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The OpenChabab Movement Reaches Fès

By: Sara El Ouedrhiri: PhD researcher, gender specialist, and independent author

Transforming youth into enlightened researchers, inclusive writers and active citizens through media literacy training and investigative journalism.

Training facilitator Sara El Ouedrhiri leading an interactive engagement activity to kickstart the sixth training session of the school of critical thinking. Photo by HAF

One year ago, I embarked on a transformative journey with OpenChabab as a trainee in its sixth cohort. My initial journey of three months evolved into six, then expanded to a whole year of collaborative work and ongoing learning!

OpenChabab opened the door to the daring world of writing and publication. It helped me forge lifelong connections and a steadfast commitment to shedding light on social injustice through the art of investigative journalism.

Inspired by this experience, my colleague and I – both graduates from Fès – committed to bring this program back to our city. Our vision was simple and clear: pay what we learned forward by giving youth from our region the same opportunity to learn, be empowered, and take positive and transformative actions in their communities.

And so, it happened!

A few weeks ago, we proudly celebrated the graduation of the first cohort of the School of Critical Thinking in Fès. Thirty students from the Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences affiliated with the fourth cohort of the Legal Clinic are now new members of the OpenChabab National Movement.

A group photo from the graduation ceremony that took place June 23rd at the Doctoral Studies Center – Fès. Photo by HAF

Over a period of ten weeks, these students had the chance to attend weekly sessions on gender equality, social diversity & equal chances, countering religious extremism & deradicalization, and participative democracy. They also delved into the world of media literacy and investigative journalism guided by Hicham Houdaifa, Sara El Ouedrhiri and Kenza Sammoud.

Here’s what students participating in the program have to say:

“First and foremost, The School of Critical Thinking has brought us the voices of people we struggled to hear and made us aware of their social issues. This has been reflected in the range of distributed books, which have greatly contributed to our education and added a special flavor to it.”

“I have enhanced my ability to critically analyze and objectively evaluate information. I have acquired the skill to identify and avoid cognitive biases. Additionally, I have improved my ability to construct strong arguments and persuasively explain my positions. My capacity for creativity and problem-solving has also grown. I have developed my communication skills, particularly in active listening and expressing myself clearly. My spirit of volunteering and altruism has also increased.”

“Before the training, I limited myself to reading study textbooks. However, during the training, I had the opportunity to read the entire "Enquête" collection by En Toutes Lettres, and it opened doors to a new dimension of reading for me. I was captivated by the topics discussed, the diversity of authors, and the unique perspectives they offered. This experience has inspired me to continue exploring this collection further and deepen my knowledge by seeking out other similar works.”

In the School of Critical Thinking we believe that impact is never complete if not multiplied, and that learning without practice is a work half-done. To achieve this, a selection of students from the first cohort will be ambassadors of the School of Critical Thinking by conducting similar trainings with younger peers from the city of Fès. Students will also get the chance to partake in their own collective book under the framework of the Enquête Collection.

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