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French Connection

By Raheel Mohammed

 We have just returned from Paris where we are beginning to work with organisations on the ground who are tackling social issues affecting disadvantaged communities. 

Over the past few years Maslaha has worked across a number of fields including health, education, women in Islam, and historical and artistic exhibitions exploring the trade in ideas across cities and time.

We’ve realised quite quickly that there is an ‘approach’, a way or pattern of working which we repeat across all these varied areas. These are a set of principles which are not rigid but instead allow the imagination to find new solutions for social issues in different localities. 

As much of our work is online we have also seen our existing resources being used in a number of different countries. The work may start in east London or Birmingham but the approach can then travel. A vital part of the process, and a key to success, is ensuring that that there is local buy-in and community ownership. So as with our health work we actually have patients and health practitioners, and local imams contributing to the production of the resources.

A grant provided by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has now enabled us to codify this approach so that it can be shared and used by other organisations and communities.

The social, cultural and political setting of France is obviously very different to the UK and will provide a unique set of challenges for us. However a number a number of community organisations and individuals based in Paris are already helping us to think through some of these challenges and are excited about how Maslaha might work in France. 

Over the course of the next year or so we will be recording our progress and producing a tangible product that reflects Maslaha’s DNA.