In order to leverage different professions to advance its mission, Marine builds tools and approaches adapted to the needs and realities of practitioners, carefully articulating secularism and knowledge about religious practices. The starting point has been with teachers and educators in charge of after school programs with a key target of children between 7 and 11 years-old, a strategic age group due to their mature conceptual abilities, open mind and an eagerness to learn.
The solutions developed by Enquête are grounded in a deep understanding of teachers’ programs and practices and effective learning for kids based on a user perspective. On the teachers’ front, Enquête has carefully analyzed current education programs to identify when and where are the best opportunities to address religious issues and building strong arguments in order to incentivize and build the capacity of teachers around these issues through focus groups, workshops and action research. This knowledge is being deepened and updated on a continuous basis and a doctorate student is currently conducting a thesis on how secularism and religions are taught in school in France in collaboration with the renowned national research center (CNRS). Topics addressed range from current barriers faced by teachers, benchmarking existing initiatives and refining the tools from Enquête. A sophisticated toolkit including 7 key topics – secularism, vocabulary, literature, great personalities, time, space and citizenships – has been developed with in-depth and user-friendly content so that teachers can include religious topics in all subjects from history to vocabulary and literature. A ground rule is that teachers and facilitators adopt in all circumstances a neutral position that does not promote religions nor is against religions. This neutrality is a key element to enable conversations in a peaceful way. To build the teachers’ confidence to evoke this topic with kids, Enquête also provides methods and tools, such as storytelling, to reassure and convince the parents.
To develop adapted resources for teachers and kids, Enquête has demonstrated great creativity, working with innovative education organizations like the Savanturiers, an education program of Ashoka Fellow François Taddéi among others. A key pillar of the approach is to build on the innate investigative capacity of kids (hence the organization’s name Enquête that translates into “Investigation”). In addition to the core pedagogy, a set of fun games, contents and tools have been developed from the “Challenge tree” pedagogical game that is a great introduction for all ages to understand knowledge gaps and trigger lively conversations, to a quiz game on religions. The former is distributed through a partnership with Canopé, The National Education’s official editor, gaining a nation-wide traction with over 1300 sets of games been sold in 2016 and the latter is distributed in mainstream libraries to maximize exposure and public awareness. 800 have been sold in the 4 first months of commercialization. In addition to this, to make the topic appealing and engaging, while reaching indirect targets, kids get to build a game like the Game of the Goose that they can then bring home and play in family or with their friends. Other projects being currently developed include commentated pieces of art, the creation of a fun cartoon with very short series for TV and teachers/educators based on the story of 4 kids. So far over 2,600 kids have participated in Enquête workshops.
This core approach has also been translated for teenagers who can pick investigation projects and are kindly challenged to come up with their own analysis and suggestions. For example, a group of Muslim teenagers who were upset with the fact that their high-school had a Christmas tree were asked to design a questionnaire, interview experts and key people with different perspectives and come up with their own informed conclusions about whether this could make sense. Another youth project on “Why, in a secular country like France, do most of the public holidays have Christian origins?” led to the production of a web-documentary by the young people.
Marine has designed a two-fold strategy to demonstrate that it is important, urgent and doable to address the topic of religion. On one hand, she builds the capacity and create tools for practitioners - over 3,800 have been trained so far, a number that will increase fast now that the infrastructure is in place - and on the other hands, she tries to influence current systems such as official teaching and training programs of National Education. Since 2015, Enquête has received a special authorization to take part in new teachers’ training (6 out of 32 High Schools of Education or ESPE at a national level) and to position secularism and religious practices as a mandatory module. Enquête has also been invited to contribute to the national plan of teachers’ training. In addition, Enquête is also offering training programs for continuous training of current teachers and has created an e-learning training platform in 2016.
Beyond formal education, Enquête has developed a wide and active network of networks to broaden its influence and engage various professionals. Its active partnerships include a wide range of organizations, such as the National Federation of Social Centers (social workers), the National Federation of Soccer that has identified the lack of understanding about different religions as a key issue, scout movements, the national civic service program initiated by Ashoka Fellow Marie Trellu Kane so that the 2,000 annual volunteers can be sensitized and equipped on this topic, after school programs for single parents such as Momartre, a project led by Ashoka Fellow Chantal Mainguené, etc. In order to mainstream its training program, Enquête has developed a e-learning program in 6 modules for trainers and professionals in collaboration with the European Institute in Religious Sciences (IESR). Most tools, contents and testimonies are open source so that they can be used by many professionals. The “Kawaa Growing Together” is one of the open source tool available to all: a template for a one-hour interfaith exchange amongst adults to trigger a conversation and knowledge on religion. More than 200 sessions have been organized in 50 cities and the network is growing.
Thanks to its unique expertise and credibility on the topic, Enquête has also been identified to take part in new programs such as an anti-radicalization program launched by the prime minister office in priority communities. It is currently piloting an experiment in the city of Trappes, a community that has the highest departure rate of youth for Syria in collaboration with 3 schools. Religious practices are also a taboo topic for cities and collectivities that feel an increasing pressure but do not know how to deal with it and do not want to “interfere with private matters”. However, this is an explosive time bomb.
Managing the growing community of trained professionals is a current focus of Enquête through regular mailings, newsletters, content updates, etc.
As an entrepreneur, Marine’s philosophy is to always surround herself by more knowledgeable people and aim for excellence. She has successfully engaged a diverse team, board of directors and support committee representing different religious backgrounds, experts and influencers. Among others, an expert in the teaching of religions in a secular context and in education systems that plays a key role in teachers’ training program, a member of an expert group of moral and citizenship teaching, an entrepreneur who is expert in pedagogical games and newspapers for youth or the Ashoka Fellow Christian de Boisredon who is an influencer in the media sector.
As Enquête’s qualitative work already gained solid legitimacy, Marine aspires to spread her vision in new networks, such as the Jewish and Catholic schools, and seizes the momentum – the 2015 and 2016 terrorist attacks in France stressed the need to deeply address the roots of interfaith issues – to convince more partners and scale up.