At the end of June 2023, a visit was held to exchange experience between the adult training and education centres of Ukraine and Georgia. Thus, representatives of the Ukrainian delegation, including leaders and managers of adult training and education centres from Mykolaiv region, Zaporizhzhia and Poltava region, visited the ALE-Centres in the cities of Bolnisi, Jvara and Keda. There they had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the work experience of Georgian educational centres.
In particular, on the first day of the exchange, a meeting was held at the office of DVV International in Georgia, where the participants of the Ukrainian delegation were told about the main aspects of the organization of adult education in this country. The next stage was a trip to the Adult Education Centre in the city of Bolnisi. Exchange participants were able to take a tour of the centre and learn about the specifics of its work. The centre is in a three-storey building of the former archive and uses solar panels for generating electricity. It has premises for vocational training in electricians, welders, as well as masters in sewing, painting and cooking. 80% of course graduates find a permanent job or additional income.
The next day, delegates from Ukraine visited the Jvari Community Education Centre and talked with its manager. The centre offers courses in sewing, cooking, learning foreign languages, business, accounting, and office management. To increase its financial sustainability, the Centre established a coffee shop as a social enterprise. Culinary master trainers and graduates of ALE-Centre work in it. The peculiarity of the centre is that it is located near the occupied territory of Georgia - Abkhazia. Therefore, the participants of the training courses are mostly internally displaced persons.
The third centre visited by Ukrainian delegates is the Adult Education Centre in the city of Keda. This centre is distinguished by close ties with the leadership of the local authorities and a young team, which had worked together for the past eight years. In addition to educational services and funding from DVV International, this centre receives funding from the local budget for selling homemade products and the rental of premises. It is noteworthy that the centre runs courses on how to embroider and glaze small products. People even from remote outskirts of the city come to study at this centre.
One of the main take-aways for the representatives of the Ukrainian delegation was the realisation, that ALE-Centres in Georgia are spaces not only for non-formal education, but also for enlightenment, discussions, meetings and generation of ideas, resulting in a tighter connection and cooperation within local communities. As a colleague from Mykolaiv noted, "centres become the basis for changes in those places and cities where they are or are being built, and their beauty "grows" over to the surrounding areas, influencing infrastructure and landscape design."
We are very grateful to the representatives of Adult Education Centres in Georgia and the Country office of DVV International for their cooperation in organising the visit. We hope that later a similar exchange will become possible on the territory of Ukraine.
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.