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Student Leadership Academy, banned musicians return – Belarus civil society digest

Nobel laureate Alexievich opens intellectual club in Minsk. Mediakritika’s manual receives a prestigious ADAMI award. First ever online map of sexual violence against women launched. Costs of protest: info-graph (based on fines).

Budźma and SYMPA organise Fair of City Projects...


Narodny albom show. Photo: belsat.eu

Nobel laureate Alexievich opens intellectual club in Minsk. Mediakritika’s manual receives a prestigious ADAMI award. First ever online map of sexual violence against women launched. Costs of protest: info-graph (based on fines).

Budźma and SYMPA organise Fair of City Projects in Maladziečna. RADA invites for talks with youth activists. Students launch a campaign to reform the obligatory assigned placement for the first job.

This and more in the new edition of Belarus civil society digest.

Community development and local governance

Community change award. On 11 December, Office for European Expertise and Communications (OEEC) together with CityDog, 34mag.net, Imena online magazine and platform Talaka.by invites to the awards ceremony in community development Zrabili!/ Done! The award is given to the most efficient activists who could change the life in their communities and became heroes of the Belarusian media in 2016.

Fair of projects in Maladzyechna. Budźma campaign and SYMPA organised in Maladziečna, Minsk region, a discussion of 10 local projects submitted for the Fair of Projects. CSOs, initiatives, and individuals presented their vision of what should be done in the town to improve it – from the parking for bicycles to the analysis of the land amelioration effects.

Petitions.by celebrates one year. For the year, the Convenient City non-profit resource created more than 400 civil petitions, signed by 30-35 thousand people, with 60% of the issues solved. The resource aims to create an infrastructure for people to collect signatures and coordinate their efforts. Political implications and financial transparency are the two most painful topics for Belarusian officials.

School of Mayors. Organised by Budźma campaign and SYMPA, the programme aims to develop the knowledge and skills of activists from all regions of Belarus to participate effectively in the development and implementation of regional policies for sustainable development, inter-sectoral dialogue to protect and promote the public interests. Deadline for applications is 25 November.

Student activism

RADA Talks. On 3 December, Belarusian National Youth Council RADA invites to the brunch to talk about the purposes, motivation and personal life of young Belarusian activists. The brunch is to be led by youth political and civic activists. The event will take place at the Minsk Gallery Ў.

Student Leadership Academy invites students to participation. Organised by the Centre for Development of Student's Initiatives, the educational 6-month program includes workshops, study visits and the project implementation. The Academy offers scholarships for 20 selected fellows and has four faculties: student rights, quality education, student self-government and public campaigns.

Students launch a campaign to reform the obligatory assigned placement for the first job. The campaign runs under Student Week, dedicated to the International Students Day. An electronic platform Zvarot.by provides an opportunity to sign a collective appeal to the Ministry of Education and the Parliament to cancel the obligatory assigned placement for the first job for graduates. The campaign runs by Studenckaja Rada youth NGO.

Human rights

The first in Belarus interactive map of sexual-based violence against women launched. The online map allows any Belarusian to leave a message what street and what house are not safe because there was violence committed against a woman. The project is implemented by Radislava NGO and aimed to make visible the real extent of gender-based violence in Belarus.

Hotline line for women sums up its 6-month activity. The service works at the Centre for promotion of women's rights Her Rights. For the first 6 months the lawyers assisted to 72 women. Most frequently Belarusian women need help in family conflicts as well as issues with employers.

Legal Initiative CSO launches free online consultations. The website bylaw.pro is to help victims of human rights violations. The project aims to increase access to legal assistance for citizens in need and promote legal literacy of the population.

Cultural activism

Authorities allow ‘Narodny Albom’ show with banned performers in the lead. The Minsk authorities issued permission to hold a concert themed on the popular project Narodny Albom in Minsk, in February 2017. Belarusian rock musicians Liavon Voĺski and Zmicier Vajciuškievič who have long been banned from giving concerts in Belarus for their critical attitude towards Lukashenka’s regime star in the show.

Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich opens intellectual club in Minsk. A year after receiving the Nobel Prize Svetlana Alexievich launches her intellectual club in Minsk. The first meeting will be held on 7 December, at TUT.BY Gallery with the Russian philologist Olga Sedakova as an invited speaker. The club meetings will be held monthly and designed to help "find the basis, which helps a thinking person to survive."

Mediakritika manual received a prestigious ADAMI award. Commissioned by an independent media watchdog Mediakritika.by, the interactive guide What is Hate Language? became the first Belarusian media product, awarded by ADAMI festival that encourages cultural diversity in Eastern Europe. The Mediakritika video guide was designed to learn Belarusians to indicate the language of hate and avoid it in everyday life.


More CSOs to have access to the state budget. Until the end of 2016, the Belarus Parliament will consider the incorporation of the state social contracting in the law on prevention of the spread of diseases dangerous to public health. This means, that CSO services funded by the state can be expanded into new areas, namely, public health and social support of persons released from prison.

Costs of protest. TUT.BY issues a rating of activists according to the number and amount of fines discharged. All data is taken from open sources, media and human rights defenders. For 1,5 years, the total fines amounted to almost $55,000; the list headed by Alieś Makajeŭ, a leader of entrepreneurs with a fine of $9,700.

Havary Praŭdu transforms into political party. On 12 November, Havary Praŭdu/Tell the Truth movement gathered over 400 supporters in Minsk to sum up the results of its "strategy of peaceful changes" and adopt a strategy 2020. The forum decided to register the movement as a political party – they need 2 years and have at least 1,000 members for this process.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

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