Eastern Neighbors

DVV International has been involved in the region Eastern Neighbors since 2004, at first mainly in Belarus, where a country office was opened in 2009. Gradually, the cooperation was extended to the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, so that other country offices could be set up in 2010. In order to further develop cooperation in the region and to create synergies, a regional office was founded in Kiev. Today, in a time of intensified European integration and cooperation, new opportunities and activities are also being provided for adult education. At the same time, the region is characterised by profound social, political and demographic transformation processes. The strengthening of democracy, human rights, participation and conflict prevention in multi-ethnic societies, cultural and ethnic diversity, vocational education and training, social market economy and sustainable regional development are moving more toward the centre of the adult education programmes of DVV International. This includes the involvement of partners at the European and international level in the implementation of adult education programmes.

Together with its partners in the region, DVV International strengthens NGOs and civil society networks in the field of adult education for socially disadvantaged groups and develops demand-driven, interactive methodological concepts for different target groups. One focus of regional cooperation is the advocacy and lobbying of policy makers and civil society to position adult education as a core area of lifelong learning. In addition to that, the Institute supports the establishment of adult education as a part of the education system, including training for teachers and support for research and best-practice theories.


DVV International has been cooperating with Belarusian civil society and vocational adult education organisations since 2007. In 2009, the Institute opened a country office in Minsk. Since then the partner network was able to be greatly expanded through contacts with government agencies and civil society organisations.

The country office wants, with its work, to expand the offers in the field of adult education for target groups like the disadvantaged, to strengthen adult education organisations, build networks and broadly disseminate and promote adult education in Belarus. After the institution first implemented pilot projects at the local level, DVV International now implements extensive and long-term adult education programmes in Belarus. It was able to acquire additional funds and attract new partners, including government agencies (ministries and committees), state educational, cultural and social institutions and non-governmental organisations.

Main focus of work

  • Networking of state and non-state actors and providers of adult education; support for experience exchange and qualification of employees.
  • Increasing access to education in the penal system of the Gomel region as well as training of correctional facility staff and partners.
  • Development of innovation potential of partners in VET.
  • Support for educational initiatives of the network in rural areas; promotion for the establishment of adult education centres and NGOs.
  • Presentation and promotion of current key issues for regional and local development (education for sustainable development, “Learning Region”, etc.).
  • Augmentation of the provision of educational programmes in rural areas and promotion of rural development projects that build on local history and culture.
  • Advocacy and support for lifelong learning and non-formal and civil society education through the building up of networks and joint lobbying activities (festivals and weeks of non-formal education, conferences, presentation of best practice examples).
  • Professionalisation of adult educators and trainers through the inclusion of further training programmes in the curricula of formal education.


Since 2009, the partner spectrum has been constantly expanded and now includes a wide range of governmental and non-governmental organisations. The country office cooperates with more than 60 partners in all six regions of Belarus. Regular cooperation and joint activities are carried out with the Institute for Vocational Education and Training of the Republic, the non-governmental organisation Community Development Projects (education for inmates of penal institutions), the territorial centre for social care of the population in Kobrin (education for seniors and people with disabilities), six regional institutes for educational development (adult education and rural development) as well as the Association for Lifelong Learning and Enlightenment.


DVV International has been involved in Ukraine since the mid-1990s. The Institute, along with the VHS Regen, initiated the first cooperation projects in the western Ukrainian region of Lviv. These projects continue to the present day. In the years which followed, the partner network of DVV International has been continuously developed and the cooperation between NGOs and adult education centres throughout Ukraine strengthened. In 2010, a regional office was opened by DVV International in Kiev; it is not only responsible for adult education programmes in Ukraine, but also coordinates cooperation with the country offices in Belarus and Moldova. Since then, the network of partner organisations and the work in Ukraine has been expanded and professionalised, primarily in the four pilot regions Kiev, Lviv, Poltava and the Crimea.

Main focus of work

Ukrainian society, since the country’s independence, has been faced with far-reaching economic, social, demographic, and political challenges that were addressed only very haltingly in recent years. The signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union, the consequences of the Euromaidan movement, the annexation of the Crimea and the military conflict in the Donbass region have exacerbated many of these problems.

In order to take account of these developments and to help positively shape them, DVV International is active in the following fields in Ukraine:

  • Further development, expansion and professionalisation of services in the field of adult education, especially for socially and economically disadvantaged groups in penal institutions and rehabilitation as well as further qualification of teachers;
  • promotion of democratic values, a pluralistic society as well as civil society structures and cooperation between civil society organisations;
  • transmission of intercultural skills, techniques and methods in the area of conflict prevention and management, particularly in the context of internal migration and the movement of refugees from the regions of Donbass and Crimea;
  • political advocacy in the area of adult learning and education policy, such as in the design of a legal framework for education and training and financing issues.


The regional educational institution Impuls (Lviv region) is active in the field of vocational training and rural development. The organisation Gostinez promotes the implementation and development of projects in the field of lifelong learning in the Yavoriv Raion in western Ukraine. The organisation Light of Hope in Poltava develops training programmes in penal institutions, rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners. The Centre for Development and Integration which was founded in Simferopol, Crimea, moved its headquarters to Kiev in 2014 and is a partner organisation for intercultural education and conflict management projects. The adult education centre Logos in Bucha (Kiev region) promotes non-formal adult education programmes through the transmission of social values and psychological support.

                                               REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA

DVV International opened a country office in the Republic of Moldova in 2010. Based on existing participatory learning approaches, the Institute aims to build a comprehensive system for adult education in the country through consultation and in cooperation with a wide variety of actors. Together with educational experts and decision-makers, the Institute first determined the regional and national training needs. Successful innovative approaches from other partner countries and regions of DVV International were adapted to the realities in the country and implemented in a pilot phase. In Moldova, a type of Codex Educationis, a legal framework for the whole education system was enacted in November 2014. It is primarily aimed at the totally new regulation of formal education, however it also opens up new opportunities for non-formal learning projects in adult education. 

A major problem is the high unemployment in the Republic of Moldova. Not only people with no education or vocational training have difficulty in finding a job. Even the well-educated youth, especially in rural communities, find no work which is commensurate with their training. Many young people live either with support from their parents, or are looking for ways to emigrate. In collaboration with its partners, DVV International develops and implements training tailored to their needs.

Another target group of the Institute is the elderly and seniors. Approximately 63.2 percent of the households in the country are composed of people over 50 years old. Many of them today take on new roles: They provide for their grandchildren, carry out tasks in the community, etc.

Main focus of work

Together with its partner organisations, the Institute offers further training in the field of vocational education for unemployed young people, senior citizens and unemployed women.

DVV International advises its partner organisations and educational institutions in project management and in the methodology of adult education and supports them in respect of content, organisationally and materially in the implementation of courses, particularly in the field of vocational education.

Dialogue with decision-makers is also on the agenda of the country office. The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, the National Labour Office and the Ministry of Youth are partners to anchor adult education and to improve the living conditions of the population.


The partners of DVV International in Moldova include non-profit organisations, government and private institutions (libraries, museums, craft centres) working in the field of education and training and contribute to the social inclusion of disadvantaged people. Most partners are located outside the capital - the North, the South and the Center regions -  since socially disadvantaged groups are found mainly in rural areas. DVV International in Moldova has increased cooperation with other organisations over the past few years. The partner organisations carry out projects to support unemployed, women, inmates, seniors as well as youth in areas that facilitate market inclusion, enforce social reintegration, mobilize community, increase knowledge and skills in health, culture, IT, and builds historical identity and reconciliation.

DVV International

Welcome to DVV International Eastern Neighbours

Eastern Neighbors

Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova

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