Tuesday 2 January 2018

Green Liberty: Sixth Six Months of M4D (3)

Stories about Afghanistan trip: Fairtrade coffee with journalists

How reasonable are our worries before going to Afghanistan? Are the perceptions about this country – war, violence, Islam and poverty, significant after the trip? How in the situation of growing droughts, poverty and migration, people in Afghanistan are helped by development organizations from around the world? What kind of contribution to development of Afghanistan can we – the inhabitants of Latvia provide? And how is the experience of Afghanistan trip linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

On August 9, a journalist from media house DELFI – Ansis Īvāns who represented Green Liberty in the joint development journalism trip to Afghanistan, that took place on the July 18-26, 2017, was invited to a Fairtrade coffee with Green Liberty’s staff and friends to share the story of the trip to Afghanistan and to help us to find answers on these questions.

Stories about Afghanistan trip covered exciting reflections about Kabul (Kabul province) and Nili (Daikundi province). Also, this informal discussion helped us find out what should be taken into consideration by a journalist when traveling to developing countries, and why stories about developing countries, including Afghanistan are important for us in Latvia.

Tallinn Roundtable and International Conference

Tallinn Roundtable “Development Cooperation in Afghanistan: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward” was organised by the NGO Mondo and took place in Tallinn on September 5th 2017. Among participants, including policy makers, media representatives, civil society representatives, private sector representatives and academics from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Slovakia, United Kingdome and other countries, nine participants represented Green Liberty: Armands Pupols, Political Affairs Officer, UNRCCA; Otto Tabuns, Senior Expert, Crisis Management Department of the Ministry of Defence; Iveta Reinholde, Associated Professor, Latvia University; Jānis Kapustāns, Lecturer, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences; Sigita Struberga, Researcher, Latvia University; Ansis Īvāns, International news editor, journalist, DELFI LV; Līva Stade, Inga Belousa, Sanita Rībena from Green Liberty.

In the session ‘Lessons learned’ different viewpoints by NGO and military personnel were discussed. And in the session ‘The way forward’ the implications and possible effects in Afghanistan of broadening the definition of ODA were shared. This was the third international conference as one of the activities of the project Media for Development. The first conference – Riga Roundtable “Financing for Development: Role of EU Member States” was organized by Green Liberty, Latvian Green Movement and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia in Riga on June 11-12, 2015.

On the 6th of September the Tallinn Roundtable was followed by the international conference “Development or Security: Which Comes First?

Green Liberty representatives shared that both events were meaningful as they introduced several meaningful dilemmas and broad viewpoints of the experts. As many of Latvian participants are from higher education field, their benefits will result in enriching study courses and professional activities with the relevant content from both events.

Information about Tallinn Roundtable and International Conference events was published in:

Journalist participation in international trainings

How to find the real stories and sources? How to separate propaganda from reality? How to get behind the headlines? How do we see the world through today’s media? Is the world really getting better or worse?

Journalists from M4D partner organizations together with Finnish journalists participated in three-day intensive course “From Stereotypes to Covering Global Interdependencies – Training by Journalists for Journalists” on September 21-23, 2017. The training was organized by the Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (VIKES) and Kansanvalistusseura (KVS) and aimed to answer these questions and increase knowledge about development affairs among media.

Green Liberty was represented by two radio journalists Sanita Rībena from the radio broadcast “Nezāle” (“The Weed”) at radio Naba (LR6, public radio), and Ieva Upīte from LR1. 

Journalist joint study trip to Ghana

Two journalists, Andra Briekmane, an editor of internet journal Tourism Guide from DELFI and Iveta Auniņa from Re:TV represented Green Liberty in the joint study trip to Ghana from October 30 to November 10, 2017. This study trip was organized by project’s Estonian partner organization MONDO and assisted by Green Liberty representative Ingrīda Strazdiņa.

Reflections on situations and experience have been published in several proceeding articles, documentaries, broadcasts, and are available online.

Documentaries by Re:TV

Gana: stāsts, kas sākās Latvijā [Ghana: a story that begins in Latvia] – a documentary about solidarity economy practices in Ghana that invites you to visit cocoa bean plantations, a salt production site, cooperatives of shea butter production and straw basket viewing. How are these stories related to Latvia? The documentary is produced by Latvian Regional Television Re:TV that is a national television channel airing the content produced by associations of Latvian regional and local television and independent alliances.
Short video introduction to the documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3pYQ2yf8ng
Full length free online documentary just waiting to be seen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQUa-sKiulE

Short video story about straw basket viewing cooperatives – available after January 12, 2018.

Video story about link between environmental protection and local community development in the Songor Lagoon designated as Ramsar wetland site and Songor Biosphere Reserve of international importance, approved by UNESCO as part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and acts as habitat and breeding ground for several notable species – available after January 16, 2018.

Articles by Andra Briekmane in Delfi:

Andra Briekmane. 'Delfi' Ganā: Viena diena ciema klīnikā – govis pagalmā, HIV uzskaite un malārija [Delfi in Ghana: One day in the clinic of the village – cows in the yard, AIDS accountancy and malaria], December, 2017. http://www.delfi.lv/news/aiz-horizonta/delfi-gana-viena-diena-ciema-klinika-govis-pagalma-hiv-uzskaite-un-malarija.d?id=49519075

Andra Briekmane. 'Delfi' Ganā: Kā grozi, kas pierobežas ciema sievietēm palīdz izskolot bērnus, nonāk līdz Latvijai [Delfi in Ghana: How baskets, that help women from borderland villages to educate children, come to Latvia], December 15, 2017. http://www.delfi.lv/news/aiz-horizonta/delfi-gana-ka-grozi-kas-pierobezas-ciema-sievietem-palidz-izskolot-bernus-nonak-lidz-latvijai.d?id=49550329

Andra Briekmane. 'Delfi' Ganā: Bēru tradīcijas ar zārku pudeles formā vai jautru gājienu par godu nelaiķim [Delfi in Ghana:  Funeral traditions with a coffin in the form of a bottle or a fun procession in honor of the deceased], December 28, 2017. http://www.delfi.lv/news/aiz-horizonta/delfi-gana-beru-tradicijas-ar-zarku-pudeles-forma-vai-jautru-gajienu-par-godu-nelaikim.d?id=49590081

Radio Broadcasts:

Grozi no Ganas [Baskets from Ghana: interview with Ingrīda Strazdiņa from Green Liberty], Latvijas Radio 1, Zaļais Vilnis, November 25, 2017, 9:47-17:00. http://lr1.lsm.lv/lv/raksts/zaljais-vilnis/mezacuku-un-briezu-veseliba.-grozi-no-ganas.-jauna-mode--mantu-l.a95658/

Riga Local Roundtable

Main activity for engagement of policy makers in development cooperation discussions was a local roundtable Partnerships for Evaluation of Sustainable Development organized in Riga on November 28, 2017. The local roundtable as organized by Green Liberty in cooperation with Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation (LAPAS) and Centre for Educational Initiatives, and gathered 26 representatives of CSOs, Latvia University, The Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, UNESCO Latvian National Committee, Cross-Sectoral Coordination Centre, Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, Student Union of Latvia, National Youth Council of Latvia, Swedish Embassy, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Latvian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and several members parliament.

The roundtable was opened by Laimdota Straujuma, Head of Parliamentary Committee for Sustainable Development and Daiga Zake, Head of Board, Latvian National Development Cooperation Platform LAPAS.

Three key-note presentations followed:
National Voluntary Reviews: Sweden’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda – by Cecilia Chroona, Coordinator 2030 Agenda, Department Global Agenda, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
Sustainable development in Latvia un the context of SDGs and multi-stakeholder cooperation – by Māra Sīmane from Cross-Sectoral Coordination Centre
Voluntary National Report process: Global and local practices and lessons learned – by Inese Vaivare from Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation.

The second part of the roundtable was a discussion on the Road Map for Voluntary National Report and multi-stakeholder cooperation initiatives. 

Global Education day 

Global Education week in Latvia this year was organized in November 18 – 26. It was coordinated by the Latvian Platform of Development Cooperation (LAPAS) in collaboration with Green Liberty, UNESCO Latvian National Commission, Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art at Latvia University, Latvian Association for Cooperation in Education (LACE), and other civil society organizations. This year’s GEW motto in Latvia – my world depends on us – highlights that active participation is the way how we all together can shape our community, country and development of the planet.

Global Education Week is a Europe-wide awareness-raising event that takes place annually in formal and non-formal educational settings across the continent. The GEW’s aim is to encourage educators and learners to explore educational activities for global citizenship. The GEW addresses issues related to diversity and inequality at the local and global levels, and tries to foster: awareness of the wider world and of our own role as world citizens, attitudes of respect for diversity and intercultural communication skills, responsibility for our own actions, and the ability to take action to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place.

As one of the activities of the Global education week on November 4 we organized a Global education day with two events: focusgroup discussion and development stories.

Focusgroup discussion about global education
A focusgroup discussion about global education and global citizenship was organized to share the diverse views and experience of gloval education shared by seven different stakeholders:

1.   Āris Ādlers, Latvian Rural Forum – represents non-governmental sector that implements development education projects;
2. Daiga Barančane, teacher of English and Geography at Brocēni Secondary school – represents teachers who implement global education at school;
3.  Ilze Dalbiņa, coordinator of UNESCO Associated School project and Education department – represents UNESCO LNK;
4.  Danute Grīnfelde, project „School 2030” expert – represents project “School 2030” at the National Centre for Education;
5.  Ņikita Kozlovs, teacher at Riga 96th Secondary school – represents teachers who implement global education at school;
6.  Indra Odiņa, Director of professional master program “Teacher” and the head of Teacher Education department of Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art at Latvia University – represents higher education and academic sector that provides teacher education;  
7.  Daiga Zaķe, head of the Education Initiative centre – represents non-governmental sector that implements global education projects and teacher education courses and seminars.

Development Stories
Development stories were told by two M4D journalists – Anta Blumberga and Sandra Kropa. The third story was presented as the documentary “Clay Children” produced by Woodpecker Pictures.

Anta Blumberga, Veselība: From Freddie Mercury to…
We each have our own story as we have learned about HIV. For fifty years old ones, it happened with the help of Freddie Mercury and others who have died from AIDS. Much has changed in terms of HIV prevalence in Latvia and in the world since these times. However, there are many myths about this disease, prejudice, and stigma still does not end. When I went to Swaziland, I also had to hear strange and absurd remarks, because it seemed to many that it was impossible to return back with this infection. People living with HIV in Latvia do not talk openly about their illness. In Swaziland, there are people who specially work on it to rid society and also to be infected with stigma surrounding it. Swaziland is a great example that reveals that HIV-infected people are not a concealed group of basements that they can be alongside – in a neighboring apartment, in a restaurant kitchen, at school, in a store, and elsewhere, and their armpit or embrace is not a threat.

Sandra Kropa, LTV, LR1: Sem Okello from Uganda who helps others to find a new beginning
The life story of Sem Okello, on the one hand, is an illustration of how ruthless African conflicts are, but on the other, demonstrates how to overcome the painful experiences of the past and motivate society for change. He says: "My philosophy is based on the notion that development in Africa is not possible if education is not available to all and does not rely on international dialogue. Education alone is not enough. You must be able to listen and understand others, be able to discuss ideas that affect others. .. If you, as journalists, come to Africa and you want to build stories about poverty and corruption here, then perhaps it is worth asking why there is such a corruption? This is because there is no social security system. Why not? Due to politics, because of the weak social security system, it is a weak nation and, if a weak nation exists, it can be easily exploited. So you do not have to talk about Africa just as a poor, corrupt place. It is necessary to discuss the causes of this poverty and corruption. "

Woodpecker Pictures documentary movie Clay Children
Director: Karlis Lesins, operators: Martins Jurevics and Janis Indriks, producer: Zane Kalnina
This documentary film introduces organization called The Global Fairness Initiative in Nepal that works with the brick industry in Nepal to ensure better working conditions and to refuse forced child labour. At the same time, they are helping brick kilns to improve good business practices. Brick making season occurs to be at the same time as the school year time and children are not able to attend school or they are following their parents to work in kilns. The Global Fairness Initiative has found solution to provide education for children of the kiln workers while in the meantime there are children living in Nepal without any education possibilities. What is the daily life of people who are living in the brick kilns and how is the life of children there? How is the life living in trash city and what do they think about education? How difficult is it to be a child in developing countries, what sort of the challenges these children are facing every day and what are the possibilities to improve these conditions?       

Screening of documentaries on public TV  

A fruitful cooperation with Woodpecker Pictures has been finalized and screening of three exciting documentaries on public television LTV1 are on Wednesdays at 19.30:
December 6, 2017 – Clay children
December 13, 2017 – Spirits of mountains
December 27, 2017 – Tender giants

Watch, enjoy and plan screening in your community! More info: karlis@woodpeckerpictures.lv 

Behind the horizon with Delfi

What is behind the horizon? Places with misguided assumptions, places where it is not advisable to go, places where lives and health of locals, immigrants and visitors are endangered. These places come to the news headlines only after experiencing cataclysms, yet these are the places where people live, work and think. At various times and in different circumstances, Delfi journalists have gone beyond the horizon and are telling how it is to be in these places.

Delfi, a major internet portal providing daily news, has developed a new sub-section – Behind the horizon – where you can find articles written by international news department editor Ansis Īvāns, editor of internet journal Tourism Guide Andra Briekmane, editor Guna Gleizde and journalist of international news department Andris Kārkluvalks who represented Green Liberty in their individual and joint development journalism trips.

Andris Kārkluvalks. Delfi in Iraq: A walk in the only safe region of the country

Opinion Poll 
As the concluding activity of M4D project in collaboration with the marketing and public opinion research centre SKDS we did the opinion poll “Sustainable global development: Awareness and action of Latvian society” (Līdzsvarota globālā attīstība: Latvijas sabiedrības informētība un rīcība). Several questions were adjusted with our first opinion poll that we did more one and a half year before.

Data have been obtained from Latvian residents in the survey through direct interviews. Fieldwork was on November 4 to November 16, 2017. With stratified random sampling method in whole country 1,005 respondents aged 18 to 74 years have been surveyed. Respondents’ sample represents a larger population.
The analysis of the results will follow two interconnected issues:
  1. what we think in the society about a better world and Latvia in it (sustainable development, quality of life, material well-being of Latvia on a global background, causes of global poverty), and how we are ready to contribute to a better world (what do we think about linking our lifestyle with global problems and what we are prepared to do to help poor countries);
  2. what is our awareness, attitude and behaviour about responsible consumption (recognition of Fair Trade labels, criteria how we choose tropical fruit, suggestions for dealing with food waste, and reaction to greenwashing).

The results of the opinion poll were introduced to public on January 3, 2018 in Latvian Radio 1 broadcast “The known in the unknown” by Jānis Brizga who discussed about attitude of Latvian society towards problems in developing countries and shared answers about how much we are able to relate our lives to people's lives far from Latvia and how much we are interested in the destinies of the people of the developing countries, living conditions, political and social agenda. http://lr1.lsm.lv/lv/raksts/zinamais-nezinamaja/sabiedribas-attieksme-pret-attistibas-valstu-problemam.a97484/

Publication of detailed description of the results of this survey is in process.  

Friday 29 December 2017

Green Liberty: Sixth Six Months of M4D (2)

Fairtrade Friendly

Since 2013 Green Liberty is actively involved in awareness raising about Fair Trade movement. The last six months of M4D were dedicated to refreshing our activities connected to Fair Trade Friendly recognition, organizing an outdoor campaign in Riga about Fair Trade and Fair Trade Friendly recognition, organizing an international meeting of representatives of Baltic region CSOs that deal with Fair Trade issues in their countries, organizing the official opening of the Fair Trade Friendly recognition, and planning national level cooperation with the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to connect individual initiatives for youth – Fair Trade Ambassador – to its Young Reporters for the Environment program that empowers young people to take a stand on environmental issues and gives them a platform to articulate their observations through the media of writing, photography or video. 


The label “We choose Fair Trade” gives recognition and support for Fair Trade friendly organizations, companies, institutions, communities or groups of people. The goal of refreshing Fair Trade Friendly recognition process and criteria is to be rather ambitions – we strive to create common Baltic area of Fair Trade Friendly recognition. To do it we have agreed with our EST colleagues from Mondo to use their logo with Latvian translation. The logo has already been used to award the Estonian Fair Trade friendly organizations, producers, supermarkets, stores and schools since 2014.

According to the current revisions Green Liberty provides the label “We choose Fair Trade” in six categories: (1) cafes, restaurants and hotels, (2) shops, including booths, confectionery and drinks vending machines and online shops, (3) business and shared offices, communities, (4) producers of goods, (5) educational institutions, (6) individual initiatives for youth: Fair Trade Ambassador. For each category, we have set the minimum requirements and additional recommendations for employee and customer awareness raising.

To apply for the label “We choose Fair Trade”, a representative of an organization, a company, an institution, a community or a group of people should fill out an application that will be available in Green Liberty webpage since mid-January 2018.

Outdoor Campaign

Our outdoor campaign to raise society’s awareness about Fair Trade is organized in two sections. In the first section banners were displayed in Riga: in outdoor advertising stands from September 11 to September 24, 2017 and in several shopping centres from September 8 to October 1, 2017. The second section is going on from November 22, 2017, and is located not only in Riga but also in several other biggest towns.

Outdoor banners invite everyone to think about the beginning of the supply chain of our favourite global products that we use every day – coffee, chocolate, bananas, to purchase Fair Trade products, and to engage in the movement of Fair Trade friends.

The banners are developed in cooperation with the agency "Armadillo". Campaign posters in bus or tram stops and shopping centers are hosted in partnership with JCDecaux and Clear Channel, see here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/r1q1yyxip9zg59g/IMG_2914.MOV?dl=0

Baltic meeting of Fair Trade promoters  

On November 27, 2017 we invited our colleagues who deal with Fair Trade issues and organize Fair Trade Friendly recognitions in other Baltic countries to come to an informal meeting. The aim pf the meeting was strengthen joint Baltic Fair Trade Friendly space: to share national success stories, to learn form colleagues, and to plan further cooperation. Seven participants: Jaanus Välja representing Mondo from Estonia, Tomas Kurapkaitis and Milda Lukoseviciute representing Litdea from Lithuania, Andrzej Żwawa representing Fairtrade Polska from Poland, Valters Kinna, Sanita Rībena and Inga Belousa representing Green Liberty from Latvia took place in this meeting. 

Opening of the Fair Trade Friendly recognition 

After the informal Baltic meeting of Fair Trade promoters, we organized the official opening event Why to choose Fair Trade products? of the campaign “We choose Fair Trade” in Birojnica, Dzirnavu street 84 k-2, Riga. We organized this event to meet Fair Trade friendly organizations, enterprises, institutions, schools and non-formal groups from Latvia who provide and use Fair Trade products in their daily life and to encourage them to apply for the labelling “We choose Fair Trade”. For all 20 participants it was a great success to meet Fair Trade Friendly promoters from other Baltic countries.

In the opening event of the campaign “We choose Fair Trade” we heard and shared four stories of different Fair Trade stakeholders:
  1. To buy or not to buy cheap products produced in developing countries? – shared by a Teacher Naw Kham from Myanmar
  2. What is the production of fair and unfair products in developing countries? – shared by Lāsma Ozola, a Latvian journalist who has traveled to banana plantations in Costa Rica
  3. How to recognize a Fair Trade friendly company? – shared by representatives of Fair Trade passionate CSOs: Jaanus Välja, ex-MONDO, EST; Andrzej Żwawa, Fairtrade Polska, PT; Tomas Kurapkaitis, Milda Lukoseviciute, LITDEA, LT; Valters Kinna, Zaļā brīvība, LV
  4. What are benefits for the company from the use of Fair Trade products? – a joint discussion about Fair Trade and Fair Trade Friendly recognition. 

Thursday 28 December 2017

Mondo activities July–December 2017

Work with Journalists
During summer months, work with journalists was quieter. The main activity was joint trip to Afghanistan, for which we had chosen A. Lobjakas to take part. In June he went through a short security training conducted by Mondo's humanitarian and and security expert G. Teder. Additionally, he also took the UN online security course. The joint trip itself was a success and our participant was very pleased with the overall experience.

In autumn, we continued planning the joint study trip to Ghana, of which Latvian and Estonian journalists would take part. From Estonia, we chose H. Tammemäe, the head editor of Müürileht, to participate. She also took part of the autumn training in Helsinki arranged by VIKES. Müürileht is an alternative monthly newspaper, that can be subscribed to but is also distributed for free in some locations. Although it's print numbers are not very big, it has a very specific niche and it's readers are accustomed to reading longer and more thorough articles. There is also a tendency that the topics written about in Müürileht will become popular in other media channels after a few months.

Ghana study trip participants.

The grant competition winner and his colleague visited Mekong river delta in Vietnam in November to research sustainability issues there. A freelance journalist writing mostly for women's magazines, took a trip to Palestine to highlight issues of inequality and development. In the final days of December, a journalist and photographer will visit Bangladesh to research and write about the situation of Rohingyas in refugee camps.

Work with Policy-Makers
In July, we posted bulletins for members of the parliament and MFA officials. Along with the bulletin, invitations to the international roundtable and conference was also sent out to policy makers. The bulletin can be seen here: http://mondo.org.ee/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/mondo-arengupoliitika-teataja-el-eesistumine.pdf

We met and consulted with MFA officials and diplomats to be able to arrange the roundtable as best as possible. To facilitate information exchange between policy makers, we decided to make the roundtable into a two-day event: the first day being a closed, invitation-only roundtable and the second day being an open-to-public conference. The conference was attended by 105 people, the roundtable by 40 people. Both days took place in the conference centre of Swissotel Tallinn. Photos of both days can be seen here, background information and panelists of the conference can been seen here. A very helpful team of international and Estonian volunteers helped us to arrange the events, helping with everything from taking photos to welcoming people at the registering table. All event guests received thematic bulletins, agendas of the event, notebooks, and handicraft conference bags from either Afghanistan or Uganda. Both days were a success thanks to the wonderful participants, panelists, moderators, and their expertise. It was a great honor of receiving the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs who gave the key note address, and also of our high-level panelists.

In autumn, Mondo also arranged a study trip for policy makers to Ghana. An MFA official and a member of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs committee took part.

Work with general audience
In the summer, Mondo arranged an active social media campaign on the myths of development cooperation. The theme was "Real people. Real stories. Real aid.", video clips filmed in Estonia and photos taken in Mondo's partner communities were used to bring development cooperation closer and explain it through clear and concrete examples. The posts were seen 134,756 times.

We also actively advertised the conference "Development and Security: Which Comes First?" on social media, e-mail lists and our website.

In November and December, the second public campaign of this year was conducted. Together with the design and advertising company Velvet we decided to continue with the same "Hoolin" topic as we did for the spring SDG campaign. To make it more concrete, education was chosen as a main theme and the campaign main slogan was chosen as "Hoolin haridusest" or "I care about education". To bring the topic closer to the general audience, we decided to focus on the universal nature of education and the wish to be educated. To do so, a campaign ambassador – the actress Elina Reinold – and her son agreed to visit Ghana. A filmmaker went with them as they visited Richard, a young Ghanian boy who is receiving school support from Elina through Mondo. Photos of Elina and her son in together with Richard and his grandmother became the main visual of the campaign. The campaign was featured on outdoor bus-stop advertising systems, in several magazines, and in social media.

To finish the campaign, an education and development cooperation themed public event was held in the Estonian National Museum in Tartu, under the name of "Hoolin haridusest" or "I care about education". After inspiring talks from Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Tõnis, Lukas Ilmar Raag, Marju Lauristin, Loone Ots, and Mondo's board members and partners, different artists performed and Syrian food and fair trade chocolate cake was eaten. 172 people registered their participation to the event.

Together with Müürileht a newspaper insert on global issues and development cooperation was published in December.