Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

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Increasing Citizen Participation in Belarus, 2012

 

Civic Belarus

The Civic Belarus Association was founded in 2004. The activities of the organization are focused at support of the development of civil society and democratic initiatives in Belarus. In 2012, in the framework of a project supported by MFA CR, Civic Belarus has implemented a number of activities aimed at increasing participation of citizens in Belarus.

Young people were one of priority groups Civic Belarus worked with. The organization supported a number of small projects implemented by high school students. In the framework of these projects young Belarusians took part in activities which covered a relatively wide range of topics from ecology and journalism to history. Small projects aimed at getting students more interested in public issues and teaching young Belarusians to search for and use information.

Another area in which Civic Belarus is involved is support of local grassroots. We have provided consultation, training and meetings with experts to groups who want to be active in public space in their place of residence, but do not yet have the necessary knowledge and skills. In 2012 Civic Belarus contacted 38 such groups. 16 groups received consultations, took part in trainings and discussions with experienced Belarusian activists. We also assisted the groups in implementing small projects in their communities. Grassroots will be guided in their development in the future.

In addition to the newly emerging local initiatives Civic Belarus cooperated in the training of environmental activists from different regions of Belarus. At the trainings activists learned the basics of project management, fundraising, campaigning and tools for activization of the public to solve local problems. After the training was completed, the participants had the opportunity to work on specific projects. Many of the trainees remain involved in the activities of the Belarusian NGO sector.

In addition to these projects Civic Belarus was active in advocacy and co-organized happenings, which drew attention of Czech public to human rights violations in Belarus. The organization has also morally (for example letters and postcards) and financially supported people who were persecuted by the regime (fundraising campaign “Let’s add courage to Belarusians”).

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