<img class="imgl" alt="Spring festival of the UNESCO Clubs in Grodno was dedicated to peacekeeping ideals of UNESCO. There’re participants of one of the clubs on the stage" src="http://www.belarus-magazine.by/belen/data/upimages/2009/0001-009-374.jpg">[b]Twenty-five years ago UNESCO Clubs were created. They did not appear spontaneously like the very first clubs within the limits of this new world movement, but were based on a strong international base of friendship, good neighbourhood and mutual understanding.[/b]<br />For quarter of a century of their activity in the republican public organisation there developed an accurate structure: the Secretary was created, the system of communications with European clubs of UNESCO was arranged and branches in Minsk and country regions were formed. The Belarusian association, adhering to the general traditions and aspirations of the world movement, put its emphasis in its work on youth, in order that the young men and women, who had passed through the numerous actions of BelAU (Belarusian Association of UNESCO Clubs), would receive maximum advantage for themselves. Almost every year, Belarusian experts create new, often unique projects which react to the actual requirements of modern youth. Increasing attention is given to information technology.
For quarter of a century of their activity in the republican public organisation there developed an accurate structure: the Secretary was created, the system of communications with European clubs of UNESCO was arranged and branches in Minsk and country regions were formed. The Belarusian association, adhering to the general traditions and aspirations of the world movement, put its emphasis in its work on youth, in order that the young men and women, who had passed through the numerous actions of BelAU (Belarusian Association of UNESCO Clubs), would receive maximum advantage for themselves. Almost every year, Belarusian experts create new, often unique projects which react to the actual requirements of modern youth. Increasing attention is given to information technology.
Educational projects occupy a central place. This is the individual training of members of the club, and volunteers, carrying out of seminars, training, meetings with foreign friends and many other things. The most interesting youth projects are the international actions ‘Winter University’, ‘Summer University’, ‘Volunteer Camps in Belarus and Abroad’, ‘Model of UN’, ‘Linguistic Camps’, ‘Healing Magic’, ‘Academy of Clubs’, the ‘Alive Water of Friendship’ international festival, spring and autumn festivals.
50 UNESCO Clubs currently work in Belarus. The busiest regional branch is in the Grodno Region. Its head, Yuri Grutsa, held this public position 15 years ago, “The favourable geographical position of Grodno, several dozen kilometres from the borders of Poland and Lithuania encouraged us to create the UNESCO Clubs. Where, if not here, to rally young people under the aegis of this authoritative organisation? We started with several clubs. Now they cover more than 300 active young men and women aged from 16 to 20 years old. These purposeful guys study at schools, colleges and universities. The regional representation has considerably extended: clubs are open also in such cities as Mosty and Skidel.”
They have different names: Avenir, City of Life, Goroden, Kronon, Omega, Orion, Klyub… We will tell more about them later. Yuri explained about it in more detail:
“The club was created in 1999 at the site of the Grodno State College of Machinery, Technology and Design. For almost 30 years, this educational institution has been headed by the experienced teacher, Vyacheslav Khmelnitsky. Thanks to the support of the administration of the college, we can regularly carry out mass activities among the youth. Our basic projects are ‘Culture of the World’, ‘Healthy Way of Life’, ‘Information and Communication’.”
This year we have big plans: participation in carrying out of the Day of Peace, training and work with volunteers and students devoted to a healthy lifestyle. The new action is ‘Heart to Heart’. For this purpose, we will visit children in the regional city of Shchuchin, where we will try simply to explain them the role of mercy in life. We will also organise a trip to the Malaya Berestovitsa settlement, where we will render real help to lonely old people. One more action is conversations with patients of the Grodno rehabilitation centre.
Since 2000, the college club has actively participated in festivals which are traditionally held in Grodno during spring and autumn. Representatives of 15 UNESCO Clubs of the Grodno Region, along with guests from other cities of Belarus, performed at the last youth forum. Young men and women received training on educational master classes, became participants of interactive games at which they discussed youth values. Fairs, the presentation of new projects were held, platforms for exchange of experience worked there. And, of course, there was also a fascinating concert program and excursions to historical places of Grodno. The main task of the festival — to give new information in an interactive form which was interesting and acceptable to further practical work in clubs — was successfully executed.
It is possible to give the same estimation to the recent republican youth marathon ‘Open the House’. Its route began in Lida of the Grodno Region. Then members of clubs visited Pinsk, Minsk, and also Novopolotsk and Vitebsk. These cities received more than 700 young men and women who gathered there to learn more about health, to study the infrastructure of possibilities for treatment in places of residence. Moreover, the participants of marathon could take an HIV-test.
The same vital topic of health protection, the struggle against HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia was at the centre of the 4th International conference which took place at the beginning of May in Moscow. This large forum was attended by representatives from 50 countries — scientific and medical workers, organisers of public health services, experts in the field of assistance to international development, politicians and leaders of public opinion. The Republican Association of UNESCO Clubs was a partner of the conference.
Belarusian experience in Moscow was introduced in several presentations. So, the Deputy Chairman of the Republican Public Organisation BelAU, Vitaly Nikonovich using concrete examples, showed methods of prevention of HIV among youth, including vulnerable groups. The co-ordinator of the program of Representation of Children’s Fund of the United Nations (UNICEF) in Belarus, Viktoria Lozyuk, told about the use of interactive computer technology among the young for the expansion of access and use of services in testing of this terrible disease. The presentation of projects from Belarus became possible thanks to the financial and expert support of UNICEF and the European Union.
The international co-operation of the BalAU Organisation extends to a regional level. The Grodno regional branch also prepares new projects. Yuri Grutsa has noted that a tripartite agreement on border co-operation of UNESCO Clubs of Belarus, Poland and Lithuania has been recently signed. The main directions in forthcoming work of youth of the three neighbouring countries are peacekeeping, prevention of human trafficking and the spread of drugs. The international seminars, meetings and practical training are being planned.
By Iosif [b]Popko[/b]