Democracy, Freedom of Speech and NGOs (Training Course)

Dates: 23-31 January 2014

Organized by:
 HUJ, with the support of the Youth in Action Programme of the European Union.

On 23 – 31 January 2014 in Yerevan, Armenia HUJ-Voluntary Service of Armenia held a Training Course “Democracy, Freedom of speech and NGOs”. The training gathered 32 participants, the trainers team of 4 people and 2 people as support staff from 9 countries: Armenia, Belgium, France, Greece, Georgia, Moldova, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia.

The aim of the project was to spread European principles of democracy. And the objectives were:
–       to speak up about the existing democratic/non-democratic situation in participant countries and in the world in general,
–       to share personal, national and historical experience in the field of democracy,
–       to declare the importance of freedom of speech and self-expression as a foundation of democracy,
–       to discuss the role of NGOs as a citizen-based associations that operate independently of government.
–       to promote the NGOs as a tool functioning to deliver resources or serve some social, political or environmental purpose.
–       to reveal the great potential NGOs have in promoting and maintaining democratic change.
–       to help participants to find their own ideas, to develop them and propose them as a future projects to the organizations they are cooperating.
–       to help the volunteers to have their solid civic position

Due to correctly held team building at the beginning of the project, the working days were held with active, but peaceful discussions and the compromises were found every time.
To achieve the objectives mentioned above, different methods of Non-Formal Education were used, namely: simulation, brainstorming, debates and discussions, working groups with different number of participants. In order to make the participants feel comfortable in realising their tasks, the energizers were actively used before many exercises. After the exercises the debriefings and reflections were held, where participants could evaluate themselves and give an objective feedback about the done work.To facilitate the intercultural exchange various cognitive activities were organised, such as the international evening aimed to discover other countries, where the participants presented their countries and culture. The visit to the pagan temple and the ancient rock Christian monastery, tour in open-air market of the handicrafts, visit to the brandy factory. These activities helped the participants to spend their free time joyfully, interesting and cognitively. Several free time activities were initiated by the participants, such as evening of folk dances, karaoke night, etc. The visit of an ensemble of Armenian folk instruments was an impressive event very welcomed by the participants.


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.