Saed Karzoun

Ashoka Fellow
Palestine,
Fellow Since 2015
Taghyeer For Social Media – Non Profit Company

Citation

This profile was prepared when Saed Karzoun was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
Saed is creating platforms that give community members of the Arab region—especially youth—hope, and motivates them to channel their anger and frustration into positive, constructive energy. Communities, particularly in the Levant region, plagued by sectarianism, conflict, strife and occupation tend to focus on short term means of survival and overlook opportunities for long term strategic development. As a consquence, community members neither have legal recognition of their rights as citizens nor see the point in civic participation. Saed is re-configuring the role of citizens by mobilizing the community to engage with social, political and economic causes. He is shifting the residents’ role from mere witnesses of public events and passive recipients of aid to active reporters and advocates of the change they wish to see.
Saed is creating a supportive environment for enhancing the culture of transparency, accountability and the right to access information. He is doing this by promoting freedom of expression online and its associated rights, particularly the right of access to information. Through access to information and the spread of a culture of changemaking and accountability, citizens are empowered to engage with the plans of decision-makers and their execution as well as the allocation of state resources.
Saed is achieving his vision through a two pronged approach. First, with a focus on youth ages 16 – 35 years old, he is empowering all citizens with advocacy, reporting and campaigning skills through trainings and mobile blogger buses which tour the country to mobilize citizens to document their daily lives. Second, he created a free and interactive online platform named YouKnow. The platform directly links citizens to decision-makers and intermediary groups such as Citizen Sector Organizations (CSOs) and media personnel; citizens can then interact with these groups: advocating for changes, demanding information from decision makers and conveying the harsh realities of everyday life. The platform displays user-generated content from the citizens who document their experiences using skills gained from Saed’s organization. From digitally recorded instances of corruption, discrimination, nepotism, misuse of public resources and state abuse, online awareness campaigns are created to amass witnesses and then directly reported decision-makers through interactions on the “You Know” platform. Decision-makers are accountable people inside ministries, municipalities, public institutions and private companies who interact with the public through Saed’s platform. Three ministries, the National Police Authority and fourteen municipalities have already signed on to Saed’s platform and interact with the citizens.
Saed’s plans for the future are to advocate, lobby and mobilize citizens to pressure the governments of the Levant region to pass and recognize the law of “access to information” which guarantees citizens’ rights—a law that has been in preliminary stages of institution for years.
Additionally, he plans to continue developing the culture of transparency among citizens by overseeing the implementation of the “access” law and encouraging its use for the creation of positive change across all walks of public life and interactions between the citizens and the state.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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