Raising awareness about international development cooperation and building global solidarity. “You too are a global neighbour”

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Target countries: Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia
Start date and end date of the Action: 1 April – 31 December 2015
Names of Co-applicants in the Action: Croatian Platform for International Citizens Solidarity (CROSOL); GONG, Zagreb, Croatia; Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb, Croatia; People’s Parliament, Leskovac, Serbia

SLOGA, CROSOL and People’s Parliament collaborated in raising awareness of joint responsibility and solidarity for global cooperation, providing information in a participatory manner on win-win essence of funding global cooperation and bringing the concept of development cooperation closer to citizens.

SLOGA, CROSOL and People’s Parliament organized two national campaigns “You too are a global neighbour” (SLOGA) and “Tradition of development cooperation in Croatia” (CROSOL) to involve different stakeholders, especially youth, general public, NGOs/CSOs. To support the campaigns, several public events were organised and participated – national fairs, development cooperation movie evenings, public and expert discussions aligned with the monthly topics of the EYD, advocacy activities – dealing with local, regional and global development issues in a cross-cutting manner, by involving other CSOs networks and platforms.

In “You too are a global neighbour” campaign, we called upon decision-makers, civil society representatives, youth, development professionals to join the campaign by taking a photo with our slogan and expressing support for global solidarity. The campaign gained more than 350 supporters, among them President of the Slovenian National Assembly Dr. Milan Brglez, members of national and European parliament, various government institutions, development organizations, international organizations, media representatives, UN entities, and famous Slovenian singers and actors. Photos are posted on SLOGA’s Facebook page.

The activities also included a video clip with famous stand-up comedian Lucija Čirović and a short documentary on development cooperation, the SDGs and contribution of Slovenian NGOs to Sustainable Development:

Furthermore, a promotion letter of the campaign was sent to all primary and secondary schools and universities in Slovenia and events with youth were organised and participated in, such as the biggest educational youth fair in Ljubljana student arena, 20 different national fairs and NGO exhibition events with promotional activities were participated in, such as Pikin festival for families and Festival LUPA for NGOs, 6 movie events and 2 other cultural events as well as 4 expert discussions were organised. The campaign was also presented at the International Youth Conference United Nations Summer School (UNIS) and regional advocacy meeting and 3 policy papers were prepared incl. National AidWatch Report.

The World’s Best News were distributed in collaboration with the national EYD2015 coordinator and promotion materials of the campaign were disseminated, such as flyers (1000 copies), posters (50 copies), stickers (1000 copies), brochures (100 copies) and a quarterly development journal SLOGOPIS which informs decision-makers and interested public on international development cooperation (950 copies).

Several press releases and a campaign with tweeting every Wednesday and a set of articles on development cooperation – from busting myths, statistics, thematic posts on international days, to longer articles on relevant development topics (marked with #GlobalNeighbour (#GlobalniSosed) were shared on websiteFacebook (141 new Likes for page, 276 posts with #EYD hashtag used, 808 likes/shares/comments of posts, 458 posts) and Twitter (371 shares/favourites/retweets) and the official EYD website (mostly in Slovenian).

Croatia, as the newest EU member state and subject to the international development cooperation until 2011, has almost no recent experience in development cooperation. This Action related to the EYD2015 enabled the promotion of development cooperation. A research was conducted on the history of Non-Alignment movement as a past experience in development cooperation of Croatia and Slovenia in the 70s and 80s and it discovered many forgotten projects implemented by business sector in the last century and revived some forgotten connections with African and Middle Eastern countries. The research was expanded to Serbia as well. 6 case studies were developed on student exchange, experience of Slovenia, business sector, architecture, health and scientific and cultural cooperation. The researchers were academics, journalists and activists. The book “Development cooperation through the legacy of non-alignment movement” was published in Croatian and English (400 copies distributed). The strategy to remind citizens on this tradition during former Yugoslavia proved as successful. This research was also used for the preparation of a TV footage-video clip which was produced and broadcasted through the networks.

In addition, in Croatia, around 400 citizens participated in show kitchen events in which, in Rijeka, the collective “Taste of Home” cooperated with the collective “Food not Bombs” in preparing Nigerian and Senegalese food for public exhibition and tasting and, in Zagreb, around 15 refugees and volunteers cooked together with the High Representative of the UNHCR, Terrence Pike, Ethiopian, Nigerian, Latin, Arabic and Middle-Eastern food.

Also approx. 300,000 citizens saw the TV show Paralele on the EYD2015 including a Czech development organization “People in Need” and the above mentioned video clip; and 300 persons participated in several different public discussions e.g. on refugees crisis and its relation to development issues. The citizens also supported a crowd funding campaign ‘Kitchen run by Refugees’ in order to collect initial funds for starting a catering business as well as language teaching service through culinary-language social cooperative. Dissemination included distribution of 500 leaflets. Finally, a seminar with 57 NGO participants was organised in cooperation with the Croatian MFA on EU development cooperation, and the first ever 2-day academic seminar on development cooperation was held at the Peace Studies program in Croatia.

It is found as particularly important that the Action took place during the refugee crisis in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. This actually contributed to a higher interest of public, particularly to the activities related to refugees – such as the show kitchens and the campaign “Taste of home”. Taking this situation into account, additional public discussions were organised which have contextualized refugee crises through the development perspective to contribute to a better acceptance of refugees from Croatian and Slovenian public. Also the Round table “Refugee crisis – challenges and consequences“ with Association People’s Parliament took place in Belgrade in November with 24 participants – representatives of civil society sector from Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Albania, 3 local municipalities from Serbia affected by refugee crisis, EU Delegation in Serbia, the Ministry of Public Administration and local self-government, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, ALDA and UNDP in Serbia.

Within the Action, we were able to form new partnerships for example with different academics, public figures and Slovenian members of the European Parliament. By presenting our campaign at UNIS meeting, we were able to broaden our advocacy efforts in the new field, thus establishing closer contact with both UNIS and regional NGOs, which we are assessing as a great result and a long-lasting product of this project. SLOGA’s membership expanded by 4 new members and CROSOL’s by 5 new members and 5 more CSOs have expressed their interest towards CROSOL, as a direct result of the Action, since these CSOs participated in the different project activities. A higher awareness was achieved about development cooperation, policies and possibilities for engagement during the European Year for Development 2015, thus strengthening the capacities of all involved organizations for an improved advocacy on coherent development policies.