Although originally a training center working mostly for schools and educational institutions, Eedama has very early in its existence been asked to contribute to events, festivals, music concerts… in its own way!
There were some doubts at the beginning on how we could do that: Should we simply make a modified version of our kids’ workshops? Should we make signage, posters? Should we hold talks?
With time, and with the growing number of events we have been contributing to, we fine-tuned our approach, trying to combine between Eedama’s various values and the need for financial sustainability. Here, we would like to share with our readers the main ingredients of our recipe that has now reached some maturity.
-As a reminder, Eedama is all about concrete impact, our motto is ‘Realize Rethink React’ and we insist on the react, our approach can be summarized in ‘understanding for acting’.
Taking this into account, we noticed, with growing experience, that:
- We need to mix the nature of our activities: An event is usually open to the public, and even if there is often a main target audience (families, fancy youngsters, corporates…) it always gathers a large diverse audience, therefore, we noticed we can’t depend on one point. Of course, we are lucky enough to have a diverse portfolio in hand, and although the challenge is to use it all at once, that is definitely something that increases the chance of having an impact.
- We need to be flexible: When we plan something at a specific time it does not mean that it will happen exactly at this timing. Same goes for the location: A public event is inherently unpredictable, so go with the flow!
- We need to talk people’s language(s): I don’t just mean the languages as in English, Arabic, French… but also children, adult, scientist, corporate, people on a weekend, and people on a mission! We are the ones who want to send the message, we need to adapt.
- Be innovative, but keep the safe side as well: Developing new types of activities and testing them, certainly does not mean dropping the old ones!
Now let’s tell you about some of the experiences that made us reach those conclusions:
- When we first were called by Wasla Festival, we came with workshops for kids, at an alternative music festival – It was a great experience, but it was difficult to not notice that we were not talking the audience’s language. People were extremely nice and helpful, many participated and loved it, and still, did we make an impact? Not sure. For the following event, we decided to think about what’s people’s language.
- When we came to Times Square Center to run part of their ‘Busy Little Hands’ festival, we had activities specifically prepared for families, and we could feel the match: Shared activities, with playful aspects where both parents and children can make teams and play together, as well as some hands on activities for the kids whose parents simply wanted to roam around.
- About the same period we were called to contribute to a large part of Masdar festival, we applied similar concepts, but realized that we were missing something: YES the families are definitely there, but in Masdar there are other audiences, and one in particular: People already and genuinely interested in Sustainability… How to talk to those? Well, the following year we developed a new way of talking to the audience: The multiage talk which integrates both content and competition, to feed interested minds and hungry energetic kids! We also developed, thanks to the new forces joining Eedama’s team, the idea of street volunteering based theatre, and again this was definitely a new and very relevant way of interacting with an audience.
The theatre included performing skits that revolved around environmental topics such as pollution, carbon footprint, water importance, and the environmental crisis. Volunteers were divided into groups and were asked to pick a topic to perform for five minutes repetitively throughout the day. Each group consisted of a director (holding a play sign) that invites the audience to press play for the actors to start performing. After the act is done, the director engages the audience by asking them a series of questions to test their awareness and make sure the point of the performance came across.
With every event Eedama takes part of, we progress and evolve in order to improve our quality for future events. This is us talking to you, so we can’t miss this opportunity to tell you that we’re open to running more events and festivals, and to tell you about the impressive list of events we contributed to.