim of the webinar is to present their collaboration as a possible model for others to follow.


3 lines Digi Wisdom, for mediators, and trainers

Digi Wisdom for Mediators and Trainers: The Mediation Association and Conflict Resolution Trainers Group, a pioneering groups of peace makers, initiated this project. On a map of the region, mediators and conflict resolution trainers share their experiences and insights via short video clips. The individual stories recounted highlight the vital role that training in mediation and the resolution of conflict can play in bringing about reconciliation and lasting social change.


Power of sport on crinkly paper background

The Power of Sport: Animated videos and learning guides by Peace Players International, Cyprus. The tool is a series of five short animated films accompanied by learning modules and facilitators’ guide. The films illustrate how sport can be used as a tool for peace building and share the methodology used by PeacePlayers International in their programs in Cyprus, the Middle East, Ireland and South Africa. The films can be used by organizations and coaches looking to use sport as a tool for conflict transformation.

The learning modules are targeted towards young people aged between 14 and 20 (on average) and can be used by practitioners and coaches in the field.


Learning can be fun, with black and white photo mosaic

Nicosia is Calling: An online game developed by the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research and a group of inspired collaborators. Geared towards children aged eight to 14, it is also suitable for adults who want to travel through time!

The game combines history and learning about the city of Nicosia as it stands now, familiarizes the player with Nicosia’s rich cultural heritage and its multicultural past and imagines the city in the future as a unified whole. The game uses a map of the old city within the Venetian walls to take players on a virtual journey.


ccmc story, logo shown on island of Cyprus

The CCMC Story: A series of infographics and visuals by the Cyprus Community Media Centre. These capture the story of the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC), from the birth of the idea to the present, as well as serve to bridge the gap between civil society and the mainstream media.

The site also illustrates ways civil society can acquire its own distinct voice and how collaboration has been encouraged between two entirely separate (Greek language and Turkish language) media networks on the island. The tool is enriched with hyperlinks, images, videos and “how-to” features.  It aims to inspire others in conflict situations who may be considering their own community media initiatives.


Youth Power logo, with web menu underneath

Youth Power Line: An online platform developed by Youth Power, a network of four diverse, Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot organizations, focusing on youth activism.The platform developed for young people who want to take their life and their future into their own hands and discover creative possibilities to help them navigate their way through times of financial and emotional depression. is divided in two sections: entrepreneurship, for users interested in social or corporate business and youth, for users interested in culture, youth activism and the creative arts.

As we anticipate showing the amazing work done by creative teams to the world in the imminent launch of mahallae, we will begin to introduce the projects through the blog posts. Stay tuned!


*This post was originally published on mahallae’s blog.