How to organize holiday of energy efficiency successfully 6 years in a row? Marina Borisova, Belarusian expert of EU-funded project Covenant of Mayors – East shared best practices in organizing of Energy Days in Polack (Belarus). 180 participants from the Eastern Partnership countries learned how to arrange Energy Days in their cities.
What is Energy Days?
Energy Days are events which promote ideas of eco-friendly and energy efficient lifestyle and encourage citizens to use alternative power sources. CoM signatories are obliged to conduct them. In first Belarusian CoM signatory Polack Energy Days are held from 2012 and this autumn they will happen in the form of the Festival of Lights.
Tip #1: Use different approaches for different audiences
Remember that the format of the event depends on target group. If you work with schoolchildren, it will be interesting for them to participate in contests, competitions, excursions, flashmobs, events during school camps. Adults will appreciate lectures, workshops, concerts.
How to understand who is your target group? You can appeal to the statistics. For example, figures showed that the number of cars is getting bigger. Therefore, motorists could be one of your target groups. It will be useful to encourage them to use cars less.
Tip #2: Don’t act alone – seek for partners
Students, local business, culture centers, musical groups, public organizations could be your partners. They know their target groups and their concerns well and can propose some ideas of events, give something for free, etc.
Together with Centre for Urbanities and Design in Polack organizers arranged student architectural forum “Arch. Pro. Svet”. Young architects developed solutions to improve municipal lighting. One of developed concepts called “Lighting spheres” from recycled materials was realized after forum. Spheres were hung in town square and in 2017 they were lit during Energy Days in Viliejka (Belarus) and street art festival Vulica Brasil in Minsk.
Tip #3: Focus on non-standard events
Events based on communication between participants and exchanging thoughts in informal setting are in fashion now. There could be TED-like conferences, hackatons, quests, world cafes. Educational part could be added to entertainment: interactive workshops and lectures.
Energy quest took part in Polack during Energy Days – 2017. Participants were seeking for secret codes around town and solved tasks on the theme of energy efficiency. Also Polack citizens learnt useful lifehacks during online marathon of energy efficiency in VK social network. Throughout the month they made tasks and figured out own ways to save energy.
Tip #4: Seek for available resources
Attract volunteers when you need extra hands. You can find them among students, youth organizations or simply make an announcement in the Internet. It is necessarily to hold meetings with volunteers before the event to fill them in.
Cooperate with local and national mass media and those who write about local initiatives, ecology and energy. Organizers of Energy Days in Polack have been cooperating with local online media and popular radio station for a long time. Keep in mind social networks and create there pages for your events, share publications.
Tip #5: Learn from the experience of other cities
Search for inspiration from colleagues from other cities. During previous Energy Days in Polack students built eco-pavilion, Polack citizens took part in city game as well as sport and intellectual tournament took place for schoolchildren. Look how did they get past there. Also there were interesting Energy Days in Belarusian Brest, Viliejka, Čavusy, Navahrudak.
Also you can learn a lot from other Eastern Partnership countries. In Chisinau (Moldova) Energy Days – 2016 were highlighted by festival of eco-technologies and music concert which took energy from solar batteries. Look how it was in the report by the link. In Armenia children were taught how to fix wooden windows and save energy in the framework of EU-funded project “CLEEN” in 2017.
Belarusian team of EU-funded project “Covenant of Mayors - East” invites Belarusian signatories to training dedicated to arranging of Energy Days. Together with experts participants will draw a plan of the event for their city. Training will took place in the end of March in Niasviž, Belarus.
Webinar took place in the framework of project “Covenant Mayors – East” funded by the European Union in the framework of EU4Energy initiative.
The EU4Energy Initiative covers all EU support to improve energy supply, security and connectivity, as well as to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the Eastern Partner countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It does this by financing projects and programmes that help to reform energy markets and to reduce national energy dependence and consumption. Over the longer term, this makes energy supply more reliable, transparent and affordable, thus reducing energy poverty and energy bills for both citizens and the private sector. More information on: www.EU4Energy.eu.
This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union in the framework of the EU4Energy Initiative. The contents are the sole responsibility of Local Foundation for Promotion of International Dialogue and Cooperation ‘Interakcia’ and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.