Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Green Liberty: The Third Six Months of M4D

E-bulletin “Development Cooperation News” 
To enrich awareness of society and policymakers in Latvia about global interconnection, challenges and initiatives to solve them both globally and locally we have started to publish electronic information bulletin Development Cooperation News (DCN).
DCN is published electronically twice a year and features current development cooperation topics from the perspective of practitioners, opinion leaders and policy-makers.
The 3rd issue is Sustainable Development Goals. It is looking for answers on the following questions: How can we reduce global poverty, inequality, injustice, and climate change by empowering development of our local communities? This global and local news is published in five sections – POSITIONS, EVENTS, EXPERIENCE, OPINIONS, and RESOURCES that shape the structure of DCN.
Read and download the bulletin Development Cooperation News here.
The next – 4th issue of Development Cooperation News will be on how to measure Sustainable Development Goals

Joint Study Trip to Palestine 

A journalist from regional newspaper Zemgales Ziņas - Agnese Leiburga represented Green Liberty the joint study trip to Palestine on the July 11-17. This study trip was organized by project’s Finnish partner organization VIKES. During the trip Agnese Leiburga together with her colleagues from other M4D partner organizations – Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic and Slovakia visited Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, Palestinian refugee camp Aida in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jerusalem, and Abu Dis – city, which has been cut away from Jerusalem by the Israeli separation wall. During these visits there was a chance to interview Bashir and Jeanette who are well-traveled Palestinian-Christian couple and have decided to live in Bethlehem, as well as Palestinian family affected by the separation wall, to visit Bethlehem University with the participants of the media camp and much more.
Reflections on situations and experience have been published in several proceeding articles and are available here:
Leiburga, Agnese, (July-August, 2016). Viena žoga divas puses – Izraēla un Palestīna. [Two sides of the same fence: Israel and Palestine]. Zemgales Ziņas [regional newspaper Zemgale News],
- August 11, 2016:

Helsinki Intensive Course “Reporting World News” for Journalists 

On April 20-22 three Latvian writing journalists who have recently started their career together with their colleagues from other M4D partner organizations – Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic and Slovakia – deepened their awareness and understanding about reflecting on global development issues in an Intensive Course on Development for Journalists in Helsinki. Green Liberty was represented by Iveta Sondore (Vides Vēstis), Anna Ūdre (FEJS Latvija) and Santa Logina (regional newspaper Zemgales Ziņas). The intensive course was organized by project’s Finnish partner organization VIKES. The focus of the course was on such topics as timely media issues in global context, sustainable development, natural resources and disasters, migration and war coverage. The seminar was a great success because of its relevant content, discussions and workshops, organization and atmosphere.

Photo and Story Competition Winners’ Trip to Kenya 

From February 28 till March 23 a group of two people representing Green Liberty had a possibility to explore Kenya and challenge our stereotypes on life in East Africa. Lasma Ozola was interested in sustainable agriculture practices in Kenya. Liene Bieza – a photographer – captured group’s moves during the travel. Also, Liene Bieza and Lasma Ozola were the winners of the photo/story competition Decent Life for All. Lasma and Liene were accompanied by Dimitri Vanham from Belgium who was documenting interviews with project developers in video.
During three weeks they travelled through different regions of Kenya to see Laikipia Permaculture Project, Sustainable Village Resources Organic Coffee project in Rongo, Regenerating Rusinga Project, Drylands Natural Resource Centre Reforestation project in Makueni. Read the reflections in the article Environment, agriculture, community and education in Kenya: Reflections from Green Liberty

Evening Tea with Documentary Journalists 

On the February 17th Kārlis Lesiņš and Lelde Prūse, journalists from the Woodpecker Pictures were invited to an evening tea with Green Liberty’s staff and friends to share the story of their trip to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they filmed a documentary movie about the care for protected eastern gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei andGorilla beringei graueri).
Read the reflections about the event here: Evening tea with documentary journalists

Social Campaign

With a successful piloting in the knowledge festival HELSUS on May 21st in Jelgava we have started a social campaign “Myths and truths about our participation in global development”. The overall address of this social campaign to general public in Latvia is incorporated in the question: Does it seem to you that “we should not help other countries, because we ourselves are poor”, that “poverty results from too high birth rate”, that “help makes a receiver to become lazy”, that “financial assistance is the most needed help for poor countries”, that “climate change is not connected to increase of poverty”? If yes, come and find it out if it is truth or not. Participants interested in finding this out were involved in discussions where they shared their opinions about poverty, birthrate, and impact of rich and poor countries and whether help changes the situation for good or bad. 
The second public debate was during the conversation festival LAMPA on July 1st in Cēsis where we added the next step to our discussion: How to substitute our myths with a rather constructive view on reality?  And why transforming myths to truths is similar to swinging on a swing? The discussion was organized in the LAPAS (Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation) tent that hosted several other discussions, conversations, films, and games about global development organized by NGOs that shared similar vision in the need to lend a hand to make the world a better place.  

Before the campaign we organized an opinion pool that helped us to choose five the most popular myths in Latvia:
    - we should not help other countries, because we ourselves are poor,
     - poverty results from too high birth rate,
     - help makes a receiver to become lazy,
    - financial assistance is the most needed help for poor countries,
    - climate change is not connected to increase of poverty.
We started our discussion with a metaphor of swinging on a swing, and connected it to the process of changing myths to truths. After discussing each myth we shared the relevant results from the opinion pool. Several of proceeding events of the social campaign will be organized in the 2nd part of this year.
Reflections and pictures from piloting the campaign in Helsus: http://www.zalabriviba.lv/par-globalizaciju/tiekamies-sarunu-festivala-lampa/

Photo Exhibition “Decent Life for All”

Green Liberty also organizes a nation-wide photo exhibition Decent Life to All that is ongoing and includes 24 pictures from the photo competition organized in July – September 2015. The pictures included in the exhibition are created by professional and amateur photographers from Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovakia. Among pictures representing Latvia several of them are created by national winner Liene BiezāThis exhibition provides the visitors an opportunity to think about their daily habits and the world as our global home, and to enhance their understanding of development issues. 
Since its opening at the European Union House in Riga the photo exhibition has been hosted by Latvia University, Latvia University of Agriculture, LU Botanical garden, Gulbene Municipality, Olympic center in Riga, Riga Central Market, shopping centre Galerija Centrs, Latvian National Library restaurant and several other famous restaurants, etc.
The exhibition aims to address general public in Latvia starting from school youngsters to elderly people. By choosing popular and diverse exhibition places we are trying to reach people of different professions and interests. In Gulbene the exhibition was used as a tool for teachers to work with pupils and it helped as educational material in local community.




Regional Journalist Training

Our collaboration with regional newspaper Zemgales Ziņas (Zemgale News) initiated co-organization of regional journalist training Global echoes in regional journalistic that was held on March 11 in Jelgava. The aim of the training was to discuss urgent global issues in the field of journalism, to look for answers about the role of regional journalism in a globalized world, and to enjoy a fair-trade coffee and tea. 
The program implied discussions about the mentioned issues and personal experience stories told by a journalist Kārlis Lesiņš from Woodpecker Pictures who shared the story of his trips to several countries of Global South, including Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

The training gathered 12 participants who highlighted that events like this provided for regional media are very rare. They shared that this and similar events help to open mind, encourage journalists to look at local activities from a global perspective and at global issues from a local perspective, and to cooperate with each other. Several journalists pointed out that this training confirmed that it is crucial to bring topicalities of a European project to the level of local community.  
Concluding ideas that reflect the issues and reflections covered in the training can be summarized as follows:
Regional journalism has a significant educative purpose, especially in local regional communities where the majority of population do not belong to formal educational system anymore. Thus, local and regional printed media are crucial means of informing and awareness rising for a local community. And this purpose is closely connected to the issue of responsibility.
A journalist is like a woodpecker that hammers persistently until she or he gets to the essence. It is not a routine activity, as a journalist should sustain his or her researcher’s spirit by moving around, observing, gathering information, meeting people and creating stories about fresh issues. Yet, in this activity a balance between expectations from employers and media consumers, available information and resources, and journalist’s own interest and passion should be ensured. A journalist most likely cannot change all the global problems, but what she or he can do is to create stories that can serve the aim to raise awareness and inspire to build hopeful future.
An added value of a story is a presence of journalist’s own culture (ethnic, gender, age, social and economic position, etc.) and its dialogue with the story. 



Friday, 17 June 2016

Getting to the truth: Journalists from Latvia share their experience about participation in media seminar organized by VIKES

The Finnish Foundation for Media, Communication and Development (VIKES) organized three day seminar for journalists who have recently started their career. The focus was on such topics as timely media issues in global context, sustainable development, natural resources and disasters, migration and war coverage.

During “Media for development” project VIKES gathered journalists from partner organizations which are based in such countries as Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Project coordinator in Latvia is organization Green Liberty, and it was represented by Iveta Sondore (“Vides Vēstis”), Anna Ūdre (“FEJS Latvija” valdes priekšsēdētāja ) and Santa Logina (“Zemgales Ziņas”).
Iveta Sondore studies anthropology at Riga Stradins University and works as freelancer for “Vides vēstis”. She’s very glad about the experience in Helsinki and believes that such seminars are useful not only for journalism students, but can also be an inspiration for other communication field representatives. “There were some discussions which made great impression on me, because industry representatives were talking about their real life experience, not only theory. I remember panel discussion about reporting on crisis with Pekka Reinikainen from Finnish Red Cross, war photojournalist Niklas Meltio and freelance journalist Aemi Ferris-Rotman. They not only shared their tragic and rich experiences about reporting from warzones and during natural disasters, but also talked about the importance of investigative journalism - to not only cover such issues superficially, but to do bigger research and to find what’s common for all of them,” says Iveta.
„During this three day seminar I met many other young journalists from around Easter Europe who are interested in same topics as I am. It was very refreshing and useful to exchange our thoughts and ideas about media related topics,” says Anna Ūdre. She is currently freelancing for national newspaper in Latvia “Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze”, working as chairman of the board at independent organization dedicated to young journalists “FEJS Latvija” and studying journalism at Riga Stradins University. “All lectures, discussions and trainings were very useful and also practical. Especially useful was the last day when professional journalists had discussion about safety of freelancers and they were giving tips for going abroad when covering conflicts. They were all full of stories and knowledge,” she adds. Anna thinks it’s very important to organize such projects to meet other professionals and invest in them at early stage of their career.
Santa Logina, journalist of regional newspaper “Zemgales Zinas” (“News of Zemgale Region”), participation in the seminar values as qualitative opportunity of how to expand horizons. “While working at local media, where the most important are local events, the focus on topicalities of world is secondary – as much as they influence local people. Participation in the seminar inspired to think more about everyday life in developing countries and problem areas, where poverty and war goes together with needs of clean water, food, safe and comfortable life. Speakers of the seminar for me opened wider the door to this world,” says Santa. The young journalists in every story were encouraged to look forward for positive things and don't rely on stereotypes. “For example, it was noticed that poverty doesn't mean that a person is stupid – to survive when you don't have anything, you have to be smart. Especially inspiring were journalist Aemi Ferris-Rotman and her stories of women rights in Afghanistan, also the emotional speech of Anurag Acharya and Shiva Gaunle about Nepal after the earthquake in 2015 and potential disasters. Very useful were trainings when journalists were told how to get prepared for travels to developing countries,” says Santa.

Participants agree that seminars like this not only give more knowledge, but also teach how to avoid stereotypes, how to find the truth and pay attention to local problems of developing countries that will affect the whole world sooner or later. It's very important for young journalists to learn it even if their everyday work isn't connected with reporting from developing countries or the war zones. Learn to dig deeper!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Czech TV on the road in Kenya

Illustration photo: Tereza Hronová
In January and February 2016 Czech TV foreign editor Josef Pazderka visited Kenya to cover the development issues. The trip was a great success and all the stories were broadcast in the Czech TV main news with a daily average viewer rating of 750 000 and rerun in other Czech TV programs.
Illustration photo: Tereza Hronová
The first story was about the rescue mission of highly endangered white rhinos in Kenyan national park. Czech safari in Hradec Kralove set up a rescue plan for the worldwide last three northern white rhinos and is trying to return them in the wild nature in Kenya. 

The reportage covered the joint efforts of Kenyan rangers, Czech team and local communities to save this animal species. On the Valentine’s Day Czech TV broadcast a story about the reality of the rose industry in Kenya and its consequences on the environment and also about the labour condition in the factories and the rose fields.
Kenyan runners are worldwide renowned, but just few know about the harsh conditions and disappointments of runners in Kenya. Next story thus focused on the background of the top level running and the related issues such as doping, prize money or high physical load.
Burundi is currently in deep political crisis and on the edge of being in a civil war. Josef Pazderka explained the context of the conflict and talked about how the conflict can affect neighboring countries.  The last story was about the crucial role of education in development. The TV crew visited Czech educational development projects in Nairobi’s slums and showed how the aid is helping to the most vulnerable people. 


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Spring mix of House of Europe Activities


Roundtables with journalists and activists

There were two roundtables organized with journalists and activists in the field of development cooperation in the following period.

First roundtable took place in April and targeted life in Thailand. Journalist as well as expert of Asia Daiva Repečkaitė shared her experiences from visiting Thailand and spoke about peoples’ daily life as well as ways to make a living there. The country is frequently called as “land of smiley faces” and the roundtable aimed to explore what is really behind these smiles.

DSC_0006.JPG
                                     A Roundtable with Journalists and Activists, 28 April 2016

Another roundtable was organized in May and challenged views about frozen Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An activist working in the field of development cooperation in Palestine Gabrielė Tervydytė shared her experience while making a short documentary in West Bank and presented Palestinian position on the the prolonged conflict. Participants actively discussed challenges and possibilities people face in this hostile context.

gabriele-susitikimo foto.jpg
                                      A Roundtable with Journalists and Activists, 19 May 2016

Film screenings

In the begining of May, in cooperation with the regional office of the United Nations Refugee Agency in Vilnius, a public screening of the  documentary “In an Alien Land” and a panel discussion in connection with the recent outbreak of the refugee crisis, reasons behind it and its outcomes was organised at the “Pasaka” cinema theatre in Vilnius.
Renata Kuleš (the head of United Nations Refugee Agency in Vilnius), Edvardas Špokas, Miglė Gaižiūtė, Eglė Marija Želvytė (LRT film crew) and a researcher of migration Karolis Žibas took part in the discussion moderated by a journalist Rosita Garškaitė.
The event was attended by more than 60 people. Audience took part in a lively debate with the film crew and experts and continued their exchange in an unofficial setting afterwards.



Open film screening at “Pasaka” cinema theatre, 
5 May 2016.


A second screening and a discussion about hope and despair people express while trapped in an “alien land” followed in the second part of May. “House of Europe” representatives introduced NGO community from Lithuanian Network of Anna Lindh Foundation with the film and its development process. Around 10 people attended the session.

 
Film screening at the meeting of Anna Lindh Foundation Lithuanian Network, 18 May 2016

African Days

In collaboration with Lithuanian Foreign Affairs ministry and several NGOs, International Day of Africa was celebrated in Vilnius and Kaunas on May 28. “House of Europe” took over a tradition of Subsacharan Africa cultural festival, formaly organized by other NGO, and prepared 4 day program. “African days” served as an umbrella for various events: African dance and drumming workshops, concert with the musicians from Africa,, meetings and discussions. Partners “Afri Ko” organized a discusion on Informational and communcational technologies and it’s influence on African development. The guest speakers from several African countries spoke in the panel. Event took place in Foreign Affairs Ministry. 

In Vilnius’ “Green Cafe” academics, journalists, volunteers presented their African experiences and specific topics in the world cafe principal. Around 35 people participated in the event. Giedrė Birzyte, a member of the project, presented her Kenyan trip. She also did the presentation in Kaunas Cultural Center of Various Nations. Approximately, audience was around 45 people.

Afrikos dienos.jpg
World cafe discussions, African days in Vilnius, May 26, 2016

Photo exhibition

The photo exhibition “The World As You See It” continues to be displayed in different venues and invites local communities to take a deeper look into life of developing countries. In April, exhibition was displayed in Education Development Centre and Proffesional training centre of Žirmūnai. In May, it stayed in the public library of Šilutė. Further, the exhibition will be displayed in the Parliament as well as Government’s facilities and will visit smaller towns around Lithuania.
WP_20160518_11_42_19_Pro.jpg
Photo exhibition “The World as You See it” displayed in Šilutė.

Bulletin on Humanitarian Aid

At the end of May, an electronic bulletin on humanitarian aid was issued and sent out to policy makers and opinion leaders, in particular, members of the Parliament, public officials, politicians, journalists, representatives of NGO sector and national academia. While featuring articles of mainly local authors, this issue aims to present in-depth analysis of the latest tendencies and chronic challenges in the humanitarian aid sector:
  • Humanitarian aid given by Lithuanian citizens: main trends, directions, institutional challenges and future opportunities (prepared by Lithuanian journalist Jūratė Važgauskaitė).
  • Expert opinion about macro-level factors for the effectiveness of humanitarian aid and the need for structural reforms (prepared by Žilvinas Švedkauskas, NGO“House of Europe”).
  • World Humanitarian Summit and Lithuania’s part in it (prepared by Lithuanian journalist Rosita Garškaitė).
  • The prospects of cash transfers in humanitarian aid (a translation of a text by Paul Harvey, an expert at Overseas development institute).
  • Importance of humanitarian communication (prepared by Lithuanian journalist based in Palestine Airida Poškutė).
Naujienlaiskis3-paveikslelis.jpg
Cover of the Bulletin no 3.
Media appearances

On the 25th of May, “Media4Development” project was mentioned when African days idea and the program was announced on the National Broadcaster’s morning show “Labas rytas”. Project’s communication officer shortly introduced viewers to journalists’ trip to Kenya and invited to attend the meetings in Vilnius and Kaunas.

Article Section

In April - May, a section in the national daily Lietuvos žinios (introduced in order to reach a wider public and familiarize it with current development issues) was further complemented by 7 different articles of various Lithuanian journalists. Traditional bee-keeping and eco-challenges for Lake Victoria in Kenya were presented by Berta Tilmantaitė, whereas Vaida Blažytė covered a conflict between man and nature in country’s nature conservancies. Besides special insights to Kenya, articles about World Humanitarian Summit, women rights in Sri Lanka and women entrepreneurs in Thailand, paradoxes of humanitarian aid in Ukraine were published. Each article is accompanied by an introduction into a certain relevant aspect of development cooperation.

 Aušra Mažonė. Women of Sri Lanka. 30 April, 2016.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

We are what we eat – New bulletin on nutrition in developing countries

To produce food or to nourish people? The agriculture projects tend to produce food only, without considering the impact on improving nutrition of local people. PIN’s long-term strategy is to  promote the fundamental role of good, balanced and sustainable nutrition, which should be  present in all aspects of our work in developing countries. Undernutrition is one of the main threats to global health. Many scientific studies have proved that undernutrition has a direct impact on the quality of people’s lives – worse performance at school, lower economic growth or reduced work productivity are the results of continuous lack of essential nutrients and vitamins. To be fed properly from childhood is one of the conditions for better health in the future. Hence, we decided to focus on the role of nutrition in our first issue of Rozvojovka bulletin in 2016.
Readers can find out more about the discovered benefits of wild growing plants and their possible potential in enhancing people’s diet, new and currently trendy “superfood” quinoa and its impact on the biggest quinoa’s importer Peru, the future of food production during climate change, emerging obesity epidemic in developing countries and many others. Furthermore, we present three successful Czech development projects in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Cambodia and their contribution to food sustainability in respective regions.

Bulletins were sent to relevant decision makers, i.e. members of Czech national Parliament and Czech representatives in European Parliament, Ministries' officials, key development experts, scholars, NGO representatives and also to our subscribers. We hope they will have a good read. 


E-bulletin Development Cooperation News 3 by Green Liberty

To enrich awareness of society and policymakers in Latvia about global interconnection, challenges and initiatives to solve them both globally and locally we have started to publish electronic information bulletin Development Cooperation News (DCN).

DCN is published electronically twice a year and features current development cooperation topics from the perspective of practitioners, opinion leaders and policy-makers.

The 3rd issue is Sustainable Development Goals. It is looking for answers on the following questions: How can we reduce global poverty, inequality, injustice, and climate change by empowering development of our local communities? This global and local news is published in five sections – POSITIONS, EVENTS, EXPERIENCE, OPINIONS, and RESOURCES that shape the structure of DCN.

Read and download the bulletin Development Cooperation News here.


The next – 4th issue of Development Cooperation News will be on how to measure Sustainable Development Goals

Environment, agriculture, community and education in Kenya: Reflections from Green Liberty

Text and photo: Liene Bieza and Lasma Ozola, Latvia, winners of the photo/story competition Decent Life for All

At the end of February we, a group of three people, had a possibility to explore Kenya and challenge our stereotypes on life in East Africa. We were a team with well-set roles. Lasma Ozola was interested to find sustainable agriculture practices in Kenya. Shortly before the travel she got in the contact with Permaculture Research Institute Kenya. We chose to visit all four of their projects implemented under Permaculture and Regenerative Enterprise Programme, all of them established by native people of particular place. Dimitri Vanham – the cameraman from Belgium – was accompanying us to document interviews with project developers in video. And Liene Bieza – a photographer – captured our moves during the travel. As she is also interested in children education issues, whenever possible we stopped by the schools. In three weeks we travelled in different regions of Kenya to see Laikipia Permaculture Project, Sustainable Village Resources Organic Coffee project in Rongo, Regenerating Rusinga Project, Drylands Natural Resource Centre Reforestation project in Makueni.

We choose to travel without guides and by public means thus overcoming the stereotype of danger to travel alone as tourists in Kenya. We felt safe because we lived with local people whenever it was possible. By lowering our safety and comfort limits and opening our hearts we were able to have a taste of vivid but sometimes bitter life of local people.

We witnessed thirsty landscapes and empty wells as a sign of climate change and mismanagement of the land due to poverty and sometimes ignorance. We saw newspapers full with corruption scandals. People were rushing to cities to search for better quality of life. They dream to live Western lifestyle, and thus traditional culture is diminishing fast. With sadness we experience that also here the economic growth that is seen as a main solution for all of the problems comes along with unemployment, unequal distribution of wealth, and environmental pollution. 

As everywhere else in the world also Kenya need people with fresh thinking and open hearts that can find solutions out of the system that created these problems. We need to get out local communities from the “dependency syndrome” – the belief that community cannot solve its own problems without outside help. Instead of waiting for the change in corrupted government local activists together with NGOs can empower local communities to find proper tools to create sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing and regenerate destroyed landscapes. We were keen to visit and explore permaculture projects in Kenya that seemed to serve as examples of such initiatives. 

According to the definition permaculture is consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs. Nowadays, permaculture not only includes agriculture but also all aspects of human beings and human settlements.  Permaculture is a design strategy and toolbox for sustainable living based on ethics – earth care, people care, and fair share of surplus. By encouraging self-reliance and co-operation between community members permaculture seems to be a proper tool to address the challenges of rural people in Kenya.

Deforestation and its consequences – soil erosion, hotter climate and less water – are one of the problems addressed by the permaculture projects. The oldest and most developed permaculture project is run at Drylands Natural Resource Centre in Makueni. It encompasses nursery and agroforestry demonstration site, as well as learning centre and community gathering place. Through permaculture farmers learn how to plant trees in agroforestry systems, how to build soil fertility and structure, how to manage water and to increase yields and diversify crops without using costly inputs. 

The centre was established by Nicholas Syano who is also the co-founder of Kenyan Research Institute. He is the one of the rare Kenyans who had a chance to get scholarship to study in US and there came across with permaculture. After studies he came back to share his knowledge and work for the benefit of his community in Nyumbani village. His dream is to regenerate landscapes by planting back trees how they were from the memories of his childhood. The nursery generates

50 000 samplings of 29 different tree varieties in a season. The project involves 450 farmers that have access to training and tree seedlings. They are trained to plant trees on the most eroded soils on their farms, and the centre helps to develop additional sources of income from the wood products. From Nicholas we learned how important it is for the continuity of the project to address people needs, to let people to lead the project and feel empowered to solve their problems by themselves.

From Nicholas and other project leaders we noticed the importance of education and access to knowledge. Not all children in Kenya still have the possibility to study at school. The primary school is for free, but some children cannot go to school because they cannot pay for the school uniform. By visiting private educational centre “El-Bethel” and “Rongo Shinners Academy” we were happy to see that also children who have lost their parents due to HIV/AIDS are not excluded from possibility to study. The access to secondary school education is still a challenge for Kenyan children. Not many families can continue to support the secondary school studies, especially girls, have to drop out the studies. Nevertheless even with education young Kenyans still have problems to get a proper job.


In three weeks we gained invaluable experience of local activists in Kenya developing projects that involve and empower local people to tackle poverty, food security, degenerative agriculture practices, climate change, gender equity and right to education. Experiences in Kenya connected with the memories of our past, the life in Latvia in 90’s, the first years of independence, where suddenly the money was the only measure for everything. At this background local activists are like strong and healthy sprouts emerging from the dry soil of Kenya. Their power lies in bottom up approach by dealing with causes and not the consequences. Together with communities they regenerate landscapes and preserve the culture while developing stable sources of income. We are thankful to Media4development project for granting us a possibility to witness all this with our eyes.