"During my two-weeks job shadowing in The Netherlands I had an opportunity to discover the working field of some NGOs and Social Entrepreneurs, and municipality based organizations that deal with Green projects, sustainability and Civil Society.  I had a chance to observe and learn how a young NGO as The Tree Party is developing its strategies, and capacities, how it approaches to bigger target group using marketing techniques and personal networks, how it launches its campaigns to attract the authorities and to raise awareness of the importance of their goals. The diverse program of mine enabled me to job-shadow not only in The Tree Party but  also in a couple of other profit and non-profit organizations that have a tangible local and why not global impact. This helped me to learn from the local best practices, to better visualize my own ideas and projects, to explore possibilities of a future networks, and possible partner institutions or individuals. At some point I was not only shadowing but actively participating in workshops and activities carried out by the organizations I visited, e.g. decorating small tree gardens in one the neighborhoods of Amsterdam organized by “Natuur en Milieu” or making Beehotels for sustainable living organized by “Utrecht Natuurlijk”, planting in Ki Tov, etc.

I also had a very interesting educational tour in Fort de Bilt, a former military fortress which is now turned into a Peace Education center by Prodemos. Two non-formal trainers represented the whole idea of transforming such a military resistance center into a place where a groups of schoolchildren come to learn about the past historical events, face the present (such as their stereotypes, prejudice, scapegoats and racism with interactive games) and imagine and create peaceful future. Above all, for me a fascinating and life-changing experience was the meeting with Four Freedoms Award Laureates in The Hague and the round table discussion with Bishop Paride Taban, Laureate Freedom of Worship, who has dedicated his whole life to building peace in South Sudan and has founded The Kuron Peace Village, which is an example of success story of peacebuilding.

To sum up, my visits to some local NGOs and institutions, active in education and greening up the world in Utrecht and around helped me to better see the interconnectedness and interdependence of  Peacebuilding, Human Rights and Environmental issues (Green projects) the latter being the central focus point of mine. In the near future I am determined to develop my own project that tackles these fields."

participant in the job-shadowing
in Utrecht, the Netherlands

Mane Marukyan