Alexandra Pihet

On 10th-12th May 2017 was hold the Ladder Tool Fair in Torun (Poland). The event gathered more than 170 participants working on DEAR (Development Education and Awareness Raising) and also coming from public and private institutions, civil society organizations, foundations, academia, … A large-scale project since it covers Europe and its Neighborhood (North Africa, Belarus, Moldova, Turkey, Georgia, …) .Their common mission ? Making the citizens and communities aware of the global issues and engaging them in sustainable development. The main purpose of the fair was therefore to exchange practices and tools about that challenge.

Speakers from different countries and backgrounds have intervened along the series of workshops proposed. Aldo Xhani, from ALDA (the European Association for Local Democracy), presented a 2016 survey on civic space in Europe, a very interesting mapping about freedoms, one of the key basis for a strong democracy. Going through it, we can learn that in Eastern Countries, 58.7% of the respondents (members of national CSOs) consider conditions have deteriorated in the last year. Even more alarming, 84% see an increase of nationalism and discrimination against immigrants and ethnic minorities. About research findings on development education, Rolf Gollob, from Centre International Projects in Education at the University of Zurich, introduced the website, an extensive educational resource for teachers, educators, parents and all persons concerned with promoting democracy and human rights.

An open space with stands from different organizations has also given the opportunity to share materials and ideas. Patricija Virtic, from Sloga (a national platform of NGO’s in Slovenia), explained how several Slovenian bodies united their strength to bring awareness on global issues and Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty, gender equality, climate action, … Indeed, building a multi-stakeholder approach is one of the keys to success when you work with local communities. She also mentioned the importance to diversify the channels to reach different types of audiences : newsletter, social media, …

The participants also got the chance to attend the theater play “In a better world”, written and directed by Francesco Zarzana. The performance, which mixes words, music and poems, focuses on human rights and tolerance. It tells the story of a young migrant woman who loses her love and saves the life of two children at the same time during a tragic boat trip to Europe. The play is a poignant narrative giving food for thought on the migrant crisis which afflicts the world. It proves that art is undoubtedly a way to bring awareness and understanding whatever is the topic …

Alexandra Pihet

The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of ALDA and the European Union.