In collaboration with grassroots leaders and community organisers in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, ELS has successfully implemented its first capacity building session on “Democracy Cake” in Switzerland. The session took place in the afternoon hours of 26 November 2017 in Luzern. The session was conducted by Dr. Daniel Mekonnen, Director of ELS.
Developed by researchers of the Norwegian Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, the “Democracy Cake” is an interactive teaching methodology or “a discussion based board exercise which aims to broaden the understanding of what constitutes a democracy.” By way of stimulating a deeper understanding of the subject, the methodology employs the metaphor of “bakery” in building a free and open society using the most essential ingredients of a democratic order. It is best suited to grassroots leaders and community organisers, including diaspora actors. The Tigrinya version of the teaching methodology, dubbed “hmbasha dimokrasi,” was translated from English by Eritrean scholar Dr. Nazareth A. Kifle.
In July 2017, a similar session was conducted by another ELS member, Ms. Kisanet Yemane (in collaboration with Dr. Mekonnen), in the city of Lillehammer in Norway, on the occasion of the annual congress of PEN Eritrea. In total, there are three ELS members (including Mr. Seghed Hagos, the treasurer of ELS) who have taken the training of trainers course on “Democracy Cake” offered by the Norwegian Rafto Foundation for Human Rights. Building on its existing pool of expertise, ELS plans to conduct similar capacity building sessions, targeting Eritrean diaspora community leaders and grassroots organisers throughout Europe, and gradually in other places.