Tuesday 26 September 2017
About
Friday 14 April 2017

Our Goals and Objectives

Raising public awareness about citizens’ rights and improving civil society capacities in favor of citizens interests are the main objectives of Shahrvandyar.

We fill the gap!
After decades Iranians being excluded from the world society, we have provided a platform for Iranians to redefine their standards, beliefs and behaviors as well as the governments’ through the lens of Universal values of human rights.

We are alternative:
We are dynamic, interactive and closely in contact with Iranians everywhere. We ask questions, raise awareness, fight for a cause, use creative tools to maximize participation, reflect disregarded efforts of civil society, give the voice to the silenced Iranians and make real tangible changes.

Our History

Citizens Friend is founded in 2010, to pursue and duplicate the same social activities and attitude of social engagement in a bigger scale once had started in Iran. While media monopolization and censorship block free flow of information the young and progressive Iranian society in a transition towards democracy are urgently in need of civic education.
CF has been trying to re-introduce main pillars of a democratic society by shedding a light on small movements, methods of campaigning and petitioning, raising awareness about Iranian citizen’s rights, international treaties their country is a member and other peaceful methods.

For the majority of middle class Iranians, taking part in long online classes and workshops held by Persian and non-persian groups abroad remains quite challenging. Since forming of CF, we have been breaking down the information into easily consumable shots for a variety of citizens.

Our Approach and Strategy

Interaction Is the Key

Shahrvandyar is trying to familiarize Iranians with the importance of an active participation in civil society and human rights concepts through interactive and non-direct techniques.

We do not impose the information on our users, but interact with them. Some of very creative and progressive movements and initiatives act as leverage to the other groups of society. We prioritize their efforts and by putting them in contact with one another.

We are contacted:
We are numerous and people are our strength:

During the last couple of years, we have been in contact with a variety of citizens who provide us with documented material, first hand news and citizen reports. We work on their narrations step by step to empower them and give them a voice.

We try to stay casual to be digestible

We cover personal stories, news and small movements to discuss Issues as gender equality in a patriarchal society, women and LGBT rights, importance of personal and social tolerance in relation with minorities and ethnicities, individual freedom, freedom of speech, workers and syndicate rights, animal’s rights and environmental rights.
We outreach to citizens inside Iran through social media pages, Telegram channel, YouTube channel, and the main site of CF, as well as Persian satellite Channels around the globe.

What We Do

We Produce media content in a certain way and to open discussions:

We produce short educational videos, posters, animations, cartoons, short documentaries and inspirational short films. We translate articles and summarize them to compare situations and initiatives. We open discussions lead to a chain of critical questions.

We document civil rights campaigns, non-violent movements and their achievements to encourage maximum participation.

۲. Civil Society special programs of capacity building: We hold educational workshops for members of civil society to empower them with advocacy skills

CF have held many successful series of workshops for Iranians. Related information and achievements are given upon request.

Consequent workshops are continued to 3rd generation in Iran often supported by a campaign or other initiatives (Related information is accessible upon request.)

۳. We campaign: both virtually and in the streets: We do not limit our activities in virtual atmosphere, but we use it as a powerful tool.

Our Impact on the Society

Since establishing CF, a whole new generation of young people inherits first efforts and achievements of social media campaigns. CF has been one of the 1st groups which was established in a post-election atmosphere and has had a deep effect on the public mindset about women, ethnic minorities and multiple subjects of human rights. We have brought such discussions into everyday discussions of the people by frequently breaking traditional limits. Our contents have famously been viewed, discussed and re-published through Persian web pages and launched by satellite channels.

Many individual activists and groups from different parts of Iran including marginalized remote areas keep contacting us to cover their cause and document their social initiatives. They ask for a consultation or workshop. After less than a decade working in the field, Iranian civil society seems to be more strengthened and regulated than ever.
Environmental groups and underground music bands send us to publish their initiatives and works.

Journalists of other media contact us to republish a version of their report by CF. Sometimes censored parts are also added! Even other Iranian activists of Civil Society abroad ask CF to spread the word and introduce their initiative to the viewers.

One million users have joined Shahrvandyar’s social networks.

Shahrvandyar website is being visited 25,000 times monthly.

More than 20,000 versions of CF educational content related to International Women’s Day, World Day of Elimination of the Death penalty and International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women are Published by Iranian activists of related fields in Iran.

Hundreds of Iranians are acquainted with “Interrogation Techniques in Iran” used against political dissidents and prisoners of conscience. More than 63 activists admit such videos are highly effective to control the horror after detention.

How you can find us

CF is made by a group of self-motivated activists and journalists who are interested in promotion of Democracy in Iran whose identities are not disclosed for the security reasons. They have lived through challenges of activism in Iran.
Beside the fixed staff, a variety of activists, journalists and artists from Iran and abroad cooperate with CF on small projects or tasks. CF might put them in contact for an initiative or a cause and support them for reaching a favorable objective.

Some of internationally recognized lawyers and journalists and even victims of discrimination and violence, as ex-political prisoners have voluntarily been cooperating with CF, supporting us with consultations, materials and personal experiences.

In fact, they share the same background, goal and purpose which eases teaming them. Even for the main core staff of CF, we can hardly define the relation as only colleagues or counter-parts.

Founders:

Sepideh Pooraghayi: The Co-founder and executive manager of CF
Political prisoner, human rights activist, journalist and a founder of Committee of Human Rights Reporters in Iran

Founders’ background in Iran:

One of the founders of Association of Defenders of Civil Society in Iran. She has been writing for Gozaresh- e Rooz and Aban newspapers before mass closure of the Iranian media in early 2000s.

She had frequently been called by the security police and arrested three times, including the last time in 2007 for Acting against national security for which she spent 110 days in Security ministry’s prisons. She was interrogated for her activities including publishing citizens’ rights booklets and related workshops in which the group tried to raise awareness about rights of citizens mentioned in Iranian and international law. She had also been a campaigner for the moderate candidate Mehdi Karoubi who is still in home arrest after the election 2009.

Kaveh Shirzad:
The co-founder of CF
Former prisoner of conscience and human rights activist

Background in Iran:

Kaveh Shirzad had been brought up by a family of political dissidents who were victims of violation of human rights. Five members of his family were imprisoned during “black decade of 1980s.”
He had been a first-generation weblog writer whose blog was filtered multiple times. As a student activist, he had been a member of Defenders of Civil Society in Iran which published more than 10,000 booklets to raise awareness about civil rights of citizens.

He was arrested in 2007 and spent 6 months in prison for Acting against national security.

He was also a campaigner for the moderate candidate Mehdi Karoubi in fraudulent presidential election 2009 who is still in-home arrest after the election.

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