EU-China NGO Twinning Program Workshop Berlin 2019

Last but not least – an intense final to seven years of the EU-China NGO Twinning Program

The week from 14 to 19 October 2019 marked the final workshop of the 2019 EU-China NGO Twinning. European and Chinese partner organizations gathered one last time for a Capacity Building and Reflection Week in Berlin. Moreover, the week concluded the seven year EU-China NGO Twinning Program funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and Stiftung Mercator. Stiftung Asienhaus, the Climate Action Network Europe (CAN-E) and the China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO) jointly organized five days of intense exchange and workshop participation.

Set during the exchange period of the Chinese program participants in Europe, the workshop week with its various side events offered opportunities to promote the  EU-China NGO Twinning Program and to facilitate future civil society partnerships. Twenty program participants attended the presentation training during the workshop, the fieldtrips and side events. More than ninety people from different Chinese and European organizations and institutions joined the open event at the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Representative Office on the final day on October 18.

With the aim to share insights and ideas about the role of civil society organizations in all areas, the week kicked off with a discussion at the International Alumni Centre of the Robert Bosch Stiftung entitled “Monday on the Couch – Gender in Europe and China” on the October 14. The event was hosted collaboratively with the Bosch Alumni Network (BAN) at the IAC’s Community Space. Joanna Klabisch and Christian Straube from the China Program of Stiftung Asienhaus briefly introduced the role and progress of transnational feminist movements, particularly in the scope of climate change. The latter was then more deeply discussed by Isadora Cardoso from GenderCC. Cai Lingping from Health for All Beijing shed more light on the structural linkage between the efficiency of climate change policies and the inclusion of women in the formation of such policies on local and national levels.

Structural constraints, imposed by the state and society, were hereby at the center of the panel dicussion and the audience’s questions. The conversations were continued in a cozy atmosphere during the evening buffet. Generational as well as cultural aspects of gender equality processes played a not insignificant role in the discussion. The Beijing Platform for Action, a milestone for women’s rights is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2020.

During the following days, Moritz Meyer, a lecturer from the University of Hamburg, and Darren Mc Veigh, a private lawyer, exclusively conducted a presentation and interactive formats training for the EU-China NGO Twinning Program participants. The training was aimed at improving the skills and capacities of civil society organizations to communicate their goals on a local and global level. The trainers applied participatory teaching techniques, combined method training with practice and counselled twinning participants individually.

In the afternoon of October 17, the China Program of Stiftung Asienhaus had organized an exchange of the EU-China NGO Twinning Program participants with Stefan Liebich, Member of the German Parliament for the Left Party, at the Bundestag. Exchange topics included the history of Berlin, social perspectives on climate change, German climate change policies and Sino-German relations.

During a second field trip on October 18, the EU-China NGO Twinning Program participants visited the Tempelhofer Feld. The field, an airport before 2008, has ever since become a sphere of civil society engagement. At the “Almende Kontor”, Susanne Jacobs, a landscape architect and urban gardener, introduced the group to one of the largest urban gardening projects in Berlin. Citizens worked hundreds of small garden plots at the Kontor.

At the open event at the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Berlin Representative Office, the EU-China NGO Twinning Program participants presented their exchange experiences and discussed their work in the context of European-Chinese civil society cooperation.

The introductions by Rico Böhm, Project Manager from the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Caspar Welbergen, Project Manager from the Stiftung Mercator, Joanna Klabisch and Christian Straube, Project Managers from Stiftung Asienhaus as well as by the international collaborators Zhao Daxing, Executive Director of the China Association for NGO Cooperation and Matthias Claeys Bouuart, Project Manager from the Climate Change Action Network Europe, emphasized once more the mutual gains of international civil cooperation in the spectrum of climate change as well as sustainable development. Transnational approaches and collaborations can only succeed when non-governmental organizations are provided with the space, resources and capacities to learn from each other’s expertise.

The Welcome Address was followed by three EU-China NGO Twinning Program participant presentations. Participants focused on the experiences and challenges within the NGO exchange as well as the shared practices of climate change activism in their respective local target communities.

Viktor Bjelić, Vice President of the Center for Environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, shared his impressions about the public awareness campaigns of his Chinese Twinning NGO Laukai Conservation. The Chinese NGO invites locals for fishing and filtering activities in the nearby riverbanks to comprehensibly show them the consequences of water pollution. Together with his Twinning partner Zhang Jiayi, Project Manager at Laukai Conservation, Bjelić elaborated on the possibility to transfer this citizen-oriented approach to his own community in Banja Luka.

The following Twinning fellows, Dai Huxuan, Primary Observer from the Shanshui Conversation Centre, and Achim Hertzke, Board Member of the German BUND NRW, also each shared their respective key learning moments from the exchange program. While Dai noticed the remarkably different focus of German NGO’s on bee and wildlife preservation, Hertzke emphasized the diverse infrastructural conditions and challenges of the Chinese civil society’s working scope.

Last but not least, Wan Pak Kin, Officer at the Labour Education and Service Network, and Matthias Haberl, Education Consultant from the Austrian NGO Südwind, talked about their continued partnership experiences since participating in the EU-China NGO Twinning Program in 2018. With a focus on labor rights and the strengthening of worker’s self-organization, the Twinning fellows presented their mutual capacity building initiatives to maintain their sustainable, transborder partnership.

The session was followed by an analytical approach to transnational civil society cooperation presented by the International Civil Society Center (ICSC). The center works on strategically developing ties between Chinese and globally active civil society organizations.

Vicky Tongue, ICSC Program Manager, and Bertram Lang, Research Fellow at the Goethe-University, explored possible guidelines for Chinese-European NGO cooperation in the context of contemporary Chinese politics. Based on the outcomes from the “Scanning the Horizon” study, Tongue and Lang presented their recommendations for an efficient, global China strategy, including a cross-cutting approach, a stronger reference to UN commitments as well as new Chinese fundraising strategies despite legal restrictions in mainland China. The aim is to enable and empower civil societies to deal with the impacts of the growing influence of China on global governance and the UN system.

Oliver Radtke, Senior Project Manager from the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Joanna Klabisch and Christian Straube from Stiftung Asienhaus, opened the penal discussion on climate change and its implications for civil society. The disdussion was moderated by taz journalist and Asia Desk editor Sven Hansen. Hansen welcomed and introduced Lu Zhiyao, Program Manager from the SEE Foundation, Rebecca Freitag, UN Youth Delegate on Sustainable Development, and Julia Christian, Forest Policy Advisor at Fern. The panelists elaborated on various challenges of climate change activism, such as the potential generational gap in the prioritization of the topic, or the misuse of activist rhetoric by corporate enterprises for goals of reputation-building.

The day ended with final words by Stiftung Asienhaus. Joanna Klabisch and Christian Straube looked back at seven years of the EU-China NGO Twinning Program, its constructive challenges as well as the long-lasting, international partnerships it created. The participants, supporters and audience members concluded the evening together with an inviting buffet and more fruitful conversations.

An alumni workshop for previous participants of the EU-China NGO Twinning Program concluded the workshop week in Berlin on October 19. Former Twinning participants discussed opportunities and challenges in developing an efficient network at the International Alumni Center (IAC) of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. More than 150 people are part of the Twinning Alumni Network (TAN). Several have already started their own follow-up projects. They have contributed significantly to promoting mutual trust and an exchange of ideas between Chinese and European civil society organizations.

2018 Twinner Laotu activities

Last year our 2018 twinner organization Laotu visited different ecology groups from different countries. Green Circle is one of them, a Hungary conservation organization, which is based in Hajdúböszörmény. They went to see Hungarys oldest national park: it’s a place where birds are under worldwide nature conservancy.

Besides last week Laotu established a cozy housing in Shenzhen which promotes an organic lifestyle. This project includes yoga training courses and an offering of organic chocolate and tea. Through the cooperation of agriculture expert Marco of Naturland, yoga teacher Faye and the founder of Laotu Luojia enabled this opening.

 

Read more in Laotus blog (Chinese):

Cooperation with Green Circle

Shenzhen Housing

Twinner Luo Yi gave a lecture at the University of Tübingen

The Twinning not only NGO staff the possibility to learn from each other, our twinners also get many opportunities to connect with researchers and activists all over the world. Just like Luo Yi did in the Twinning of 2018/19.

On the 14th of November 2018 Luo Yi gave a lecture for students at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen about wildlife protection. She is the founder of the social enterprise Laotu. Luo Yi promotes wildlife protection and sustainable agriculture through innovation. One of her goals is to encourage people to explore China’s countryside and reconnect with nature that way.

For more information here

Find more about her organization’s work here

2019 Call for Application

We are starting to look for new applicants for the 2019-2020 EU-China NGO Twinning Program!

  • Are you working in an NGO for social/environmental justice issues?
  • Are you interested in an intercultural exchange with China?

Then please consider applying to our program.

For further information about the program, see here.

And if you want to get a feel for our program, check out this video about the kick-off of our Alumni Network.

 

Twinners share interview about labour rights

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Kin Wan: Arbeitsrechte in der Elektronik-Industrie. Labour Rights in the Electronics Industry
Two of our Twinners have produced an informative video about labour rights in China's electronics industry: Südwind interviews Kin Wan from LESN (Labour Education & Service Network).

Two of our Twinners have produced an informative video about labour rights in China’s electronics industry:
Südwind interviews Kin Wan from LESN (Labour Education & Service Network).

EU-China NGO Twinning Workshop 2018 in Chengdu

From 3th-5th of September CANGO, Stiftung Asienhaus and CAN Europe organized the China capacity building workshop in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, together with the local partner and 2018 Twinning participant Sichuan Green Foundation. Participants from Romania, UK, Germany, Belgium, Macedonia, France, and several Chinese provinces joined this event. The workshop was supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and Stiftung Mercator.

Participants of the EU-China NGO Twinning Workshop 2018 in Chengdu

The purpose of the workshop is for the EU-China NGO Twinning Program participants to build up capacities, to share their experiences, initiatives, programs, and best practices on climate change, environmental protection, and social topics. 39 scholars, NGO staff from 10 European organizations and 11 Chinese organizations participated in this workshop. During the opening session on 3rd September, the participants were welcomed by Wang Xiangyi, Deputy Executive Director from CANGO, Judith Christ, Senior Project Manager from Robert Bosch Foundation, Zhang Yan, Project Manager from Stiftung Mercator, Dr. Nora Sausmikat, Head of the China program of Stiftung Asienhaus, Mathias Claeys Bouuaert, Project Manager from CAN Europe, Mr. Tong Wei, Division Director from Forestry Department of Sichuan Province and Dr. Ling Lin, Secretary General from Sichuan Green Foundation. Mr. Zhang Liming, Director from the International Collaboration Division of the Forestry Department of Sichuan Province also held a closing speech on the last day of the workshop. Civil Society actors and local government clearly showing that the best way to tackle the social and environmental problems of our times is to join forces.

Zhang Xuehua, Lishui Ecology Environment Institute

Mrs. Zhang Xuehua, Chief Scientist from Lishui Ecology Environment Institute, briefly described the innovative decentralized solid waste management model from the experience of Bengaluru, India, and experiments in Chengdu. During her presentation, she clearly presented the p2 pilot waste segregation practices and analyzed their successes and challenges for future duplication. Mr. Zhang Wen, Director of Sichuan Ecosystem Monitoring Center, Member of Sichuan Expert Guiding Committee of Combating Climate Change introduced the practices of Sichuan forestry carbon sequestration to cope with climate change, Mrs. Yang Mingming, sustainable rural development practitioner from the Chengdu Urban River Association (CURA) introduced the well-known model of sustainability and agricultural efficiency: Peace Dragon Village.

On 4th September, Mr. Zhao Daxing, Executive Director from CANGO, gave a presentation on the opportunities and challenges of civil society development under the new International NGO Law in China. He talked about the requirements for overseas NGOs’ registrations which on one hand encourage NGOs to formalize their cooperation with Chinese partners, while on the other hand, the pose new bureaucratic hurdles to working in China. He also introduced some of the programs, which have successfully received a permit with the aid of CANGO after the implementation of the < Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in the Mainland of China> on 1st, Jan 2017. His analysis was followed by an ad hoc report by Judith Christ from the Robert Bosch Foundation.

Judith Christ, Robert Bosch FoundationMrs. Christ explained how the changed legal landscape affects the on-the-ground work of foreign NGOs and Foundations like theirs. Dr. Horst Fabian , former East Asia program coordinator of CIM/GTZ and currently independent China researcher, shared his experiences and some of the Ford Foundation Study results on the European NGOs perspective of the INGO law (click  here for more information). The study presented empirical data on the registration and document submitting procedure. Before the law’s implementation over 7000 international non-governmental organizations worked in China. So far only around 300 have successfully registered. Many more of them work under Temporary Registrations with a duration of 1 year. Finding a Chinese Supervisory Unit and agreeing on common work areas are among the biggest challenges.

Participants from the French Institute of Climate Economy (I4CE), the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), the Shenzhen Mangrove Wetland Protection Foundation (MCF), and the Shenzhen Zero Waste Public Welfare Development Center, along with other Twinners also shared their exchange experiences on topics such as climate change and carbon market, biodiversity protection, wetland trust and waste management…

Participants at the panda breeding station

 

On 5th September, the twinners and alumni were provided the opportunity for a field trip to Dujiangyan Wild-Research Center (Panda Valley), Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

Waste management practice visit

 

Local Chengdu waste pooling station

After having heard a talk on waste management, the twinners had the chance to visit a local project accompanied by Wei Wei (Twinning Alumni 2016), Project Officer of Chengdu Roots and Shoots. As an example for waste decentralization and community composting she showed participants around a recently developed waste pooling station. At the station, industrial buckets were used to collect and compost biodegradable waste by people living in the area. The compost was then used in community greening projects.

World Café enhances capacity building and experience sharing among Twinners

Participants in an eager discussion…

In the morning of the 4th  Mathias Claeys Bouuaert, Project Manager from CAN Europe and Joanna Klabisch, Project Manager from Stiftung Asienhaus, led a World Café session on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). After a short introduction on what the 17 goals that many nations agreed upon in Paris 2015, the participants were asked to identify the most relevant SDGs for work.

… and sharing a joke

The moderators posed 3 questions leading participants through the interlinkages between the SDGs and the value of a holistic network-based approach on using the goals in their work. In the first round, they had to identify the interlinkages between the SDGs on their chosen work tables. In the second round after a change of tables, they were asked to think about the potential relevance of the interlinkages for their current work. After a final change of tables, the twinners considered the opportunities these links might provide in their future work. The format was generally well received and considered one of the most productive parts of the meeting.

Thus concluded 3 days of intense but productive cooperation in the city of Chengdu.

Wei Wei Roots and Shoots

 

For more information on the generell topic of communication between China and Europe also in regards to the NGO issue click here.

Electronics Industry Picture Campaign from Südwind Austria and LESN, HK

Our 2018 twinners from Südwind Austria and Labour Education and Service Network, HK, have promoted a foto campaign against last week’s Black Friday, depicting IT company workers commenting on their abysmal working conditions behind. Their aim was to give these persons a voice that rarely gets heard through the noise made by multinational campaigns offering cheap deals to raise electronics consumption worldwide. Being aware of the conditions behind the production of these goods should be in the consumer’s mind.

Learn more on how to make an impact and promote fair electronics here (German).

 

Four Twinners joining forces on a Follow Up Project

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Arts based festival Kaleidoscope 21-23 October 2016

Georgeta Mureanu, Li Fangfang, Louisa Kistemaker, and Shi Shan worked altogether on a follow-up project. All four of them participated in our EU-China Twinning Program in 2015 and decided to continue the exchange beyond the Program. They organized a festival kaleidoscope on arts-based methods, non-f

Georgeta Mureanu, Li Fangfang, Louisa Kistemaker, and Shi Shan worked altogether on a follow-up project. All four of them participated in our EU-China Twinning Program in 2015 and decided to continue the exchange beyond the Program. They organized a festival kaleidoscope on arts-based methods, non-formal education and sustainability. The organizations they represented were FCASEC (Romania), a tip: tap (Germany), Evergreen Center for Sustainable Development and Eco-Watch Institute (both from China). The festival took place on October 21-23 of 2016 Beijing.

The main aims of the festival were to link different actors and jointly explore new ideas on sustainable development in a creative manner that unfolded through arts-based methods and non-formal education tools. This process of knowledge co-production values experiences, emotions, embodied and local knowledge equally as it values scientific knowledge. The objective of this festival was to tap these different pieces of knowledge as a first step to understand each other’s visions, create joint visions thereafter and start testing sustainability agency through interactive dialogues and theater games with stakeholders in Beijing.

The team spent three months preparing for the three-day long festival. The festival consisted of six different workshop modules: Forum Theater, Dance, Coffee ground Workshop, Living Library, Photovoice, and World Cafe. In total, 60 different participants joined the festival. Participants consisted of dancers, social workers, and forest management students, community members, NGOs, and researchers from the fields of applied theater and social sciences.

See above for the movie that has been made during the festival and an article has been published December 16th, 2016 in China Education Daily written by the Yu Chuang 余闯.

Capacity Building and Reflection Workshop in Vienna

In an intense and inspiring three-day workshop in Vienna/Austria, the social and environmental justice Twinners were provided with a training of rhetoric skills and input from local NGO experts. The meeting was also an opportunity to reflect on the experiences made so far and to network within the group and with alumni Twinners.

Ethos, Pathos, Logos – Presentation Training

Rhetoric Trainer Moritz Meyer

Day one started with a rhetoric workshop held by Moritz Meyer from the University of Hamburg. Three Twinning pairs were given the opportunity to improve their presentation skills in order to better convey the content, focus and intention of their work to specific audiences. They were asked to present their exchange experience and joint projects to the group. Through several rounds of feedback, they identified strong points and flaws and mapped out opportunities for improvement.

Moritz highlighted, that when designing a presentation, one should think not only about the logic and content, but also about the goal and intention of the presentation (Ethos) and about a way to make the audience care about the cause (Pathos).

 

 

Scientist and Activist Roleplay by Linghui and Andreea

Experience sharing and presentation practice – Labour Education and Service Network Hongkong and Südwind Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparisons spark an audience’s attention – Werner Bock on the status quo of HIV infections in China and Germany

Feedback through “Reflecting Teams”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alumni Sharing, Georgeta Mureanu

In the afternoon, Twinning Alumni Louisa (Forum Theater Enschede, Netherlands) and Georgeta Mureanu (FCASEC/Romania) presented their follow-up project with Chinese partner Evergreen – a 2016 festival on Non-formal Education Theatre in Beijing.

 

 

 

Visit at MP Becher’s Office

Day two of the workshop started with a visit at the office of Mrs. Ruth Becher, MP and member of the Austrian Social Democrats Party, SPÖ. A spokesperson on housing and construction, Mrs. Becher answered numerous questions on the topics of her expertise.

Twinners and MP Becher

When asked about current housing issues in Austria, she explained that as most countries, Austria is facing the global trend of urbanization, an issue the Chinese participants were especially interested in. Vienna being the main magnet for Austrians and people from all over the world. With more than 30.000 people moving to the Austrian capital each year, there is a growing demand for newly constructed and affordable housing. Until now, housing law allowed for a high percentage of social housing, that is also available for people with average middle class financial resources. However, the SPÖ is currently opposing a proposed EU-guideline, which foresees stricter income checks for tenants of social housing, thus preventing people from the middle class from renting the affordable social housing apartments. This guideline might endanger the healthy mix of tenants from all social strata and favor parallel societies.

Greening Vienna

 

Mag. Becher also explained that sustainable construction, e.g. with regard to heating, is a precondition for receiving government subsidies in housing construction.

Regarding environmental protection and Green projects in Vienna, the MP highlighted, that with new construction, sealed surfaces can only make up one third of the whole space designated – two thirds have to remain green space. Moreover, every tree larger than 40cm in diameter in Vienna is registered and protected. Even when they grow in private gardens, they cannot be cut down without permission from the municipal administration and adequate replacement greenery.

On waste management in Vienna, Mrs. Becher explained that waste separation is compulsory in the city. The city’s incinerator in Spittelau functions as a waste-to-energy-generator, providing around 60.000 apartments with heating. In her eyes, the incinerator was very much accepted among city dwellers. At the same time, the air quality and pollutants are constantly being monitored using sensors throughout the city, with the data being made available to all via an app.

The field trip concluded with a tour around Vienna’s most important historical sites and buildings, with our very own Twinning participant Matthias Haberl (Südwind Austria) as a fun and knowledgeable tour guide.

 

 

 

Day two opened with welcome remarks by Stiftung Asienhaus’ Nora Sausmikat and Joanna Klabisch as well as by Wang Xiangyi from CANGO and Judith Christ from Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Day Two – Expert Input

The second workshop day featured the refined presentations by the three Twinning groups as well as inputs from sustainable mobility expert Holger Heinfellner and non-profit organization consultant Nina Thüllen.

Sustainable Mobility: Avoiding, shifting and improving transport

Holger Heinfellner

First, Holger Heinfellner from the Austrian Environmental Agency talked about the environmental impact of mobility. He highlighted the importance of the transportation sector for all efforts to cut Green House Gas emissions and fight climate change. His institution is tasked with developing a strategy to shape a sustainable Austrian transportation system and thus help the country to reach their carbon reduction goals. They have so far devised several measures in the three action fields of avoiding, shifting and improving transport. In order to avoid transport, consumer behavior needs to be changed. At the same time the local economy is to be strengthened, as well as structures and modes of work that require little mobility, such as teleworking or teleconferencing. Shifting transportation points to developing infrastructure for more active mobility, such as cycling and walking and offering high quality public transportation, while taking space away from cars. Improving transportation is related to those trips, that can neither be avoided nor shifted to more sustainable transportation modes. These trips should be taken by vehicles and with fuels with the highest energy and resource efficiency and the lowest emissions, such as battery electric vehicles (BEV) or biofuel-run vehicles.

According to Mr. Heinfellner, NGOs are active in all three fields of shaping a sustainable mobility system, such as the VCÖ (Mobilität mit Zukunft), advocating an environmentally and socially just transportation system, or the cyclists’ and pedestrian lobby associations.

Shrinking spaces for NGOs in Austria

Mr. Heinfellner also pointed out that civil society organizations in Austria are confronted with shrinking spaces under the current conservative/far right government coalition. The main concern for environmental NGOs at the moment is a regulatory initiative, that would prevent environmental organizations with less than 100 members to be involved in environmental impact assessments. The initiative also requires all member’s full names and addresses to be provided to the environmental ministry, which many think to be a clear violation of privacy law. The Twinners, most of whom worked in big or in China’s case so called mega-cities could relate to many of the presented issues and a lively discussion on the topics mentioned took place after the input. A short summary of the presentation can be found here.

Collaboration opportunities for Chinese and European NGOs

Nina Thüllen

Mr. Heinfellner’s talk was followed by an input by Nina Thüllen, a system consultant working on empowering non-profit organizations. Nina invited the workshop participants to make use of her wide expertise of developing campaigns and NGO work on EU and an international level. As a start, she briefly outlined and visualized the law-making process on EU-level, indicating possible points of involvement for non-profit organizations. Taking Chinese-European trade relations as an example, she identified several points of involvement for European and Chinese non-profit organizations. They could lobby for similar standards regarding workers and environmental rights. In Europe, one method would be to appeal to people’s morale by exposing the situation of workers and the environmental impact of cheap production methods in China. Chinese organizations could contribute by providing pictures, videos or suitable stories relating to the joint venture productions. Moreover, with the help of a European partner organization, they could identify Members of the European Parliament working on the related topic, and send them information.

Campaign Design

With regard to planning a campaign, Nina recommended http://campaignstrategy.org/, an online guide for successful non-profit campaigns. When designing a campaign, one should first define the goal, then spend sufficient time on context and stakeholder/power analysis, build the strategy accordingly and design tactics as a last step. The talk was highly interactive and the Twinners appreciated the practical approach to campaigning/lobbying Nina advised them on.

At the end of the day an informal networking get together with visitors of the workshop concluded the event.

Fieldtrips

The last day of the Vienna Capacity Building and Reflection Workshop started early at the Heldenplatz (Vienna Centre), where Barbara awaited the Twinners for a very special kind of city tour. Shades Tours a Viennese social enterprise, organizes moving tours guided by homeless people. Because, who else could explain this difficult topic and its issues better than those affected themselves.

Shades Tour with Barbara

Meeting Barbara, a former art gallery owner who lost her business as well as her housing after incurring a substantial debt through medical bills immediately confronted the participants with their preconceptions of homeless people. While walking along the splendor of the Austrian Parliament Barbara explained backgrounds of homelessness, the statistics of it in Vienna, the social system supporting homeless people in the city and ways of recovery. While the rain forced the group into the warmth of the beautiful Viennese Café Mozart, the discussion was not hindered at all through the relocation. Barbara’s honest and personal approach to the topic abolished all shy reluctance and the group was left with a completely new perspective of Vienna and the Austrian social system.

 

Visiting Südwind Austria

The last stop of the day was a visit to Südwind Austria. The organization’s sub-group Südwind Niederöstereich is taking part in this year’s Twinning with their partner the Labor Education and Service Network Hongkong. The  highly professionalized and successful pairing provideda lot of local support to the Vienna workshop organizers. Visiting their office space in the city center and talking about one of their many programs cemented the thoroughly positive picture the Twinners gained of Südwind. The organization gave an input on an environmental education program they are running in schools all over Austria: Training teachers on climate change issues and providing material that many schools are lacking. Starting environmentally conscious behaviors in young children is one of the best ways to ensure sustainable attitudes in them as well as their parents.

Following the environmental input Matthias Haberl and his Twinner Kin Wan invited all to join their planned online platform dealing with global labor issues. An invitation that the Stiftung Asienhaus is sure to follow. We thank all participants for taking part in these three days full of learning, networking and reflection on the EU-China NGO Twinning and hope to see you again.

2018 Twinners Laotu and Naturland met in Shanghai

After their Chengdu Sharing Conference, our 2018 twinner organization Laotu organized another meeting in Shanghai on September 29th to share the highlights about their last Sichuan trip. The organization also wants to offer an international perspective, and continue to explore the development of ecological agriculture in China. Participant to this event is their partner organization Naturland e.V. represented by Marco Schlüter. Dinghaiqioa Co-operative Society, another organization taking part in our 2018 EU-China twinning program, will also be present at the event. They seized the opportunity to exchange on topics such as self-education, communities’ mutual aid and assistance as well as working methods and action paths to generate new social projects.

Read more here (Chinese).