The New Democratic Wo/Men of Western Balkans program, supported by the International Visegrad Fund, continues with a 3-day long online workshop (May 7-9) for participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia!
Day 1 – May 7, 2021
We were delighted to welcome our international cohort of participants coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia after more than 2months of working in groups with their mentors on the concepts of their fictional countries, with whom we spent 3 days exploring topics related to the civil society sector (human rights and watchdogs of democracy), communication and campaigns (ethics and integrity, public speaking, and political marketing), project management (management, fundraising, and stakeholders mapping) and critical thinking (argumentation and fake news).
After the welcome and introduction from our partners from Czech Republic, Poland, Montenegro, Slovakia, Hungary and North Macedonia, we dived into the introductory topic on human rights with Agata Domachowska. Ms Domachowska engaged participants into a conversation on what human rights are, the history of human rights, the threats to and the protection of human rights etc.
The program continued with our next guest speaker Dina Arnaut from the Euro-Atlantic Council of Macedonia. Ms Arnaut’s lecture was on the topic of Civil Sector as a Watchdog of Democracy which included defining the civil sector, identifying how the civil sector is crucial in filling the gaps
in democracy that exist in developing countries and also the different roles of civil society. Our participants learned that the civil sector empowers democracy and ensures that public issues and problems are addressed in an effective matter. It also makes sure that practices associated with corruption are eliminated and all possibilities of corruption are eliminated. The participants afterwards engaged in a lively discussion about the civic society in their respective countries and the practices in the covid-19 crisis.
Continuing with The New Democratic Wo/Men of WB program with a lecture given by Réka Judit Salamon. This time her focus was on rhetoric, public speaking, different rhetorical strategies or persuasion used in time of elections and the accountability post-elections. During the session Ms Salamon and participants discussed different historically iconic public speakers and their methods.
Day 1 of the The New Democratic Wo/Men of WB program was concluded with the session on the topic of innovative public management with Alexandra Tóthová who prepared our participants to manage their fictitious countries in an innovative and effective way. Alexandra urged participants to discuss the link between personal happiness and finances and she engaged the participants to provide solutions applicable in their communities which is aimed at teaching participants how to generally be an innovative and effective public administrator and not only in their fictitious countries.
Day 2 – May 8, 2021
The second day of The New Democratic Wo/Men of WB program began with Zuzana Kašparová. Her session on participatory decision making approach has enabled our participants to learn about the tools for participative action planning before applying them in an exercise during which they worked together in groups to develop a community garden project with specific strategies towards specific stakeholders.
Next session of ‘The New Democratic Wo/Men of WB’ online workshop was focused on the art and the skill of pitching. Filip Gábor, Be International made an introduction on the guide to ‘selling’ ideas to relevant stakeholders through pitching methods emphasizing the key element which make a great and a successful pitch. Participants were then given a task to develop their own 2-minute pitches that needed to reflect well on the selected target group they wanted to affect and the values that are connected to the topic they chose.
We continued on with another important topic in terms of any country’s proper functioning which is public finances and state budget. Participants were able to learn about the topic from Ján Cingel, Strategic Analysis SK who has explained what public finances are and why do we need them, the functions of public finances, state budget – income and expenditures, fiscal policy of the state, deficit etc. This information will be crucial in completing the fictional countries our participants are developing.
Final session of Day 2 of The New Democratic Wo/Men of WB program was a 2-hour fictitious countries simulation session.
Representatives of 6 fictitious countries Terra Verde, Terra Azul, Terra Amarilla, Terra Marron, Terra Negra and Terra Roja of the South-Eastern part of the Ereb continent gathered to present their countries and to work together on providing and negotiating the solutions and joint projects to a Covid-19 pandemic scenario they were provided with. We were more than impressed by the ingenuity of our young participants in the way they perceive social matters such as health care, vaccination, vaccine production, budgeting, prioritization within the population of their countries, and generally human rights and social justice.
Day 3 – May 9, 2021
Final day of ‘The New Democratic Wo/Men of WB’ 2nd online workshop, started with Todor Lakić from the University of Montenegro on the topic of digital age and the role of social networks in political campaigns. Our participants had the opportunity to learn, based on the analysis of different case studies, how politics uses functional and versatile websites and platforms for their causes explained through the concept of social media.
We were happy to have Ajna Jusić, founder and member of Zaboravljena djeca rata / Forgotten Children of War Association joining us again as a part of ‘The New Democratic Wo/Men of WB’ online workshop, supported by the International Visegrad Fund. Ajna talked about the important work of the Association “Forgotten Children of War” and their influence on shaping the narratives of post-conflict BiH, especially about women and girls who survived sexual violence and rape during the war in BiH. Ajna also shared her personal life story to bring to focus tens of thousands of women and girls who were raped during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, and the number of children born as a result of the crime which is believed to reach 4,000. They are called the forgotten children of war and Ajna is one of them. Today she uses her identity as a child born for the act of rape to fight the stigma as an activist for the Forgotten Children of War Association.
The final session was dedicated to human rights monitoring tools. Ivana Godulová, Education for Equality and Ecology – Edeqec conceptualized her session with our participants in two parts giving an introduction to human rights and human rights monitoring basics focusing especially on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. Afterwards, participants were divided into groups by their countries to find the latest Compilation of UN Information on their countries and to provide a short description related to human rights situation of several marginalized groups.
Thank you to our donor International Visegrad Fund, thank you to our partners Strategic Analysis SK, Alfa Centar Nikšić, AEGEE-Budapest, Euro-Atlantic Council of Macedonia, Be International, Instytut Europy Środkowej, thank you to our speakers and our participants!