Last week, from the 28th to 30th July, as part of the Begree+n project, the ICDET team went to Shvistov, a Bulgarian town near the Danube, in order to perform some activities imagined by the interns in the past weeks.
Shvistov was chosen as an ideal place to continue what has been done so far regarding environmental subjects in the framework of the Begree+n project. In effect, this city welcomed a Bulgarian NGO called Institute Perspectives, an educational organization dedicated to the implementation of European integration policies in Bulgaria by developing innovative approaches in different fields (human rights, non-formal education...). Therefore, the opportunity to reach a young audience to raise awareness of the environmental cause was evident and could not be missed. Moreover, the diversity of the audience in terms of age and background is a way to ensure a broad impact of the project, combining both a local impetus for change but also allowing for a broader spectrum with more general topics. Through activities that emphasize confronting preconceived notions about the environment and one's own knowledge through presentations and quizzes, as well as through practical actions that include direct public participation via workshops and games, the project aims to provide environmental education and intercultural awareness that participants can carry forward into the future.
On the 29th, we gathered with the volunteer team of the NGO Institute Perspectives in their place, at the camp situated in Vardim to present to them our work. Previously, we joined Vardim by biking and kayaking, starting from Svishtov, as a means to promote green ways of travelling, which is an important subject at the core of the Begree+n project. Following some ice-breakers and basic presentations to get to know each other better, the event really began with a Kahoot questionnaire about vegetarianism to confront people's preconceived notions about this subject and illustrate how everyone can contribute to a healthier environment through this lifestyle. This way of evoking the subject in this way was intended to capture the public's attention more easily and to bring together people who do not necessarily know each other through a game.
Then, the ESC volunteer of ICDET, Murat, a convinced vegetarian presented the benefits of this lifestyle and tried to use his own case to trigger a discussion with other people about the ways of being vegetarian on a daily basis.
Following those activities, we pursue the event with an emphasis on some other ways to consider improving the environment by simple actions, that is to say through travelling or using a specific lifestyle. First, we displayed a video made by a previous trainee about possible initiatives to travel in a sustainable way, and then the subject of camping was addressed through another video because it is a way to live in harmony with nature but few people consider it seriously unfortunately. The camping initiative was also in some way put into practice by the ICDET team through the night spent in Vardim in these conditions.
Overall, from this experience of several days outside Sofia, the team appreciated the discovery of a new environment and the possibility to change people's mentalities through numerous meetings.