Academic SupportDardachat: Peer-to-peer learningAmman and Beirut
Mosaik EducationAuthor: Miki Aristorenas and Oussama AlGhamian
Navigating higher education systems in unfamiliar countries is not easy. Mosaik’s Dardachat programme is a platform for students in similar situations to share ideas, provide support, and build a community.
The program is co-led by a team of students and refugees of various nationalities. The experience of these Student Ambassadors makes the content relevant and accessible. The content they create is aimed at advising and supporting fellow students and refugees who are looking to get to university.
Content is broadcast through Facebook Live sessions and videos. Online events are followed by local meetups for students to discuss challenges and take action.
This year Mosaik has a team of six students in Lebanon and Jordan who lead planning and content creation. Since the start of 2019 Dardachat online content receives an average of 1800 engagements per week from young people in Jordan and Lebanon.
Dardachat is a flexible program that provides responsive and appropriate support for peer-to-peer learning and information literacy.
Having been provided a platform, resources and tools, training and regular support, student ambassadors draw from current and past experiences and those of their peers as refugee youth in Lebanon and Jordan to create Dardachat content on advising or supporting higher education access.
Online, youth share their stories and lead discussion, creating learning opportunities for peers in the Dardachat community. The student ambassadors collaborate with their peers and network to share local or global opportunities bridging connections among peers in the local and global online community. They share relevant information resources that members of the community can react to, respond to or share with their own networks.
Offline, student ambassadors have the agency to co-construct knowledge and develop relevant solutions alongside their peers by gathering informally and collaboratively with youth in their community.
As Student Ambassadors, we learn to work within a global team, master effective communication as facilitators of meet-ups and improve time management, English language skills and digital skills.
From engagement insights gathered on our Facebook page, various surveys and qualitative interviews, we have found that Dardachat helps student refugees become informed of local and global opportunities, scholarships and training; become motivated and confident, and are provided a community— a “place where you can express yourself, your ideas, and your thoughts…it is too hard in the Middle East – where refugees are neglected – to find a platform that gives refugees this space.”
As a virtual platform, limited internet accessibility and tech-illiteracy form barriers for refugees.
It is challenging for Student Ambassadors, as refugees, to work in a country they feel is “working against them or at least does not help them,” and movement is limited, making it difficult to cover other areas (i.e. outside of Beirut).
“Our main goal is to help the refugees reach higher education, since it is a necessity nowadays, but for a person who is suffering to find his/her daily meal, shelter, and the minimum healthcare, higher education is not at the top of the priority list.”
Various actors could similarly embrace a student ambassador model and work alongside a team of students in their region of work to co-design and co-lead the learning of their peers. This would empower learners to own and better connect with material they are learning and ensure content is relevant and timely, as it has been for Dardachat.
This model, according to Student Ambassador Oussama, allows refugees to ‘be updated’, ‘become motivated and increase self-confidence’, ‘build a wide network’, ‘become fearless’, ‘get constructive feedback to develop and improve yourself’ and ‘gain new skills and have nice discussion with peers (not only refugees).’