From 4 to 8 March 2023, representatives of the Armenian office of DVV International, the Dilijan Community Centre and the Sisian Adult Education Centre visited 6 of the 14 Adult Education Centres in Georgia to exchange experiences: Bolnisi, Shaumiani, Koda, Leliani, Akhalkalaki and Akhaltsikhe.
The purpose of the visit was to get acquainted with the experience of the Georgian AECs and then to apply new and different approaches in the Armenian centres, and to use this experience to design a concept for a new AEC in Armenia.
The visit, which focused on the exchange of experiences, provided a new opportunity to make comparisons between the activities of the AECs, to analyse strengths and weaknesses, and to consider new approaches to involving beneficiaries in educational programmes.
One takeaway from the programme was the social enterprises that were established in almost all the AECs in Georgia to ensure their financial stability. For example, Akhaltskhei's downtown café, Koda's window factory and Leliani's beekeeping social enterprises provide some financial independence.
The cooperation of AECs presented, both with other organisations (e.g., local governments, international organisations) and with programmes funded by other donors, was another welcome and very important lesson of the visit.
The organisation and implementation of events to involve young people in the life of the community and to bring young people together is also a very valuable experience.
It is also worth considering the practice of using short-term courses, which helps to make the courses more flexible and more targeted.
The experiences and information gained during the P2Pear exchange programme were later shared with other Armenian colleagues at a network meeting organised by DVV Armenia. Such exchanges give AEC representatives the opportunity to discuss in more detail, both formally and informally, the issues they face in their activities.
On the other hand, the Armenian participants invited their Georgian counterparts to the Arts and Crafts Platform at the Dilijan Community Centre.
The exchange peer visit took place within the Regional project of DVV International for the countries of the Eastern Neighbours. One of the key areas of the Regional project is the strengthening of the regional exchange of experience in establishment and development of Adult Learning and Education Centres in cooperation with local authorities and the consolidation of existing experience between DVV International's partners in these countries.