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:

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. 


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