Open discussion evening ‘Help, refugees are coming! Myths and challenges’ 11.06.2015

Picking and choosing who is and who is not welcome to Estonia is cynical, and damaging to the country’s image, as Member of the Estonian Parliament Mr. Kalle Palling explained yesterday evening at the Teacher’s House in Tallinn where political representatives and refugee experts debated the future of refugee policies in Estonia.

On the evening of the 11th of June, chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee at the Parliament of Estonia Kalle Palling, Janek Mägi from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, political commentator Ahto Lobjakas and director of the Estonian Refugee Council Eero Janson discussed the present and future of Estonia’s refugee policies in the context of European Commission’s plans for refugee resettlement and relocation. In addition, Juhan Saharov from Johannes Mihkelsoni Keskus gave an introductory presentation on refugee quotas and the present situation of refugees in Estonia. The debate was moderated by communication expert Liisa Past.

‘It’s important to understand that by sowing hate and fear we also repel those Estonians currently living abroad,’ said the chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling. ‘I hope that Estonia will never become a country that markets itself with the brand ‘NOT Welcome to Estonia’’. Palling emphasised that in the coming years, all sectors need to work together to increase the state’s capacity to admit refugees and create conditions for integration.

Political commentator Ahto Lobjakas encouraged people to face the reality. ‘It is clear that the current situation with refugees cannot continue and that Estonia has to increase its contribution,’ he said on the topic of refugee resettlement and relocation.

The discussion evening was jointly organised by Jaan Tõnisson Institute and Estonian Refugee Council, and was funded from the Citizens of Europe programme of the European Union as part of the project "Shaping and Debating the future of the EU".

Estonian major news portal Delfi, providing daily news, broadcasted the discussion event live online. The recording of the event can be viewed here:





The first Estonian-Senegalese environmental education e-textbook

In spring 2015 the NGO Jaan Tõnisson Institute and the Senegalese American Bilingual School published the joint e-book "The Earth Textbook" with the help and funding of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Development Cooperation Fund. 

The Estonian environmental educaiton experts and Senegalese teachers compiled an online study material for West-African schools to learn about environmental education and more specifically how to draw attention to environmental issues with modern communication tools.

The textbook was made as an online textbook to allow widespread and universal use of its contets in the West-African region and elsewhere. The Earth Textbook is available from here 




Senegalese microprojects award ceremony

On Saturday 21st February the 12th graders of SABS received awards for their environmental education microprojects. There were altogether 10 teams participating at the microprojects competition and five winners were chosen.

Teams had an assignment to compile the action plan of their microproject together with argumentation for the project implementation. Each team presented their ideas and proposals to the jury, which consisted of Estonian experts and SABS teachers. The pupils had to search for solutions to reduce environmental impacts in the school, in the surroundings of SABS or in the districts of Dakar. The proposal had to include a detailed itmeline and a budget plan of the microproject. The proposal should present clear links to environmental issues in Senegal and in the global context.

The presentations of microprojects and results are published on the JTI e-education website.  




First joint Estonian and Senegalese environmental textbook is about to be published 

Estonian environmental education experts, who are compiling the study material together with Senegalese schoolteachers, are visiting Dakar this week (16-21 February 2015). The development cooperation project, which aims to publish the first Estonian-Senegalese environmental education textbook for Senegalese students, is funded by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the first meeting in April 2014 JTI experts and SABS teachers discussed environmental education practices and the structure of the study material. This week the Estonian experts and Senegalese school teachers met again to review the materials and to make last corrections to the exercise book.

JTI project manager Kaur Sarv said that in development cooperation projects one has to consider the long term results and various impacts of activities. “We know that one project is not enough to change environmental situation in a country and we have to avoid sending information from one partner to another. Therefore one aim of this project was to learn from each other while compiling the study material” explained Sarv.

The environmental education expert of JTI Rene Valner added that it was interesting to learn, when Senegalese teachers mentioned the peculiar way how in some cases cement was produced in Senegal. “Yesterday, while we were participating in the “Green Warriors” club in SABS, one of the environmental education teachers explained to the students how old car tyres, that arrive to Senegal as garbage from other countries, are used as heating material in cement factories. Such process would result in many toxic emissions. Hopefully this is not a widespread practice, but nevertheless we should ask in every country, how the materials are produced. What has been the impact of the production process to the environment?”

The joint development cooperation of NGO Jaan Tõnisson Institute (JTI) and Senegalese American Bilingual School (SABS) on environmental education started in 2014, when the first meeting of the project partners took place in Dakar.

The materials are produced in English and French languages. A web-based online version is produced in addition to print textbooks that all schools in Senegal could use the study materials.




New experts joined the Estonian-Senegalese joint environmental education project

NGO Jaan Tõnisson Institute compiles the first Estonian-Senegalese environmental eductaion study material, which focuses on environmental issues in Senegal. The chapters about situation in West-Africa are supplemented by Estonian experience in using the ICT solutions in environmental education, organising safe routes to school for pupils and about sustainable mobility management. Additionally the joint textbook contains guidance for pupils about urban gardening and eco-architecture.

Estonian experts cover in the textbook the importance of sustainable approach and explain the possible dangers of “greenwashing” practices, when things or activities advertised as “green” or “sustainable”  might not be actually sustainable.

The new experts in the JTI project are Mart Laanpere from Tallinn University, ecobuilding architect Rene Valner, landscape architect and urbanist Kaie Kuldkepp and Semiotics Ph.D Lill Sarv.

The joint development cooperation of NGO Jaan Tõnisson Institute (JTI) and Senegales American Bilingual School (SABS) on environmental education started in 2014. Main aim is to exchange environmental education experiences between Estonian and Senegalese teachers and to compile a joint textbook to  Senegalese pupils. The materials are produces in English and French languages. A web-based online version is produced In addition to print textbook that all schools in Senegal could use the study materials.  

 The Estonian-Senegalese project is financed by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs development cooperation programme.  




JTI compiled a study-material on forming cooperatives and about Estonian experience in rural cooperation
The study material is based on development cooperation trainings in 2013 and 2014 in Georgia, where Estonian rural and development cooperation experts were sharing best practices from Estonian transition period in 1990s after regaining independence. Link to the study material in Russian (file size 3,7 MB).




JTI organized a study-tour to Estonia for Georgian agricultural co-operatives

Samtskhe-Javakheti small farmers and rural development activists visited Estonia from 11th to 16th August to learn about Estonian transition experience on founding rural co-operatives and economic assotiations. The 5-day visit was funded by Estonian Embassy in Thbilisi and organized by Georgian NGO Regional and Local Government Development  Institute together with Jaan Tõnisson Institute.

The European Union has initiated in 2014 the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgian regions to support rural development, food security and sustainable production by agricultural co-operatives. Due to similarities of Javakheti and Estonia in climate and crops the focus of study-trip was on potato growing and machinery co-operatives (Võru masinaühistu). Additional visits were made to Estonian Agricultural Research Institute in Saku and to Estonian Crop Research Institute in Jõgeva.

Longer lectures were held in the Institute of Economy and Social Sciences of Estonian University of Applied Sciences in Tartu. There Estonian experts gave an overview of Estonian rural sector, explaining in more detail the farmers consultancy system, best practices for founding agricultural co-operatives and also about social entrepreneurship. 



JTI and GFSIS published the report of sociological survey in Kvemo-Kartli among Georgian azeri population
JTI partner In the 2013-2014 Georgian development cooperation project GFSIS published the summary of sociological survey made in Kvemo-Kartli region among azeri population. The report includes recommendations from Georgian sociologists how to improve integration of azeri population into Georgian society. The report is part of development cooperation project funded by Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Kvemo-Kartli report is in Russian language and available here.




Events "Evening with Ombudsman" starting from October

In the frame of the EU project "Evening with Ombudsman" were produced three short Documentaries about different violations of European Fundamental Rights that take place in everyday situations. Documentaries "Story of Kaisa", "Story of Dima" and "Story of Saima" will be demonstrated in different locations of Estonia on the events "Evening with Ombudsman" that start in October. The Evenings will attract attending people not only with documentaries, but also with short Forum Theatre plays and meeting with the representative of Ombudsman' s Office.



Estonian and Nigerian environmental education teachers met with colleagues in Senegal
In April 2014 three Estonian trainers from JTI and NGO Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation (CTC) met with their counterparts from Nigeria and Senegal in Dakar. The aim of the meeting was to discuss environmental education practices in three countries and prepare programme of five microprojects for pupils in Senegal. The development cooperation project is funded by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.




The meeting of the partners of the project "New and Old Democracies" in Riga

On October 03 - 04 in Riga was held the fourth meeting of the project "New and Old Democracies" (NODE) that is financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The topic of the Riga meeting was "Family in Democracy". The project participants met with the employees of Riga City Council and Members of Latvian Saeima. Presentations were made by the Latvian lecturers and members of the participating countries' delegations. The project brings together participants from Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. On behalf of Estonia the presentation was made by Ms Kairi Sepp from Tallinn University



Summary of sociological survey published about armenian minority in Georgia

JTI and GFSIS published a report about armenian minority in Georgian region Javakheti, which is based on the sociological survey made in spring 2013. The survey and report were funded by the Developmen Cooperation Funds of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The report includes analyses of current socio-economic situation and recommendation for better integration of Georgian armenian minority in Javakheti.

To download the report (in Russian language) please click here.