Start date and end date of the Action: 1 April – 31 December 2015
Names of Co-applicants in the Action: NaZemi (OnEarth), European Student Network Czech Republic (ESN CZ), Mladí občané (Young Citizens), Česká středoškolská unie (Czech High Schol Union)
The project “Ambassadors of Change – Effective Communication for Sustainable Development” engaged youth, mainly students and volunteers, in the Czech Republic in a critical debate about the SDGs and contributed to an increased awareness of the EYD2015 and its topics among the targeted community. Through a series of trainings for the youth, seminars for volunteer leaders, public panel discussions, presentations, workshops and a social media campaign “Volunteers Best News! Action 2015”, the project was able to address and involve directly over 200 youth and indirectly over 1,000 persons from a broader volunteer/youth community. The targeted volunteer and youth community was motivated to use critical thinking methods when approaching the MDGs and the Post-2015 framework/SDGs and is able to use effective communication skills to become ambassadors of change.
60 new volunteers, 30% more than the target, took part in the Global learning cycle which started with an “Ambassadors of Change” 3-day pre-departure training. The long term learning cycle provided volunteers with tools for critical reflection of their voluntary placement and empowered them to become ambassadors of change, while communicating their experience to their peers and wider public. Volunteers were motivated to take an active role in the social media campaign which aimed on sharing positive news from respective countries and projects in Global South. This training was followed by the voluntary placement in partner organisation in Global South and evaluation and reflection meeting after the placement. This methodology led to the creation of a new narrative in global volunteering, based on solidarity and social justice. Overall, this learning cycle improved the understanding of the role of Europe within global development. Engaged volunteers became multipliers of this narrative and ambassadors of communication on the topics connected with the EYD2015 and post-MDGs agenda. The relevance of these topics, introduction to ethical communication, perspectives on international development and conflict resolution, were highly ranked by the participants. As part of the trainings, one final video was shared through our website and Facebook.
The social media campaign Volunteers Best News was launched in July 2015 online via Facebook and organisational website. The topic of the campaign triggered debate among volunteers also in regard to the code of conduct in relation to photographs and texts related to the countries of Global South. The campaign urged volunteers to share their own stories from Global South or other countries and share them through non-formal channels which gave the campaign credibility as it was shared, directly to circles around the volunteers without any official organisational communication. In total, 43 Volunteers Best News were collected and shared as described above via volunteers blogs, FB posts, personal websites, and summarized on INEX-SDA website and shared with other volunteers and NGOs as news through our monthly email newsletter. The campaign culminated in selecting top 4 Volunteers Best News and awarding these volunteers at the Round Table – Award Ceremony event in December 2015.
“Volunteers’ presentations” were multiplication events of volunteers who went through the Global learning cycle. 10 presentations were held and they were space to share with public, peers and project partners the personal learning outcomes of the cycle as well as the experience from the placement in host organization in Global South, implementing new skills and knowledge in critical thinking on global topics. Majority of the presentations took place at student cafes and clubs of universities. The countries and topics covered by the presentations were: Costa Rica – volunteer experience; Asia and Japan; Poland and its development activities; Germany and its role in EU development agenda; Global South and the MDGs – Kenya; and Myanmar; Cambodia – volunteer experience; Global South and the MDGs – Ethiopia; Global South and the MDGs – Vietnam; Georgia – development projects. The presentations were aimed to be deeper and critical discussions and based on the feedback from presenting volunteers and participants, this aim was successfully reached. In total, the mini-debates involved 104 participants, mainly young people.
Altogether 50 youth leaders took part in a series of 3 seminars: seminar on Critical thinking in global issues conducted in collaboration with the project partner NGO Na Zemi (“On Earth”), which focuses on ecological topics and development agenda related to ecology and sustainable development; seminar on Non Violent Communication in global issues which can be used in daily communication and puts emphasis on equality and respect in communication; and seminar on management of projects on the SDGs topics. The seminars brought together representatives from various NGOs and helped to create better collaboration around topics such as communication of migrant stories, corporate social responsibility and practical support to migrants, which will ensure the sustainability of the cooperation also in 2016.
91 participants attended 3 Panel Debates on the EYD monthly topics: Cultural Diversity linked to the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development; Global health and sustainable development in a non-formal setting on a picnic; and Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility which led to a formation of a “task force” of 6 volunteers planning to organise their own awareness raising events and debates on the topic in the future. The debates attracted not only volunteers but also youth in general. After each debate a press release was issued.
Round table – “Ambassadors of Change” brought together all project partners and other NGOs and CSOs as well as volunteers participating in the Global learning cycle (57 participants in total) to share good practices and evaluate Global learning cycle. The event was linked to International Volunteer Day by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. A handbook on volunteering in the Global South, updated within the project with interactive features linking the volunteering to topics of sustainable development and critical approach to development agenda, was officially launched in the event. It was also shared online and can be downloaded on the organisation’s website. The non-formal part of the programme included a workshop on sign language by a deaf volunteer, eye-contact sessions, music production of culturally diverse music group, presentation of 2 videos created by a Volunteer – Ambassador of Change:
“Černoušek/black kid” – short documentary on the effects of the adoption of African children to the West, (not available online, only showed as a documentary in the event). One press release was issued after the round table as well.