As a virtual-learning expert, I believe in the democratization of knowledge and the power of digital means to transform society. In that regard, I have initiated and am currently developing projects based on combining multi-device learning with global community-building interactions. While focus is now on MESPERO, the synergistic projects described below will be implemented as time and resources allow.

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Digital Humanity for Youth

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Mental Health Digital Connections

Digital Humanity for Youth (DH4Y)

Digital Humanity for Youth (DH4Y) is a project to enable young people globally to address contemporary issues in the spirit of cooperation and tolerance. The method is multilingual virtual learning Modules developed and hosted by different pairs of young people; focus is on gender parity and including youth with a refugee or disadvantaged background.

Empowering Youth

DH4Y provides young people with a cooperative approach to digital storytelling. After receiving mentorship on how to conduct professional research, storyboard a virtual learning Module, and use specific digital programs to create meaningful content, pairs of multicultural young people are encouraged to create virtual-learning material on a topic of shared importance.

Given this hands-on process, each pair of young people creates impactful virtual-learning material, the making of which enhances their marketable skill sets.

Promoting Tolerance

DH4Y connects disadvantaged youth (including those in refugee camps) with other young people across the world, thus promoting social cohesion, empathy, and mutual understanding.

While exploring an innovative format to tell their individual stories, young people from different backgrounds cooperate within the context of social inclusion.

An added DH4Y bonus is the expansion of youth awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Encouraging Dialogue

During the development phase of each Module, the young creators will be connected to a variety of relevant experts, decision-makers and other entities reflecting the virtual-learning material topic. In this way, the young people’s networks are expanded and intergenerational cooperation is promoted.

After each virtual-learning Module is available online, the young creators subsequently serve as Digital Mentors; they facilitate information-outreach, community-creating and capacity-building interactions with other young people globally on an online basis.

Mental Health Digital Connections (MHDC)

With a background in Clinical Psychology, Heather Wokusch is developing is a pilot project for the Jordanian refugee camp, Za’atari. The Mental Health Digital Connections (MHDC) format is multilingual virtual-learning Modules combined with information-outreach and capacity-building interactions on an online basis. This human rights-based approach empowers target groups to express their concerns and challenges while impacting policy through advocacy. The intention is to scale MHDC to other refugee camps and disadvantaged areas (with a cross-cultural perspective) after Za’atari implementation results have been analyzed.

Building Capacity

MHDC addresses the intersection of mental health and human rights in the Jordanian refugee camp, Za’atari. Based on extensive research, we will devise a plan for virtual-learning material on mental health issues along with corresponding interactions to build capacity on related public policy and advocacy.

We will identify local Incentive-based Volunteers (IBVs) to scale the virtual learning material and deliver layperson services in their local communities, dispelling stigma around mental health issues, providing a range of basic mental health care interventions, etc.

The World Health Organization has noted: ‘We view the MHDC project as having potential and look forward to being informed about the results of its proposed research.’

Creating Sustainable Networks

We will build an informal network of professionals connected to mental health and public policy topics. Based both in Jordan and abroad, these volunteers will be available to participate in capacity-building digital interactions which we will later facilitate for Za’atari residents.

For example, the IBVs will be given initial access to the virtual learning material as well as online coaching sessions with external professionals as part of an introductory training course. When pre-determined criteria have been met, each IBV will receive a certificate and ongoing case-study coaching sessions from the external professionals.

Supporting Public Policy

We will devise policy recommendations (from both the digital interactions and in-camp workshops) and communicate them to decision-makers to support the target group in advocating for its rights. The project will be accompanied by awareness-raising media work in various languages.