Pull down the Fence (PDF) is a flagship project aimed at bridging the widening gap between Muslims and Christians communities within and beyond a select number of governmental schools in Egypt’s rural governorates. PDF has worked directly with religious leaders, school administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community leaders to promote and foster values of tolerance and acceptance. The project empowered these individuals as ambassadors of positive values to cultivate sustainable coexistence within their communities and beyond. Students were the key target group as it is of utmost importance for the future generations to learn the value of coexistence while they are young, to create a long-term impact that will work to reverse the growing gap between Muslim and Christian populations. Teachers were the second target group as they are well positioned to educate and mentor students about religious tolerance and inter-faith understanding. They play a crucial role in encouraging students to cooperate and engage with one another as human beings first and foremost. Like students, teachers carry the potential to multiply the effects of the project as they teach new cohorts of students year after year. Community members such as parents of participating students, school administrators, religious leaders, and active citizens. Community members were engaged so as to support program goals from all angles and build a supportive environment for coexistence.
Outcomes: More than 100 teachers from 26 governmental schools participated, including a mix of Christians and Muslim men and women. Schools included primary, preparatory and secondary vocational and non-vocational, allowing for the participation of a range of actors. Participating teachers selected five to ten students between 9-15 years old to participate in the activities, yielding between 500 to 1000 student participant beneficiaries. The achievements were tangible in forms of bridging the gaps between the stakeholders, community service culture embedding, historical & cultural workshops, crafts workshops, teachers’ capacity building on modern teaching techniques & parents’ raising awareness.