Minsk has hosted a meeting on establishment of Belarusian-German partnerships in the field of sustainable development. The event was organized by ODB Brussels within the framework of the programme "Clearing House" in partnership with the Support Programme of Belarus of the Federal Government of Germany and held in Minsk Johannes Rau International Centre for Education and Exchange. Participants of the meeting, all representing non-profit organizations from Belarus and Germany, discussed promising areas of cooperation and implementation of potential joint projects in the social sphere and in the field of sustainable development in our country.
Alyona Lis, Senior Programme Officer at ODB Brussels
Alyona Lis, Senior Programme Officer at ODB Brussels, noted that the "Clearing House" programme is focused, among other things, on establishing closer ties between Belarusian organization and their counterparts from EU countries to exchange experiences and transfer innovation in the process of implementing joint projects, and that organizing such meetings in the lead-up to specific calls for proposals makes getting tangible results in the short term more likely.
The Minsk meeting is timed to coincide with the launch of the 8th stage of the Support Programme of Belarus of the Federal Government of Germany, which has helped implement 230 joint projects since 2002. The Programme is mainly focused on strengthening partnerships between Belarusian and German civil society organizations, improving cooperation between NGOs and public structures, and supporting innovative projects.
The Support Programme of Belarus of the Federal Government of Germany currently provides funding in the field of social services, innovation in healthcare, resource conservation and rural development. The support is intended for local, regional and national levels. The amount of funding, depending on the scale of the project, varies from 15 to 75 thousand euros.
Siarhei Laboda, Coordinator of the "Organizational Development" Direction at the Support Programme for Belarus by the German Federal Government
According to Siarhei Laboda, Coordinator of the "Organizational Development" Direction at Minsk Johannes Rau International Centre for Education and Exchange, such meetings help Belarusian organization working in the sphere of social services or sustainable development to find foreign partners in order to implement their ideas and innovate:
"Very often and for different reasons Belarusian organizations do not have opportunities to establish direct contact with profile organizations in Germany, that is why such "contact-making" seminars and meetings help them find such links. Surely, a lot here depends on the level of activity of the organizations themselves, and on how well their profiles and mutual interests fit."
German participants of the meeting included non-commercial organizations working in environmental protection, non-formal education, reduction of alcohol and drug addiction in young people, etc.
Belarusian organizations were introduced to wetland conservation and peatland restoration activities of Michael Zukkov Foundation. This organization has already implemented a number of environmental projects in Belarus, including in "Sporovsky" Republican Biological Preserve, and supports conservation and restoration of wetlands in Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park.
Participants of the meeting also reviewed activities of a Germany organization called CRISP (Crisis Simulation for Peace), which develops "simulation games" in the field of non-formal education for young people in order to train them in conflict management and non-violent settlement, to develop their negotiation skills and help find solutions to problematic situations. This German organization works within the framework of European Voluntary Service and is interested in cooperating with Belarusian youth organizations to organize intercultural exchange and develop international non-formal education.
Viktar Balakireu, Chairman of the Directorate of Minsk Johannes Rau International Centre for Education and Exchange
In the course of the meeting, Belarusian and German organizations discussed promising areas of cooperation and ideas for joint projects. A similar meeting to find partners and exchange experience will take place in Grodno tomorrow.
In August, Belarusian and German partners will have a chance to take part in a call for proposals planned by the Support Programme of Belarus of the Federal Government of Germany. Organizers of the meeting have confirmed that the organizations need to submit their proposals for joint projects by the end of October.