November 2018

Learn to act: it was told about new opportunities for non-formal education in all regions of Belarus

The public campaign “Learn to Act 2018” was held for the first time in all regions of Belarus from 18 to 28 October. The main topic was the popularization of non-formal and civic education in Belarusian regions. The campaign was organized by the “Deutscher Volkshochschul - Verband e.V.” (Germany) representative office in Belarus and the Association for Continuing Education and Enlightenment.

The campaign “Learn to Act 2018” was organized in a form of mobile caravan and represented a series of events (presentations, workshops, open educational events, roundtables) that took place over 11 days in different parts of Belarus, including Vitebsk, Minsk, Gomel, Grodno, Brest, Lyuban, Bobruisk, Lyntupy and the village of Ponemontsy. Caravan events were attended by over 700 people.

 

The Caravan format assumed the transfer of a group of participants, organizers and volunteers - a total of more than 20 people from one city to another. In each city, they held informational, educational and discussion events about the popularization of the additional education ideas, lifelong education - including for the vulnerable groups of society. The participants have discussed the results of the best projects in the field of non-formal education in Belarus that were the part of a three-year project “Learn to Act”. Each event was accompanied by a mobile photo exhibition, featuring the implementation process and results of 12 educational mini-projects in Belarusian regions and 5 mini-projects on advocacy.

 

The Caravan aimed at developing intersectoral and intrasectoral dialogue and establishing the cooperation between non-profit organizations and initiatives, local authorities, the media, the institutions of education, science and culture.

The accession of the city of Vitebsk into the Global Network of UNESCO Learning Cities was one of the Caravan’s key events. Vitebsk has become the first city in Belarus that received this status: today it has all the conditions for learning at any age.

 

The Caravan started with the “Learning City for Creative Economy and Sustainable Development” forum. The event gathered more than 120 participants, including Members of Parliament, representatives of ministries, public and commercial organizations, foreign experts from 10 countries. The participants discussed Belarusian and foreign experience in introducing the concept of a “learning city” and the creative economy development. During the forum, they came to a conclusion that even a small initiative in the field of non-formal education contributes to the region’s development.

The “Never Stop Learning Party” was the final step of the Caravan. The event summarized the campaign “Learn to Act 2018”. It included the series of motivational speeches delivered by non-formal education activists. At the end, the winners of the “Action for non-formal education” contest got their awards for the best idea of how non-formal education can solve the problems of local communities.

 

The Сaravan “Learn to Act” was held in 2018 for the first time. It was preceded by Weeks and Festivals of non-formal education held in Belarus since 2005. In the framework of these Non-formal Education Weeks (2005-2011), there was a demonstration of the achievements, forms and methods of non-formal education, discussions about the role of non-formal / additional education for adults and youth in Belarusian society. The NFE Festival (2006-2016) has become a traditional demonstration platform for the experience exchange between non-formal education providers and other stakeholders. Both - Weeks and NFE Festivals - aimed at raising awareness about the prospects for development of additional education in Belarusian regions.

The organizational committee of the Caravan included more than ten organizations and institutions: the National Commission of the Republic of Belarus for UNESCO (MFA); State Educational Institution "RIVS"; Educational Institution "Republican Institute of Professional Education"; Educational and Personnel Center "New Tomorrow"; Deputy of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus Starinskaya Tatyana Aleksandrovna and others.