SafirLab 2016-2018


To enable young people involved in initiatives in the area of the media and civil society to develop their projects and share their experiences.
To create a dialogue between young people with the same civic values and help build a mutual partnership between France and countries south of the Mediterranean.
280 K



Professional South

A project

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Project timeline

June 2016
June 2018
This project is finished


Creation of citizen media, rights to education, raising awareness of health-related issues, women's rights... Throughout the Arab world, young people are working hard to develop their societies, improve their everyday lives or promote freedom of expression. It is these young members of changing societies that SafirLab, the laboratory of change of CFI and the Institut français, is supporting.

Designed as an incubator for social innovation projects, SafirLab enables its participants, over a period of around ten months, to benefit from the expertise of prominent stakeholders in French and Arab civil society, to share successful local experiences, and to devise further phases for their business or community initiatives.
SafirLab thus provides strategic support to those young men and women who will one day play key roles in the economic, social and cultural fabric of their countries.

For the 2017-2018 edition, CFI and the Institut français are joining forces with leading experts in the social solidarity economy and new media outlets actively working in north Africa and the Middle East to implement the SafirLab programme, and will also be supporting projects selected over a period of several months.

“By providing them with some key pointers, tools and advice from more experienced people, we will be able to move things along faster. By immediately offering them an entrepreneurial approach, we will be able to contribute to the longevity of the projects.”
Sophie Vannier, co-founder of the Social Factory

Project beneficiaries

25 project leaders aged between 20 and 30.

Project manager

1.Call for applications

In collaboration with France's overseas cultural and cooperation network, a call for applications and selection of 25 business or community projects (in 2016 and 2017).

SafirLab: Launch of a call for applications

May 20, 2016

Social innovation is at the heart of the 2016 event. Applicants' dossiers must be submitted by midnight on 15 June 2016.

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Apply to SafirLab 2017!

June 8, 2017

SafirLab, the French Institute and CFI laboratory for change, is launching a call for applications for its next edition.

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SafirLab is recruiting for its new intake!

May 14, 2018

CFI and the Institut Français are calling for applications for the next edition of SafirLab. If you are aged between 20 and 30 and have an innovative project in the fields of media or civil society, then apply for SafirLab 2018!

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2.Session in Paris

A week of skills enhancement programmes and professional meetings in Paris in autumn 2016 and 2017.

Social innovation at the heart of SafirLab 2016

November 8, 2016

To mark the 5 th edition of SafirLab, CFI and the French Institute have selected around twenty projects headed up by young people who are working for change and are actively involved in new social dynamics sweeping across the Arab world.

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Paris hosts the 6th edition of SafirLab

November 8, 2017

Twenty-five young people from nine Arab countries are meeting in Paris from 4 to 13 November 2017 to boost and give new impetus to the development of their projects.

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Eight months' incubation within partner organisations established in north Africa and the Middle East (for the 2017-2018 programme).

4.Final session

Final follow-up and debriefing session in spring in one of the nine countries involved in the project (for the 2017-2018 programme).

SafirLab welcomes 26 participants in Paris

November 5, 2018

The first SafirLab workshops begin this Monday 5 November in Paris. The 2018 programme received over 1000 applications and 26 participants were selected.

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Female social innovation in the Mediterranean

March 8, 2019

On the occasion of International Women's Rights Day, here are some inspiring personalities behind various media projects and social innovation. These initiatives, led by young women, are currently supported under SafirLab.
Discover their motivations and their expectations.

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