22.09.2015

Raising awareness of the importance of development cooperation

The European Year for Development is now in full swing and EAEA members across Europe continue to raise awareness about global issues. For the Lithuanian Association of Adult Education (LAAE) development is a challenge that it meets in order to improve its response to the problems people face in developing countries.

“For us, it is essentially an urge to help those in need, and a chance to raise awareness of global issues and how we can create cooperation with like-minded persons,” says Dalia Cymbaliuk, Secretary Executive of LAAE.

Multi-stakeholder approach: the key to success

LAAE’s membership in the Lithuanian Non-Governmental Development Cooperation Organisations’ Platform (NDGO) is a notable example of such cooperation. As a partner organisation in “EYD2015 – Participate and Engage in Development”, a project coordinated by the NDGO, LAAE aims at raising awareness and understanding of various youth groups on the importance, objectives and relevance of development cooperation policy of Lithuania and the European Union. This involves a number of initiatives: quizzes, trainings and field trips for TV and news portals’ journalists, photography exhibitions, to name but a few.

Ms. Cymbaliuk stresses the importance of bringing together different stakeholders to make sure that no development area is left behind.

She gives the example of another recent project coordinated by the NDGO, which involves an informational campaign on the National European Year for Development.
“The project partners come from various policy fields, reaching from development and adult education to children and youth work, health, poverty relief and many more,” she explains.

More visibility needed

Ms. Cymbaliuk advocates the incorporation of development issues in adult education programmes.
“This includes a deeper understanding of the objectives of development cooperation policy and the measures and techniques to implement initiatives,” she specifies.

To put development cooperation policy higher on the national agenda and to increase its visibility in the media, in June 2015 LAAE organised debates on development cooperation at Utena College. Thanks to the presence of a representative of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aistė Bertulytė-Žikevičienė, the participants discussed not only the involvement of young people in development work, but also development policies at the European and global level.

It seems like LAAE has had a busy year. Ms. Cymbaliuk’s impression is that the organisation has learned a lot.
“A challenge that we’ve faced is how to achieve global changes when we act locally. We haven’t found a definite answer to that question yet, but our project has brought us a big step further in our efforts to raise awareness of development issues.”

Text: Aleksandra KozyraPhotos: Media 4 Development project

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