‘A Better Way’

Organisation for Friendship in Diversity (OFD)

3.1 – Cooperating with the Neighbouring Partner Countries of the EU

The training course took place in Kobuleti, Georgia over a period of six days. The project brought together 24 youth workers and activists from Malta, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Latvia and Lithuania to learn about non-violent actions in current global and regional conflicts as a method of conflict transformation, paying particular attention to the issue of discrimination. This was done through a variety of interactive activities, working groups, and creative and innovative ways of learning.

Through such interconnected sessions, participants were able to construct a possible Peace Education Activity or project idea which partner organisations could take back to their own country to implement. Participants worked in international themes thus incorporating diverse ideas and points of view, focusing finally on a real issue present in the respective countries of origin. Social activities were also carried out with a focus on fostering and developing peace initiatives. An international evening was organised giving participants the opportunity to present their country, its products and traditions to the whole group. The aim of similar activities is to give people knowledge and insight into other cultures thus developing a stronger sense of international understanding. Other activities were also organised so as to get to know the hosting country with outings around the area of Kobuleti and a final traditional dinner in Tbilisi.

The project contributed to the organisation as it strengthened its contacts established new ones within the European and Mediterranean regions. Due to the inclusive nature of the project, a sense of citizenship was felt not only by participants from the EU programme countries but also embraced by those participants from regional neighbours from the partner countries. This was an important achievement as the concepts of peace and conflict transformation dealt with in the sessions were directly reflected in the attitudes of the participants towards one another and to their shared region’s stability.

One participant commented that “yes – they went above and beyond my expectations! Causes were very inspirational and stemmed many ideas”. Another participant noted that “I learnt a lot about Caucuses conflicts and the complexity of all global conflicts. It also reinstated my decision to be part of this field.” Another participant commented that his new competences now included “conflict mapping and nonviolent escalation of a conflict while considering all assumptions and setting realistic (SMART) goals. It made so much sense I plan to use it in my daily life.”

Target group: Socially conscious and actively aware youth workers, equipped with basic skills and an added interest in pursuing nonviolent methods to tackle discrimination in their societies.

About the beneficiary: The OFD is a youth-led NGO working with children and adults from local and migrant communities, to foster a respect for diversity and promote social inclusion. The OFD members’ objective is to help cultivate friendship in the midst of diversity through cultural understanding. As a forward looking and enthusiastic team, OFD is constantly working to improve its methods and develop new ways to challenge social stereotypes that lead to discrimination.