Friday was another field trip, another chance to see sustainable work in everyday German life.
Michael & Birgit took the group to ‚Benbi,‘ a week of organised activities to engage young people in sustainable activities (Benbi – Berlin Education Programme for Development Policy.) The NGO in charge, KATE, had taken over a local youth centre to provide stalls, presentations, improvisation & participatory exercises for the schools in attendance. The group were given the chance to observe all of this, which was made more difficult by the frequent use of German, but made easier by individual talks from the key organisers in English, (and whispered guidance from the German participants in our group!)
The theme of the week was Nutrition, following on from the UN’s concentration on the issue throughout 2012.
The main hall, the base for the participants, was conducted by 21 NGOs, including Greenpeace, INKOTA Network and German Toilet Organisation. During 90 minute periods, students went to their pre-selected NGO exercises, and before and after were treated to improvised comedy about the environmental issues at hand. A cinema was also in use, showing snippets of sustainable movies to make sustainable development come to life.
‚KATE‘ estimated that 2,600 pupils were reached directly through the programme, an increase of 300 on the year before. The morning spaces were all filled, creating a promising picture for the future of this initiative.
Our ESD group was asked beforehand to try and observe 4 key points during their field trip day;
- Raising Awareness
- Deeper Understanding
- Reflection on own role
In addition, they were given the opportunity to network with the groups in attendance, valuable NGO connections within Berlin.
After two 90 minute sessions, the group reconvenedand shared their observations on the four points. It seemed they had all seen a lot during the morning, despite not sharing a common language with the students and NGOs. The day was rounded off with German class, signalling the start of another weekend in Berlin…