CONCORD members gathered in Tallinn on 8th and 9th November to challenge and practice their and CONCORD’s campaigning skills. This event aims to foster information-sharing and mutual learning between our members on the solutions they are exploring. Our Estonian member, AKU, supported the preparation of the event.

The event was a participatory forum, with sessions ranging from speeches and panel discussions to those involving role play, all tailored to encourage participants to challenge their way of thinking, namely by stepping into other actors’ shoes.

WHY A CAMPAIGN LAB?

At last year’s Learning and Exchange Forum, participants from around Europe shared the measures they had developed to defend the space for civil society. One of the solutions that was identified was having strong public support, and campaigning as a way to build this support. But how can we do this? To answer this question, element of CONCORD’s strategy for a more incisive advocacy, the Learning and Exchange Forum 2017 invited participants to reflect on the notion of campaigning, both in conceptual and practical terms: what is a message? How does it vehicle the ideas and change objectives of the confederation? How do we build stories? How do we concretely implement campaigns?

MARTIN KIRK AND MARTA BENIVADES FOR INSPIRATION AND GUIDANCE

The Forum opened in an atmosphere of inspiration. Right from the start, participants were challenged by Martin Kirk from /TheRules and Marta Benavides, Activist from El Salvador, who encouraged them to challenge the development narrative, when launching a reflection on campaigning but also in their daily work. To pin the problem down before acting and thus, be able to move from false hope to real hope. This could mean radically changing the ways we work…

PITCHING IDEAS AND LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER

Having been split up into smaller working groups (Inequalities, Migration, Civic Space and Global Citizenship Education), participants came back to the plenary at the end of the second day to pitch their campaign ideas to a jury of peers. And this is the true spirit of the Learning & Exchange Forum: sharing ideas, learning from each other, from our successes and also our mistakes, in order to work together for a positive change. And isn’t this what civil society is all about?

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