Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs Named Civil Society Champions: Civil Leader, Campaign, Event of Year
The Fourth Annual awarding ceremony of The Assembly of NGOs of Belarus’ award – “Civil Society Champions 2012” – was held at the Lohvinau bookstore on 1 of February.
At the beginning of the event Siarhi Matskevich, the Chairman of
the Assembly of NGOs, remembered those civil activists who passed
away in 2012.
This year according to the competent jury of representatives from civil society organizations, outstanding civil activists, experts and last year winners even two persons became The Civil Leaders – journalist Andrei Pachobut and Valer Bulhakau, the chief editor of the ARCHE magazine.
This year leaders both agree that solidarity stands in the first place when we speak of the Belarusian reality.
Thus, according to Valer Bulhakau, the last year events showed that every cultural initiative on the national level is connected to politics and to civil society activities too.
-It worth mentioning that solidarity showed in the civil society pushed us for further activities. This award assures that our magazine, our publishing initiatives won’t turn down and will continue developing, – said Valer Bulhakau.
Andrei Pachobut is thankful to the all solidary Belarusians who care for support during the last two years and also to the civil society for taking notice.
- It is always pleasant when your work has been noticed and positively estimated. I am thankful to the Assembly of NGOs for making my journalistic work noticed. The last two years were hard for me. But along with that I felt the support from the civil society all the time. And exactly that kind of solidarity and mutual assistance allows people to exist in the authoritarian environment. This is exactly the issue that breaks down dictatorship, – told Andrei Pachobut.
Each of the winners did not only thanked for the award but also expressed their future plans. Thus according to the words of Tatsiana Reviaka who received the award in the nomination The Venue of the Year human rights defense office of "Viasna" may present a new place literally within a few weeks.
"Art Siadziba" received the award in the nomination "Refusal of the Year". Paval Bielavus, the Director of the organization, told that now Art Siadziba changed the format of the activities but events are still being held. He also shared his hopes and plans to open on-line version of Art Siadziba.
The award for "Creativity of the Year" was given to the Swedish airdrop of teddy bears which was realized by Studio Total. Specially for the ceremony Tomas Mazetti and Per Kromvel wrote a video address to representatives of the Belarusian civil society in the Belarusian language. Other nominees were art-action “the Sun Ray” and actions “Toy Protests” by Zmena, the Youth Initiative.
In general the jury chose the winners in the following nominations:
“Venue of the Year”
Office of "Viasna", the Human Rights Center;
“Campaign of the Year” – the Belarusian Anti-nuclear Campaign;
“Registration of the Year” – Platform Innovation, Private Cultural and Educational Institution;
“Refusal of the Year” – Three-times refusal to Art Siadziba in renting an apartment;
“New Initiative” – the Marathon of solidarity “Freedom for Prisoners of Conscience”;
“Regional Event” – Establishment of independent union trade structures at the "Granit" factory.
Siarhei Matskevich, the Chairman of the Working Group of the Assembly of NGOs, is honored that the year of 2012 brought up a lot of interesting and creative, sacrificial and faithful initiatives on the field of the civil society of Belarus. According to his words that award exists not only for inspiration of people and initiatives for new achievements, but also for showing solidarity inside the third sector.
- It is good that such a ceremony which is aimed at inspiration of new initiatives for fruitful work on the field of supporting Belarus in joining the European way of life has been held for the fourth time already. Every year new initiative, new interesting creative actions and campaigns arise. We cannot award everyone but we are surely aiming at that within the ceremony.
According to Siarhei Salash, the member of the Working Group of the Assembly of NGOs (the civil initiative “For Clear Barysau”), such an event is worth holding.
- Earlier I skeptically considered various civil initiatives. Today as I looked at the participants I noticed that some of the winners needed such a gratitude for their activities. For example, guys from Mikashevichy surprised me in a good way. The speech of one of them even made me shiver. They need such an appreciation.
Volha Smalianka, the Director of the Center for Legal Transformation, is sure about fruitfulness of the award of the Assembly of NGOs because it is popularization of activities from civil society initiatives and inspiration for civil activism.
- Along with that, the award allows to speak of absurd registration refusals to civil society organizations once again, of persecution for civil activism and other issues. It must be announced all the time because through this we pay attention to problems of both civil society and officials.
Volha Smalianka became the champion in nomination Campaign of the Year – The Campaign for collecting signatures against acceptance of the Law on Noncommercial Organizations which was held jointly by the Assembly of NGOs and the Legal Transformation Center.