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Monday, December 31, 2012

One Fine Day In The House Of Transparency

Alexdra Naslin is going to share her thoughts and reflections about another exciting day in the Grundtvig project. If you ask who is Alexdra Naslin; she was one of the participants we had a chance to meet through the Grundtvig project. Alexdra is half Russian and half  Moldavian, she is currently living in Poland. She has been working in government offices, NGOs, political parties and mass media focusing on the sphere of communication and project management.

 Today we had an intensive and fruitful day which opened up new horizons and provided us with new information, knowledge and tools for our future projects. In the first part of the day we had a meeting with Mr. Hans van Oel, the head of the Integration department at the municipality of The Hague. He presented us the situation and the current trends of the immigration in the city of The Hague which has a population of 50% coming from a migrant descent and the municipal policies on integration of foreigners. 

We had a chance to discuss with Mr. Hans van Oel, the problematic issues related to immigration, integration, citizenship, anti-discrimination policies and multiculturalism. Mr. van Oel also gave us an excursion in the municipality building. It is a remarkable building all white and has glass ceilings. As we were told the light during day keeps changing in the building, especially in rainy days you can see the rain coming down so beautifully if you just tilt your head up, towards to the ceiling. The transparent walls of the building is symbolizing the openness and transparency of the local government, and offers a big open space for meeting of citizens, for cultural events, exhibitions and press conferences. 

In the second part of the day we participated in the project cycle management training organized by UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization) by Pierre Hegay, the program coordinator. We learned about the Logical Framework Approach in Project Management and stages of project management with the corresponding methods. Working in small groups we applied this project management framework and the tools to the proposed case of economic development in Africa. Through this case study we developed our knowledge and skills in problem analysis ("problem tree analysis") and identification of project strategy, stakeholder analysis and management of stakeholder's expectations and the objectives analysis ("objective tree analysis"). 

It was a day of learning and exploring, the first part of the day focused on the policy making, implementation, practical problems in The Hague and second part was on logical frameworks on how to tackle these social/ economical issues we face within the society. There is always a room to learn more.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Grundtvig, Lifelong Learning Programme - Change Yourself, Change The Experience

This year's Grundtvig workshop hosted 23 participants in November from all over Europe with diverse backgrounds.  7 days of training, workshops, discussion and study visits fostered dialogue between different cultures, provided necessary skills to tackle problems associated with minority communities in Europe and flourished new friendships. This time again, as GHRD we would like to give voice to those who were with us during the Grundtvig week because as every individual participated in the project, they made this experience very special for all of us.

Melissa Chen was one of the many interesting participants GHRD had during the Grundtvig week. Melissa is  originally from Costa Rica, she is currently living in Germany. She studied Economy and International Business Management in Costa Rica and Germany. She worked during almost 5 years for the pharmaceutical companies Schering and Bayer in both countries. Her interest for minority rights comes from her passion to travel and explore different cultures. She is also interested in social entrepreneurship. She likes dancing and learning languages.

It is the 4th day of our workshop at GHRD in The Hague.  INBOX Training and FORUM Theatre are in the agenda.  Every day has been so full of interesting presentations, lectures, workshops and visits to organizations.  But today was without doubt the most active and dynamic day of all. 

 Together with the Dutch organization Critical Mass, we started our program with an activity to deepen into stereotypes.  People are constantly labelled and labelling others in the society and the aim of this workshop was to reflect on this.  Through this activity we experienced the feeling of being categorized and labelled with different attributes as everyone received his and her own “new attribute”.  The interesting part was that we did not know what our own new label was.  Thus all of us had to deal with the reactions of other people with their own views and prejudices towards the “new us”.  By putting yourself into the shoes of others it is easier not only to identify but also reflect on the effects of prejudice and the importance to avoid it.

The afternoon program was at least as interesting as we participated together in forum theatre activities conducted by a Colombian performing artist.  I enjoyed the games and the short improvised plays especially because they were fun and we had the opportunity to interact with each other.  We had both one on one and group exchanges where we were able to share personal experiences and get to know each other better in a very interactive way.  By the end of the activities we were tired but very happy.  I am glad and thankful for this opportunity to learn and share with this amazing group of people with the most diverse backgrounds.