On the 27th of September 2022, a group of workers interested in peacebuilding got together to attend a presentation on the Peace at War project, funded by the EU Erasmus+ program. The presentation centered around the description of the Training Course and the Youth Exchange that took place between Vilnius and Kaunas during May. The presentation provided an overview of the workshops and knowledge created during these activities. For this purpose, the participants were familiarized with the E-booklet created during the project to describe the activities’ content. The topics were varied; they included informative discussions about peacebuilding (one of the first activities to be held) and context-specific activities.
The contribution of actual refugees in the activities gave a very distinctive impression to all the other participants who were presented with living proof of wars’ impact on the population. Even more immersing and touching was the volunteering experience in the NGO “Maltiečiai.” The participants helped the organization to prepare basic needs kits for Ukrainian refugees. Some of them thought it was a great moment to give their concrete contribution while regaining at least some part of their agency over the matter.
The Exchange in Kaunas was participated by 36 people, the number representing in itself an outstanding achievement. It was an opportunity to discuss the importance of human rights and, simultaneously, to understand how people with different social statuses experience their human rights. The reflection on stereotypes turned out to be very immersive for the participants. Indeed, this exchange spread awareness about some of the conflicts occurring today in the world. It includes not only the participants but also their circles and networks.
Non-formal education methods are some of the best tools to include youth and aspiring development workers in conversations about severe phenomena, such as peacebuilding. It is worth mentioning that the activities were carried out after the invasion of Ukraine had started, but this dissemination was held months later when the war had evolved. Today, every word spent on peacebuilding or peace-restoring processes has a different meaning for Europeans. In general, the presentation was informative and inspirational for the workers who aim to conduct pieces of training of this kind.