Friday, 16 December 2016

Eurohouse: second half of the year 2016

Journalists’ Study Trips: Palestine, Nepal, Ghana and Mianmar
In July Lithuanian journalist Karolis Vysniauskas joined an international group in a study trip to Palestine, organized by VIKES. Karolis shared his insights from the study trip the next day upon his return on Lithuanian National Radio program Ryto garsai. Later there appeared his stories on Palestinian media, women’s hip hop band in a refugee camp and the University of Bethlehem. He also developed an article for national newspaper Lietuvos žinios and appeared on National television morning show „Labas rytas, Lietuva“.
In September Lithuanian weekly Verslo žinios journalist Milda Tarcijonaite joined the international group in a trip to Nepal. Until now three articles, namely on uniting of small farmers to promote local products, the attempts to change traditional societal attitudes towards women and the challenges people meet in building new shelters, appeared in the weekly. Two more to come in the printed version of the newspaper and the portal In November two journalists - freelancer Rosita Garskaite and Lithuanian National Radio journalists Vaida Pilibaityte – went on a study trip to Ghana in November to collect materials on European electronic waste dump, the legacy of the first President of Ghana, the role of the Catholic Church and the 60 years of independence of the country. The materials will be publisized on the National Radio Station and daily Lietuvos zinios.
In November another journalist from the National Radio Station Indrė Anskaitytė visited Mianmar to collect materials for the radio documentaries on economic development and tourism industry as well as remaining drastic social inequalities, political situation and abuse of human rights.

Journalist Vaida Pilibaitytė working in a field in Ghana, November, 2016


The Lithuanian group, represented by governmental and non-governmental representatives, Mrs Ruta Avulyte Jelage, Executive Director of Lithuanian NGDO Platform, Mr Saulius Kalvelis, Councelor of Development Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms Marija Kazlauskaite, Chief Officer of  Strategic planning division, Department of  Economics and International Relations of the Ministry of Environment, and Mr Kestutis Navickas, Chairman of Lithuanian Environment Coalition, participated at Bratislava International Roundtable: Sustainable Development Goals - Opportunities and Challenges, organized by the Slovak NGDO Platform in the beginning of September. Lithuanian representatives introduced the process of national preparation and organization for the implementation of the SDGs. Highlighting the challenges and  best practices in other countries, the event helped to set up closer cooperation between government institutions and other stakeholders, especially NGOs. Upon return, representatives from NGO umbrella organisations were offered to be members at the National Sustainable Development Commission.

During the electoral campaign to the Seimas (National Parliament), in early October the national roundtable discussion was organised between candidates of the main political parties and NGOs  on the implementation of SDGs in Lithuania, in particular tackling poverty, social inequality, improvement of education and other priority issues. The event was broadcast live on the Seimas internet TV and Facebook live. Following the discussion, several candidates were publicly asked related questions on the online platform about the implementation of SDGs in Lithuania and the role of education in it. In total, 54 responses from politicians were received.

Articles The cooperation with the national daily Lietuvos zinios has been renewed and a new sequence of articles on topical issues in developing countries appears weekly under a separate column The World as You See It from November 2016, both in electronic and printed versions. Three articles on different aspects of life in Malaysia, role of religion in Ghana and role of music and musicians community in Palestine were published. The articles also appear on the internet portal on human rights

Informal discussions

Informal discussions on different developing countries were relaunched and are planned to take place till  summer 2017. Some of them are planned with foreigners residing in Vilnius, who are portrayed in a series of photo stories “Mūsiškiai” (Ours) - project’s social media campaign. The first informal meeting was organized on 24th November on the development and current situation of Ukraine with native Ukrainian living in Lithuania Diane Garlytska and publicist and activist Jonas Ohman. The discussion attracted over 30 participants.

Another discussion was organised on 14 December with journalists Rosita Garskaite and Vaida Pilibaityte on Political situation and elections that took place few weeks ago were discussed. Special attention was paid to environmental issues and technologic waste dump in the capital Accra that harms not only people living and working in the dump but in the other areas of the city as well.  Local efforts to cope these problems through education and other initiatives were also discussed as well as significant role of religion and religious communities.

Social Media Campaign

Social media campaign “Mūsiškiai” (“Ours”) has been launched in October.both in Lithuanian and English. In a series of photo stories posted on Facebook (can be found by hashtag #Ours #Mūsiškiai) we share the insights of the people who came to live in Lithuania from all over the world. They tell about their life both here and there, beautiful and painful things they encounter in Europe, Lithuania, challenges they face and stereotypes they hear. Every Tuesday we post a short photo story which will help Lithuanian public understand better and make these people more welcome. It also boost the awareness on specific country, for example Iran. People respond with comments and discussions takes place, especially in Facebook group “Foreigners in Vilnius”, which has around 6000 followers - both local and not.

So far 8 posts were made with 4 different personalities - people from Iran, Egypt, Nigeria and Ukraine. It reached around 15 000 audience on NGDO Platform alone, but the final number would be double or triple counting its popularity on public “Foreigners in Vilnius” group plus other posting places. The campaign will continue until summer. It has also offline features: informal discussions with the “heroes” of the photo stories are organised in Vilnius cafes, where various issues related to developing countries are discussed. Some of the stories will be developed into the articles and published in daily Lietuvos zinios and human rights portal

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Media Research

The qualitative media research was conducted to investigate the appearance of development issues in Lithuanian media. A group discussion and individual interviews were held with eight biggest media houses that publish most information on development issues. Major findings are as follows: (1) editors of media houses can hardly identify clear Lithuanian DC vision and priorities themselves and would like to have a more consistent defining of the national policy, communicated by both NGDOs and state institutions, also they lack information on the assistance transparency and efficiency mechanisms; (2) the content of the news portals is more and more defined by the editors-on-duty, also articles of opinion formers are getting more popular and bigger reach-out, therefore more conditions should be provided for them to gain authentic experience and develop their relevant competences, including practical trainings (3) media houses are looking forward to closer cooperation with field experts and NGOs; (4) considering the high competition between local and development topics, the latter should be presented in innovative, catchy and related to local contexts forms, etc.

The survey results were introduced at the international discussion on contemporary challenges in nowadays media Media Buzz versus quality journalism held on 18 August in Vilnius. The major audience there were Lithuanian journalism students.
The publication of the research can be found here.


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The fourth issue of the electronic bulletin addresses the topics of Sustainable Development Agenda and national implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. Based on the interviews made with officials (Ms Raimonda Murmokaite, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to the United Nations, Ms Violeta Motulaite, director of the Development Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Kestutis Navickas, Minister of Environment), the articles cover the status quo in preparing to implement SDGs in Lithuania, the global concept of SDGs, the problems related to defining global indicators, best national practices in the preparation for SDG implementation, etc. The publication is sent out in mid-December 2016 to 551 subscribers (decision makers, media, NGO activists and other subscribers of the NGDO Platform  newsletter). It is also publisized on the internet sites of the House of Europe and NGDO Platform ( Later on, it is planned to publish individual articles in the media.

10 November project staff met with the representatives of the Africa Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss cooperation possibilities in organising Africa Days events in 2017.

The bulletin and the project was introduced at the national development cooperation conference Sustainable Development Goals 2030: Lithuanian Contribution and Responsibility held on 6 December by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Negotiations are underway with the Institute of Strategic Communications on the joint organisation of the journalists article/photo competition and the study trip of the winners to developing countries in 2017.

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