posted on May 15, 2017
Read full newsletter by clicking HERE
The very important part of Bridge It! Life after projects is staying in touch and feel that you are a part of community. That is also the main reason why Bridge It! alumni got together in Kaunas, Lithuania from 8-10.Dec 2017.
Here are some glances of what has happened to some of alumni during the previous year! Alumni are welcomed to share their stories with others also at alumni FB group!
„Kreatyvas” (is a word made from an English word «Creative») was an event which took place in Kretinga on June, 2016. Around ten talented young people took the challenge and grabbed hot microphone to sing in front of their friends and strangers. Event was filled not only with sincere songs but with cozy chats and thousands of bulbs as well. Organized by the „Round table” of Kretinga (Kretingos Apskritasis stalas) where I volunteer. Giedre Ringyte
There are a lot of different events in this year and this picture from one of them - autumn quest in the city park for children and their parents.
Extreme Adventures for entrepreneurs - "Business Challenge". Started in 2017 when 17 businessman from Russia reached a top of Elbrus. In 2018 we will continue and make more trips from reaching top of Kilimanjaro to trekking on Baikal shore.
The exhibition “Life-constructing” took place in the local library in St.Petersburg. Here the part of the socially-engaged video-art project “Chain Stitch/Family Stories” by Finnish artist Anne Siirtola was presented. The concept placed an emphasis on participatory art projects where the artist involves the regular people and researches its meaning for the artist and participants.
2017: Coffee. Work. Coffee. Sleep. Repeat. Nevertheless, I found some time slots for tiny social activities, like:
- being a tutor for a student marketing contest
- helping Chinese exchange student to adapt in Russia
- improving personal relationships in the company where I currently work (actually it’s a huge deal in IT company).
Dear Santa, I’ve been very hardworking this year. I hope you’ll bring me more free time for Bridge it! activities. Love, Elena
I am making lots of new experiments, because I am learning by doing lifescience classes for kids.
Sharing the MitOst pie (4-8 October): the official slice: How could one imagine all the numerous workshops, discussions, round tables, exhibitions and trainings of the event? How could one split into a hundred pieces to be on time everywhere? All kinds of arts, crafts and sciences mixed in one huge stream. Eco-activists, creators of graphic novels, actors and artists, leaders and followers, public speakers and attentive listeners - here they arrived, united for a few days. And throughout this time, flashing away like a minute, was I in the very depths of the Festival. And did I bring home a bag jam-packed with the materials and God damn my soul, if I have an idea how will I transport them to Russia after EVS...
During this year I had a lot of projects in my job that are socially important for the development of social and educational realms in Latvia. For example, we were involved in planning the ways of how to support children from orphanages find families and homes. I personally got more aware of how important it is to grow up with emotional and practical support that family can give. Also part of these children are with functional disabilities, but they are very creative and active. My company decided to support children for these Christmas by buying the candles and candle holders made by these children and giving them as presents for our partners to raise awareness of social issues and capacities of people considered "disabled".
City event “Kind Sunday” – the festival, connecting good people: fair, concert, separate garbage point, workshops, eco-quest and much more. Already organized twice and planned as traditional =)
posted on 10.December 2017
From October 2 - 4, Bridge It! facilitators Alex Petrov and Sabine Jermalovica attended Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg's annual facilitators meeting. This year Facilitators meeting took a place at Slubice (Poland) which is a border town, located on the Oder river, directly opposite the city of Frankfurt (Oder) in Germany.
The main goals of the meeting were:
The meeting included such topics as
"I am impressed how many topics we tackled during the meeting. For me it was interesting to think in associative level about THK facilitators pool and try to visualize it into human sculpture, and to reflect what keeps me in the pool as well as to think what makes our pool special - what are our strengths and uniqueness. During the meeting we created several clusters and I am curious of results of ours - Learning opportunities for facilitators. Besides I was excited to visit these so called twin-cities Frankfurt (Order) and Slubice, where by crossing a bridge you are not only entering a new town, but country as well," commented Sabine.
posted on 8.October 2017
Better late than never.
Summery news from Bridge It!
Read more from the August newsletter.
posted August 28, 2017
Second step of Bridge It! Programme has just finished. From 14-21 August, 25 active young people from both introductory seminar groups joined each other in Tartu, Estonia. Main goals of this event was to meet, get new insights about project work, practice and/or upgrade project management skills and on that basis, finalise their pre-existing project ideas.
Here is some insights about the seminar from Artjom Vazinger, participant from Russia.
“At the very beginning of the Project Meeting, we were warned that the seminar would not be as funny and “easy” as the first one. Now was time for work. The main goal of this seminar was to have a concrete plan for our project, to give it a form from the idea that had appeared at the introductory seminar.
Not all participants proceeded with the idea that they had come up with at the first seminar. Some started to create a new project. And to get the project ready for the implementation, the participants had to work hard. They shaped and polished their ideas with the advice and constructive critique from the facilitators; something was left, something added. All projects were tested whether they meet criteria such as: creativity, impact, feasibility, motivation, target audience.
Writing the project application also helped to understand what to expect from the project and what to require from yourself. The participants described in there the main idea of the project, explained their motivation, wrote down the project's goals and personal goals, and indicated the terms of the project. Fortunately, all participants completed these tasks. By the end of the second seminar, 19 projects got its final form and were approved for implementation.
Despite the difficult week, all of us had lots of fun during our free time. We swam in the river, walked around the city, visited the local science centre AHHAA, and the botanical garden. Therefore, everyone left the seminar not only with enriched knowledge and specific aim, but also with positive emotions and strong motivation to implement our projects.”
Besides the Project Meeting, also new mentors emerged in Tartu. Each Bridge It!-er of 2017 gets a mentor to support them along project implementation phase. Plus, it’s a great way to stay connected with Bridge It! cosmos (as the participants call it), as mostly all mentors are also the alumni of the Programme.
Now, all Bridge it!-ers of 2017 have arrived back home and started the first steps to implement their ideas. Participants have time til the Evaluation seminar in early December, when we look back and learn from the path taken. We will keep you posted!
PS! Check the gallery for closer look!
posted on August 26, 2017
Click HERE for more :)
posted on July 16, 2017
When young people from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Russia join together, you know something is going to happen. On 5-13. July 2017, 27 participants took part in the first seminar of Bridge It! non-formal education Programme. They divided into two groups - one near to Veliky Novgorod, the other to Glubokoe. The notions reflected by the end of the seminars were simply wonderful - participants felt empowered, full of ideas and ready for action.
The two remote areas gave the perfect possibility for getting acquainted with a slightly different side of Russia, places where you usually might not end up. Moreover, getting out from the urbanized environment helped to get a broader perspective on the two topics of this year introductory seminars - “Cultural diversity: connective rather than separative?" and "Eco-communities: following a trend or a real need?" (read more here)
Bridge It! programme emphasizes on the joint development of it’s programme. As the seminar functions as a platform for exchange, trying out and digging deeper to specific topics, it is important to keep in mind the participatory approach of the seminar. We work on the understanding that participants come to the seminar with expertise - their own skills and knowledge - and so there is also a lot to offer to one another. Therefore, besides the guidance from professional facilitators, participants got to practice self-responsible learning, implement workshops and take care of the seminar implementation.
“It was great to see so many participants implementing workshops on very diverse topics - providing practical eco tips, providing tools from singing and rhythmics for presentations skills etc. Also we saw by the end of the seminar, that participants basically took over the facilitation - at the final get together on the last evening, they invited the whole group to reflect on the seminar without any guidance from the facilitators. The facilitators team’s plans for the last day evaluation were fulfilled and we had to rethink the final sessions. What a sign of self-responsible and active participation” - Sille Sepp, member of the facilitators team
BALTIC SEA REGION
Together with engaging participants in the co-creation of the seminar, another important focus for the programme is the contested identity of the program’s region, finding solutions for current social problems, and establishment of good neighbouring ties between the targeted countries. The roof topic of Bridge It!, “imagined communities” gives a broad framework for analyzing the commonalities and differences we face in our region.
“In order to understand others, it is important to start from oneself. During the seminar we explored the process of identity formation on personal and societal level. We discussed the challenges of our surroundings and designed future perspectives of the region in fields of culture, youth, social issues and economics. There are still many stereotypes to overcome but getting to know each other is a promising start. I am glad to see such ideas reflected also in the project ideas. ”- Sabine Jermalovica, member of the facilitators team.
Bridge It! emhasizes that strong civic engagement starts from local activism. That’s why it is also important that participant’s projects derive from the local issue needing to be solved. This year’s project ideas cover topics from re-activating local parks to reducing IT-dependency among local youth, as well as first ideas for establishing a social entrepreneurship were born.
Next step of the Bridge It! programme is to get necessary tools for project implementation. For this, participants are invited to come back together in Tartu, Estonia in August for the 2nd seminar of this year, after which, new initiatives will emerge in participant’s local communities.
(Check out also the gallery!)
posted on July 15, 2017
Call for mentors and supervisors is out now!
This and more news available here!
posted on June 5, 2017
Have you heard the latest news?
Check them out in our May Newsletter
Most importantly, that we have prolonged the CALL for PARTICIPANTS in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Finland for one more week!
New deadline is MAY 21!
More information HERE
Apply via this APPLICATION FORM
posted on May 15, 2017
Time really flies with such busy days. Nevertheless, Bridge It! team is pleased to let you know about our ongoings... and there's much :)
Check it out by clicking here!
posted on April 26, 2017
We are pleased to announce the CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS for the BRIDGE IT! programme year 2017!
We invite active people of age 18 to 28 from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and North-West region of Russia to join the programme that consists of 4 steps throughout 6 months (July – December) in 2017.
It includes intensive seminars in Russia, Estonia and Lithuania guided by experienced international facilitators. Working language is English.
"Bridge It!" is made for those who care about social processes in the society and want to learn how to put their ideas into action.
Do you care about the place you live? Apply and become the local CHANGEmaker!
You can find detailed information about the application process in the following link, as well a in the section "Programme year"
The application deadline is May 14, 2017
We're looking forward hearing from you!
posted on April 25, 2017
International coordinators meeting of the regional programs of Theodor Heuss Kolleg took place on 19-24. April 2017 in Oberhausen, Germany.
The main topic for this year's meeting was Strategy, so the main focus was on updating each other on the work done in the programs as well as in the THK office until now, and develop it further together.
Bridge It! coordinators Sille Sepp and Sabine Jermalovica represented the Bridge It! programme in the meeting and took part of the several workshops provided by different participants of the meeting.
The main agenda for the meeting can be found here!
You can also have a better visual overview about the meeting in the Gallery!
PS! The organisers collaborated with a local initiative Kitev and one of their projects Refugees Kitchen for providing catering. This tight cooperation with local changemakers was really inspiring in regards of acting more according to our values and looking partners for organisation also from whom would foster this.
posted on April 25, 2017
The main programme included…
1. presentation of the projects;
2. expressing the main successes/ values/ outcomes as well as;
3. challenges/mistakes/misunderstanding/lacks and expected aims
Other participants of this workshop were the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Solidarity Academy!
The workshop continued with speeches from important guests and panel discussion. Ensemble of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic gave the meeting some nice ambience to enjoy and we were happy to be a part of this nice dialogue between different stakeholders!
posted on April 1, 2017
Spring is approaching and
Bridge It! team is working in full mode.
Please check for the latest news here!
posted on March 16, 2017
If you want to look into what's been happening in Bridge It! Program lately, please look into our newsletter by clicking here!
posted on February 14, 2017
posted on February 14, 2017
Last year we greeted Irina Flotskaya to Bridge It! facilitators team as she began her junior facilitators education with other colleagues from Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg. On 5-12 February, she attended Final Training of Trainers in Eberswalde, Germany and successfully finished the whole program. When asked, how did she perceive the whole experience, Irina mentioned that she really liked the whole THK educational process from basic to the final seminar.
“It was very important to me that I could reflect and make plans for future during the seminar. Also I liked the map of competences, which was done in THK this year. I also appreciate the possibility to moderate a session about psychological first aid very much, especially as I am a psychologist by profession.”
She is now also a full member of our partner's, Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg facilitators pool! Congratulations!
This year, we welcome a new member to our team as well - Anna Ganina. She attended the Basic Training of Trainers in Eberswalde on 4-12 February and started her journey as a junior facilitator in Bridge It!. Here's her insights from the seminar:
"One highlight from this seminar is that I got to conduct a session on ”Social entrepreneurship. Models". It was the first time, i got to share my knowledge about this topic using methods from non formal education. I wanted to conduct such kind of session for a long time! really enjoyed it! Besides that it has been really useful to analyze the learning process in meta level, so I’m now able to plan sessions better."
We are excited to work together with both of them more and more as their professional background and personalities enrich our program a lot!
PS! Aleksander Petrov and Olga Skobina from Bridge It! program were also in the facilitators team for Basic and Final Training of Trainers. We are proud and inspired by their level of expertise and active participation in adult education :)
On 4-8.January, Bridge It! qualification training “Psychological Basics of the Individual and Group Work at Non-Formal Education Seminars” took place in St. Petersburg (Skopnoye), Russia.
Main goals of the training were to provide basic knowledge in psychology to be better prepared for the group work, as well as defining educational activities from the psychological point of view and providing tools for support of the educational process. At the same time, it was also important to set the border between facilitators and psychologists to better understand, how deep a facilitator should go in his or her psychological work. During the training, participants also got to know how to raise participants‘ motivation to discover their needs and to assist in developing projects.
Based on the feedback from participants and trainers, it was a great and fruitful seminar in terms of all it’s reached goals but also due to the reconnection of old and new BridgeIt!-ers :)
Thank you to all people engaged in the seminar, especially our trainers Irina Flotskaya and Silvena Garelova, and the organizer Anna Ganina.
Some insights from the seminar can be found in the gallery!
posted on December 5, 2016
On 30 November - 4 December 2016, the evaluation seminar - the final stage of the 5th year of the “Bridge It!” Programme - took place in Rīga, Latvia. This non-formal education Programme was initiated in 2012 and is directed at involvement of youth from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia in the development of the Baltic Sea region, finding solutions for current social problems, and establishment of good neighbouring ties between the targeted countries.
The main goals of the seminar for the participants were to discuss experiences gained from the 6-month Programme, to submit narrative and financial reports, and to thoroughly evaluate the social activities together with their mentors. This year’s projects dealt with such topics as natural products, waste separation, women’s objectification, raise of attractiveness of depressed areas, integration of people with disabilities, sexual harassment, cinema art for understanding between nations, and others.
”The highlight of the seminar was the Public Event “THINK & ACT” at the “Kaņepes” Cultural Centre – prepared by “Bridge It!” participants and alumni, - admits Laura Leimane, one of Programme Coordinators. - The guests were welcome to attend not only the Programme presentation but also workshops divided in three thematic areas – critical thinking, green thinking, and non-formal thinking – as well as to celebrate our fifth anniversary together. Now we can look with optimism into the next five Programme years.
Throughout the whole afternoon, a Living Library was open, a unique opportunity to hear first-hand stories and ask guests various questions. As living books, Sandris Ādminis, activist of animal rights from “Freedom of Animals”; Sandra Dejus from the Improvisational Theatre “Spiediens” (“Pressure”); Inga Gaile, poet and member of the Latvian Writers’ Union; Alma Vītola, winner of the Jungle Marathon in Brazil 2015; and further fascinating people have joined.
At the evaluation seminar, the participants also visited local initiatives in Rīga – the “Gaiziņš” Social Centre, the “Mana jūra” (“My Sea”) Campaign, and the Resource Centre for Women “Marta”, tapped inspiration for future activities as well as learnt on follow-up educational opportunities available within and beyond “Bridge It!”.
In this summer our facilitator Sabine Jermalovica attented training courses “EUtopia? -Diversity in Changing Europe”, which gathered 26 participants from all over the Europe and organized by Erasmus+. The focus of activity was various implications of the European migrant crisis on youth from the perspective of understanding diversity in rapidly changing Europe.
Recently a growing number of migrants and refugees from conflict areas have entered Europe, evoking both, political and moral dilemmas within the European Union and beyond. Although immigration has always been an integral part of European economic affluence and cultural heritage, recently it has increasingly been opposed. Further on, Europe is witnessing a rise of xenophobia and cultural stereotyping, escalating into political extremism and radicalism. What are the reasons behind changing attitudes and politics in Europe and how does this connect to the response towards contemporary refugees and migrants? What are the perspectives of today’s young people from diverse backgrounds to grow up identifying themselves as jointly European? Were the main questions of discussions during the training course. Through simulation games, field visits, open discussions, debates, different creative methods participants were provided with competences and tools to understand and better respond to the current realities of young people in changing Europe. It was chance to critically reflect on the topic from different angles together with colleagues from other countries.
The activity took a place in Serbia, Palic and it was not chosen accidentally. The Western Balkan region has been the main transit area and a disputed border zone for today’s migration towards the European Union. The region itself has witnessed a large scale emigration and internal displacement of people as a consequence to the conflicts in the 90s, of which impact is still tangible today.
Since sharing is caring 3 participants from Latvia (Egita, Madara and Sabine) organized common event "Environment and Identity" in the end of August, in very nice premises of Resource Center for Women MARTA. The main focus was on self-identity and identity towards groups. Participants discussed the role of identity in creation of different believes and in decision making process, as well received some practical tools in critical thinking. In total event gathered 15 participants - young activists. Besides the practical tasks and inputs, it was space and time for networking and learning about new opportunities, for example to consider participation in Bridge it!
From 1st to 8th August “Ecolab for Sustainable Development” training took place in Yerevan, Armenia. This training gathered 34 participants from 15 countries (Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Syria, Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Bulgaria). All participants were active young people, students and professionals in the field of sustainable development. Among them were also people from “Bridge It!” – Artis and Daiga from Latvia as well as Anna and Anastasiia from Russia.
The main purpose of the event was to share best practices in promotion of sustainable development, discussion about challenges and
perspectives for the future. Training had also educational goal - participants learned a lot about modern trends of sustainable development in the world; cultural, social and economic aspects of it in different countries.
The training was organized by EcoLab Foundation for Sustainable Development and Active Citizenship (Armenia), supported by the program Erasmus+.
At the training participants presented their countries in the context of sustainable development, told about the existing successes and also about challenges what they face. During the workshops from participants of the training, “Bridge It!” alumni shared experience of the “Eco-challenge” project implementation, as a method of promoting environmental-friendly lifestyle.
In addition to the educational part of the program participants had a great international party. Everyone introduced about culture, traditions and funny habits from their countries. They tasted national dishes, danced folk dances and sang songs.
Program included also visits to local sights, among them the pearl of Armenia - Lake Sevan, amazing beautiful and pure lake, which is rightly called as the Armenian sea. Participants also visited Geghard - monastery complex, unique architectural construction about 40 kilometers south-east of Yerevan. Monastery Geghard is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Temple of Garni is pagan temple I in. n. e. in Armenia. It is located 28 km from Yerevan. The trip to Garni our alumni Anna Ushakova described the following: ”I had a feeling that I was in the heaven”.
As a result of the training participants made a database of all participants’ contacts and organizations, as well as materials that could be useful in the common work. Everyone looked forward to continue cooperation, also to establish an international network for promotion of activities for sustainable development in the different fields.
Impressions from one of the trainers Sebastian Wehrsig (THK, Germany): “During our training activists realized that sustainable development is more than ecology: it's about creating a good way of living for us, others and our children. From my impression especially learning from good practice in different countries, the insights into life and culture in Armenia, our discussion about economy and the workshops on activities for sustainability were helpful. I hope all of us will use the new knowledge and practices to live more sustainable and be a good example to others”.
“Bridge It!” alumna Artis Krūms stressed also the very practical aspect of the training: “In this project I learned a lot of things about the topic of sustainability and about how to choose best products, which would do less harm to the environment. Most probably, I will implement some of the ideas in my life.”
August 22, 2016
On 15-21 August 2016, the project meeting of the “Bridge It!” non-formal education Programme took place in Tartu, Estonia. That was the second stage of the Programme directed at involvement of young people aged between 18 and 28 from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia in the development of the Baltic Sea region, finding solutions for current social problems, and establishment of good neighbouring ties between the targeted countries.
The comfortable premises of the local partner – “Domus Dorpatensis” – hosted 24 participants in total, who attended “Bridge It!” introduction seminars on imagined communities in July 2016 either in Latvia or in Russia. In the course of this week, the participants learnt how to work in a team, how to wisely distribute their time, how to search for funds and promote their projects, and many other useful instruments.
‘It is always a challenge to merge two different groups and inspire those not to compete but to achieve a synergy effect,’ admits Laura Leimane, a Programme Coordinator and one of the seminar facilitators. ‘This time, the process was going smoothly, while an analogue “LinkedIn” network drawn by the fellows gave a better understanding to them, who might be helpful for this or that project, as the second “Bridge It!” meeting is about specific project proposals and tools for their implementation.’
Projects 2016 deal with such social topics as ecology and environmental pollution, consumerism, intercultural people-to-people communication, outdoor activities for physical and psychological health, access to information, social involvement of youth and elderly persons, insights into the work of professional communities, sexual harassment, etc.
‘Simultaneously with the seminar, a qualification training for Programme mentors took place at the same venue,’ says Elena Razumovskaya, another “Bridge It!” Coordinator, who is inter alia responsible for the mentors’ education. ‘As mentors are going to support the fellows with their projects, a personal meeting was quite important for both parties. The novelty of 2016 worked out well, and we hope to continue with those practices in the future.’
Now the participants will have time to implement their projects in September-November 2016, And on 30 November - 4 December 2016, they will meet again for the evaluation seminar in Rīga, Latvia to reflect on this year’s events, share their impressions, and plan further development within and beyond the “Bridge It!” Programme.
April 20, 2016
The international programme “Bridge It!” invites people of age 18 to 28 from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and North-West region of Russia to join! It is made for those who care about social processes in the society and want learn how to put their ideas into reality.
Programme consists of 4 steps throughout 6 months (July – December) in 2016. It includes intensive seminars in Russia, Latvia and Estonia and work with experienced international facilitators. Working language is English.
For the bases of our work this year we have chosen the concept developed by Benedict Anderson, professor of international studies. He used the term Imagined Communities for exploring nationalism based on a belief that any community so large that its members do not know each other on a face-to-face basis must be imagined to some degree.
Bridge It! is going to look at this topic a little wider, challenging different aspects of our “imagined” community lives.
The programme year will start with two simultaneous Introduction seminars from July 10 till 18: “Imagined Communities – Green or Greed?” in Karelia, Russia and “Imagined Communities – Us vs Others” in Pelči, Latvia. The first one mentioned will consider our attitudes towards living “green” but the the other – our identities in the society.
This year the programme team wants to widen the geographical coverage of “Bridge It!”, therefore young people from Finland are also welcomed to apply.
To apply for the programme, applicants should fill out the electronic application form (http://goo.gl/forms/EmyVDBY6kK) till May 15, 2016.
December 7, 2015
On 3-6 December 2015, the evaluation seminar - the final stage of the “Bridge It!” Programme 2015 - took place in Vilnius, Lithuania. This non-formal education Programme was initiated in 2012 and is directed at involvement of youth from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia in the development of the Baltic Sea region, finding solutions for current social problems, and establishment of good neighbouring ties between the targeted countries.
‘The main goals of the seminar were to discuss experiences gained from the 6-month Programme and to thoroughly evaluate implemented social projects on the personal, team, and societal level,’ tells ELENA RAZUMOVSKAYA, a Programme Coordinator from St. Petersburg (Russia), responsible for the education of mentors. ‘For me personally, it was great that many mentors – mostly fellows from the previous years, who were advising this year’s participants on their projects, - made it to Vilnius to be able to mutually evaluate the work with their mentees.’
This year’s projects dealt with such social topics as work with orphans and children in difficult situation, interfaith dialogue, geocaching as a way to attract tourists, harmonious family relations, environmentally friendly lifestyle, conscious use of social networks, local history, and others.
‘The geography of the Programme in 2015 exceeded all our expectations,’ says INGA BODNARJUKA, one of the Programme Coordinators from the “Orbita” Union (Riga, Latvia). ‘With their events, our participants covered – online and offline - a huge territory from Kaliningrad to Khabarovsk with Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Petrozavodsk, Pskov, St. Petersburg, Veliky Novgorod in the North-West of Russia, Riga in Latvia, or Joensuu in Finland!’
On 4 December, the participants went public for an event at the “Kablys” House of Culture. There they prepared own sessions on PR & fundraising, sustainable development, intercultural learning as well as tried out the "Red Mafia" Game, which was developed by a group of participants and deals with the issue of waste separation. On 5 December, they also visited a local bottom-up initiative – the Arts Printing House Theatre in the very city centre, which gave them even more inspiration for daring social projects in the future.
Now the participants of the Programme 2015, like the alumni of previous years, will get an opportunity to apply for one available facilitator’s position in 2016. Besides, they are informed on the ways for further involvement and personal development within and beyond the “Bridge It!” Programme.
August 28, 2015
On 22-27 August 2015, the project meeting of the “Bridge It!” non-formal education Programme took place in Tartu, Estonia. That was the second stage of the Programme directed at involvement of youth from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia in the development of the Baltic Sea region, finding solutions for current social problems, and establishment of good neighbouring ties between the targeted countries.
The meeting in Tartu turned out to be the largest “Bridge It!” gathering ever. For the first time in history, participants from both introduction seminars held in July 2015 in Latvia and Russia - the first stage of the Programme – came together for the project meeting. In total, there were over 25 participants for six facilitators.
‘At the project meeting, this is very important to individually work with every participant,’ shares her opinion Olga SKOBINA, a Programme coordinator in 2012-2014 and one of the seminar facilitators. ‘Here, the participants prepare hard their project proposals and get familiar with various tools for implementation of their projects – teamwork, time management, fundraising, PR, and many others. Hence, 4-5 participants for each facilitator was exactly the right quote, and we would like to continue with this format for the project meeting also in the future.’
This year’s projects deal with such social topics as interfaith dialogue, impact of opinions on social networks, people inspired by their jobs, local food markets, waste separation and recycling, overcoming prejudices towards refugees, laws and rules of urban planning, improvement of free time quality for orphans and children from big families, local history and opportunities, etc. In the course of the seminar, another important process has been completed - the mentor/mentee matching procedure.
‘On 7-9 August 2015, a separate training for mentors took place in the Latvian capital of Riga,’ tells Sergei TERESHENKOV, one of the current “Bridge It!” Coordinators and a facilitator of the mentors’ meeting. ‘There, the future mentors got familiar with project ideas by this year’s participants as well as tools, which may be useful for their common work. A novelty of 2015 was video messages shot by mentors to let potential mentees choose them face-to-face. For this purpose, we launched a “Bridge It!” YouTube channel, which is available here.
Now the participants will have time to implement their projects in September-November 2015, And on 3-6 December 2015, they will meet again for the evaluation seminar in Vilnius, Lithuania to reflect on the Programme events from this year, share their impressions, and plan further development within and beyond the “Bridge It!” Programme.
July 15, 2015
On 15 July 2015, the first stage of the “Bridge It!” non-formal education Programme finished. The Programme is directed at involvement of youth from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia in the development of the Baltic Sea region, finding solutions for current social problems, and establishment of good neighbouring ties between the targeted countries.
For the first time in history, one of the introduction seminars – “Energy for a Better World: To Have and Have Not” - took place on 5-13 July 2015 in the Village of Skotnoye (Russia) situated just 17 km to the North from St. Petersburg.
‘Skotnoye turned out to be a perfect location for our topic. The seminar house, where we were also accommodated, is mostly used for yoga classes and other practices,’ says ELENA RAZUMOVSKAYA, a Programme coordinator and one of the seminar facilitators from St. Petersburg. ‘We took different approaches to energy in three directions – physical energy and challenges for our planet concerning fossil fuels and renewables; personal energy and own energy sources; energy for the society – what everybody of us can do to improve our environment. We hope to come back to Skotnoye next year for further inspiration and development.’
The second seminar – “Creativity and Social Development” – was held on 7-15 July 2015 in Pelči (Latvia), which is very well familiar to the “Bridge It!” participants from the previous years.
‘The school building in Pelči was the starting point for our Programme, which was launched here with the introduction seminar in 2012,’ tells LAURA LEIMANE, another Programme coordinator and seminar facilitator from Riga. ‘In parallel to the seminar for new participants, a meeting of alumni took place here for the second year in a row. We are sure that this place was an additional reason for alumni to come and are happy that two former participants from the last year – Liubov Petrova from Russia and Sille Sepp from Estonia – joined facilitators’ teams in Skotnoye and Pelči respectively.’
Around 30 participants of both seminars represented Tartu and Rakvere(Estonia), Riga, Jūrmala, Ķegums, and Carnikava (Latvia), St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region as well as the regions of Kaliningrad, Pskov, and Veliky Novgorod (Russia), and even Finland. At the end of the seminars, the participants formulated ideas for their future social projects. In last years, they were devoted to such topics as assistance to homeless people, rehabilitation of disabled people and seriously ill children, prevention of school violation, job opportunities for young people, environmental protection, relax alternatives for the third-age people, healthy lifestyle. Now the project idea applications will be reviewed by Programme coordinators.
Authors of the best projects will be invited to the project meeting on 21-28 August 2015 in Tartu (Estonia). After the implementation stage of social projects planned for September-November is over, the evaluation seminar will be carried out in the beginning of December in Vilnius (Lithuania).
February 12, 2015
We are proud to announce that the Bridge It! team is growing - from February 7 till 15 two of our alumni - Sille Sepp (Estonia) and Liubov Petrova (Russia) - took part in the Junior facilitators' training in Potsdam. Now a whole year of facilitator's education is still in front of them but the first steps have been made. The participants of 2015 will definitely have a chance to meet them already starting from the introduction seminars in July.
Here are some comments from the girls about the training...
"It was supercool! The group worked so well together and with the guidance of the trainers we managed to create a very productive working mode and at the same time have fun along the way! We also practiced training methods ourselves, get feedback from the trainers and other fellow trainers/participants and do all that while still managing to enjoy the city of Potsdam and Berlin. So i personally am very satisfied with the training and excited to continue the journey of being a trainer for Bridge It 2015 seminars"
"For me it was one of the best trainigs I ever had: professional aproach+passion both from participants and facilitators. Combination of theory and practice, effective time schedule, amazing methods of non-formal education - I am happy to have this experience in my life. I feel inspired and empowered to share knowledge and skills that I got there."
December 1, 2014
On 27-30 November 2014, the Evaluation Seminar of the “Bridge It!” non-formal education Programme (www.bridgeit.eu) took place in Tartu, Estonia. The Programme, which is targeted at involvement of youth from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia aged between 18 and 28 years in the development of the Baltic Sea Region, has been inspiring young people to find solutions for current social problems and to establish good neighbouring ties between the mentioned countries for the third year already.
‘It is quite symbolic that the “Bridge It!” circle 2014 started and ended in Tartu,’ tells Sergei Tereshenkov, one of the Programme Co-Ordinators. ‘In January, we were still leading negotiations with the “Domus Dorpatensis” Institution here. In November, we can say that “Domus Dorpatensis” has become a plenipotentiary partner and an indispensable helping hand for “Bridge It!”. We are happy to have had the Programme’s evaluation seminar in Tartu and hope for a successful future co-operation with Estonian colleagues.‘
The seminar participants discussed experiences gained from the 6-month Programme, met their mentors and thoroughly evaluated the implemented social projects devoted to sustainable attitude to forestry, artistic methods of work with disabled children, useful free-time and sports activities in the home towns, a barter exchange of unused things among local people, etc.
‘Our alumni 2014 also managed to prepare a public presentation for representatives of local NGOs, youth workers, and other externals,’ proudly says Inga Bodnarjuka, one of the Programme Co-Ordinators from Latvia and a facilitator of the evaluation seminar. ‘Of course, they had an opportunity to explore the nice town preparing for the Christmas time and all together visited the AHHAA museum with interesting features and incarnate scientific paradoxes.’
Besides, the seminar participants learnt about further programmes of the Theodor Heuss Kolleg of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the MitOst Association, which are similar to “Bridge It!” and have been implemented in other European and adjacent regions, as well as about further personal development opportunities within and beyond the “Bridge It!” Programme.
August 12, 2014
This Monday, two parallel project meetings of the “Bridge It!” non-formal education Programme, directed at involvement of youth from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia in the development of the Baltic region, finding solutions for actual social problems and establishment of good neighbouring ties between the targeted countries, ended. For August 5-11, 2014, two groups of participants came together in St. Petersburg (Russia) and Riga (Latvia) to further develop their project ideas appeared at two July introduction seminars in Pelči (Latvia) and in the Pskov Region (Russia).
‘While an introduction seminar is more about inspiration, a project meeting is a real hard work,’ shares her view Elena RAZUMOVSKAYA, a Programme Co-Ordinator, Project Co-Ordinator of the St. Petersburg Regional Public Organisation “German-Russian Exchange”. ‘In its course, the participants get familiar with various tools for implementation of their projects – teamwork, time management, fundraising, PR, and many others; fill out final applications as well as sign the agreements and even receive some funds from the Programme for the implementation of their ideas.’
Within the tight frame, the trainers still found time for visits, which were vital for sharing of best practices and further inspiration. In Riga, the participants found that in the Youth Centre “Kaņieris” (www.kopnica.lv), whereas attendants of the project meeting in St. Petersburg crossed the road to search for advices and partners at the “Etazhi” Loft Project (www.loftprojectetagi.ru).
’With project meetings, we significantly extended the geography of “Bridge It!“,’ jubilates Sergei TERESHENKOV, another Programme Co-Ordinator from St. Petersburg (Russia), PR Co-Ordinator of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. ‘Our facilitators came from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Germany, and Ukraine. I am sure that this provides an additional perspective to the participants and opens up a world of new cultures, approaches, and points of view to them.’
Until November 15th, the participants will have had time to implement their projects and initiatives, devoted to such topics as immigration regulation, general and artistic education, gender equality, separation of waste, critical thinking, healthy lifestyle, promotion of national cultures, etc. And on November 27-30, 2014, they will meet again for the evaluation seminar in Tartu (Estonia) to reflect on the Programme events from this year, share their impressions, and plan further development within and beyond the “Bridge It!” Programme.
June 30, 2014
July and August are going to be very hot in the Baltic Sea region. On July 1, 2014, the third year of the “Bridge It!” non-formal education Programme is starting directed at involvement of youth from the Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia in the development of the Baltic region, finding solutions for actual social problems and establishment of good neighbouring ties between the targeted countries.
‘For the third year in a row, one of the “Bridge It!” introduction seminars will take place in Pelči (Latvia),’ says Laura LEIMANE, a Programme Co-Ordinator. ’This time we come back there with a highly actual topic for the region and a controversial question -
“Migration: To Live or to Leave”. In the course of the event ending on July 8th, its participants will try to elaborate their own definition for migration as well as discuss, what kind of impact it had on each of them and the societies around them.’
After the evaluation seminar held last December in the border city of Pskov, the Programme extended its scope to wider regions of the Russian North-West. Now the participants represent not only St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region but also Republic of Karelia and the Arkhangelsk region. New is also the offer of the second seminar which will be carried out nearby the settlement of Ostrovtsy in the Pskov region on July 11-18, 2014.
‘The place called “Trideviatoe Tsarstvo” is situated between Pskov and Gdov, at the shore of the Peipus Lake, and the choice of the topic for the seminar was quite natural – “Ecology as a Lifestyle”.’ tells Elena RAZUMOVSKAYA, Project Co-Ordinator at German-Russian Exchange (St. Petersburg), one of the Programme’s organisers. ‘The topic is wide enough to lead interesting discussions on various aspects of ecology - be it related to city or house we live in, food we eat, clothes we wear, waste we separate, or creativity we apply. We are curious ourselves, which way the participants would like to go.’
Another innovation of the third “Bridge It!” year is plenipotentiary participation of new partners in the Programme - ”Domus Dorpatensis” from Tartu (Estonia) and ”Lithuanian Children’s and Youth Centre” from Vilnius
(Lithuania). Both organisations were active at the application stage already, and the Programme Co-Ordinators hope for a further fruitful co-operation with partners to the mutual benefit.
The hot summer of 2014 will be continued with two project meetings in August to be held in Riga and St. Petersburg followed by the implementation stage of social projects and initiatives and the evaluation seminar at the end of November in Tartu (Estonia).
For your information. Bridge it! is an empowerment programme for young people at the age between 18 and 28 years old coming from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the North-West of Russia. It connects people and raises their interest in the Baltic region. The Programme is based on non-formal educational methods stimulating the participants to develop critical thinking, diversity awareness and giving them impulses for civic involvement and a space for trying out own initiatives. The Programme has been implemented by organisations ”German-Russian Exchange” (Russia), ”Orbita” (Latvia), ”Domus Dorpatensis” (Estonia), ”Lithuanian Children’s and Youth Centre” (Lithuania) and supported by the Theodor Heuss College of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the MitOst Association (Germany).