Initiatives of the #solidaction campaign
The North-South Centre of the Council of Europe began the #solidaction campaign in April of 2020 during the global COVID-19 pandemic with the goal to highlight local initiatives at the global level which could represent examples of good practices for solving long-standing global problems, problems which the pandemic could only worsen. Certain vulnerable groups and communities such as women and children who are facing violence at home but are forced to stay inside, or refugees in migrant camps in which there are not enough basic necessities to protect themselves from the virus, are simply at a bigger risk than others, which is why the North-South Centre thought it important to show solidarity in these difficult times.
„One World, Our World“!
The beginning phase, which is still under way, consists of transposing initiatives made by members of the Global Education Network on social media, with one of the goals being to highlight new, innovative approaches to Global education which have been adapted to the difficult conditions of the pandemic.
“The first weeks of the campaign clearly highlighted the human need of working in a network supporting values of empathy, mutual support, with consideration with the populations the most vulnerable in time of crisis. Many tools already exist, this period confirms the importance of strengthening our common efforts to work hand in hand, favouriting intercultural dialogue and peer learning to fight against misunderstandings, fears of the others and any kind of ‘intellectual confinement’”, said Rozenn Hèmon, Communication assistant at the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe.
Center for Youth Work (CZOR) contributed three of its initiatives to the campaign, adapted to the online environment. Being part of a greater Global Education Network in the midst of a global pandemic has helped ease this transition.
“One advantage is that you have relevant information at your disposal, both on the network level and on the level of individual member countries, which means you also have support itself, as confirmed by the #solidaction campaign”, said Tamara Banjac, the education manager at CZOR.
Creating quizzes via the internet
The first initiative was about creating quizzes in the Fun Park by a volunteer team for public actions at CZOR. By sharing the article “Interview with volunteers – creators of COVID-19 quiz”, the GE Network had the opportunity to read about peer learning in times of the pandemic. Working from their homes, young volunteers adapted to the online environment using platforms such as Zoom, Trello and Skype for communication. You can learn more about their experiences through the article. This initiative was seen by more than 450 people on Facebook.
Digital Mobile youth club
The second initiative was the Mobile youth club, an outreach and detached youth work program which offers support to predominantly Roma youth who do not have many opportunities to visit workshops in far-off city neighbourhoods. Adapting this concept to the online environment Dajna Marinković, a youth worker, described as “quite intensive, especially if we take into consideration that the young people we work with don’t have constant internet access.” The focus was therefore put on “informing them (about the virus, symptoms, protection measures etc.)”, but also on Instagram challenges and quizzes, “activities which they themselves can do at home.”
As for future plans, Dajna says: “I think we’ll keep some form of digital youth work, in a reduced capacity, but we will definitely work to raise the digital capabilities of young people”. This initiative was seen by over 1440 people.
Last but not least is the #NOTAJOKE campaign initiative. Starting from April 1st, this campaign highlighted that April Fool’s Day is also the World Anti-Alcoholism Day. With the campaign lasting all of April, Marija Marić, the coordinator for public policy, says that “The Center for Youth Work started the campaign “NOT A JOKE” with the goal to point out all of the problems of children who live in isolation with parents who are addicted to consuming alcohol, as well as to, by sharing numbers of institutions, remind citizens that the everyday life of these children is marked by verbal and, frequently, physical violence.” In addition to posts on social media, articles supported by research were published on the CZOR website.
Marija says that “This content from the campaign in particular encouraged other organisations who work with young people to initiate discussions on this subject. We see this in particular as the best indicator that the quarantine more than encouraged more discussions, but we also hope [it encouraged] the activities to protect children and the youth from harmful alcohol use.” This initiative reached over 440 people.
As the global COVID-19 pandemic worsened systemic inequities of our world, so too has it created an opportunity to build a better, more just world. For Tamara “the pandemic confirmed the need for Global education as a philosophy or an educational methodology which as its has basis solidarity. By our efforts to overcome it, we had to show solidarity. Both to our loved ones, with whom we live and work, and also to our other fellow citizens. We shouldn’t neglect the solidarity between states which is necessary to overcome a global crisis such as this one, without getting into to what degree the “world” shows solidarity. However, Global education teaches us exactly that.”