The Olive Grove project is a collaborative program initiated by the Danish Red Cross (DRC) and facilitated by ODD to engage young men in the creation of an outdoor cinema and gym next to Moria camp on Lesvos. ODD devised a community based program to design and build the recreational areas, engaging the target group in design and light construction training sessions.
Although there are dedicated safe spaces for women and children there is no allocation of land for recreational use for the majority of the camp's inhabitants: young men. The Olive Grove Project, as part of a psychosocial support initiative of the Danish Red Cross aims to go beyond the creation of new inclusive recreation spaces- by providing skills training and the opportunity for co-creation. Participants have commented on the varying benefits associated with their participation, including: feeling improvements in their mental well-being, developing new skills and confidence, consideration of new career paths in the future, and forming new cross-cultural friendships built on shared goals.
This project is the first of its kind on Lesvos to incorporate skills training into the co-production of space for refugees, creating a paradigm shift away from the perceptions of refugees and migrants as beneficiaries and recipients, towards co-creators. It also tests new approaches to collaboration between practising architects and designers and established humanitarian aid agencies.