image2 29.05.2018

Belarusian cities are getting ready for the Energy Days. 4 steps to successful communication

Reacting to the climate change, 42 Belarusian cities and urban settlements have joined the ‘Covenant of Mayors - East’ initiative in order to address the climate change. In order to implement the Covenant, the cities taking brave and immediate steps, build new bike lanes, switch to more energy-effective street-lighting, design new green urban spaces etc.

On the 17th-18th of May 2018 in Niasvizh representatives of thirty Belarusian cities took part in a workshop dedicated to issues of energy sustainability and climate change. The workshop was aimed to improve the participants’ knowledge and skills of using the novel ways of communication with their audiences and to prepare for the Energy Days, an international event scheduled for 4th-8th of June. The participants have focused on the main topics - using the alternative energy sources and tackling the climate change.

According to the participants, these four useful steps will help every organizer of an ecological info-campaign to achieve the best results:

Set your goals right!
It is not enough to simply draw attention to your event and to inform your target groups about it. The most important is to help changing the people’s ways of thinking and behaviour. There is a number of eco-related dates on the calendar of National and International Days, and some of them have been commemorated in Belarus for many years already - like the annual International Day for Biological Diversity, World Car Free Day, Earth Day etc. All they are aimed to draw attention to the pressing issues and to change people’s behaviour. The 5the of June will be celebrated planet-wide as the World Environment Day - and it’s a good occasion to gather the city residents and show them the novel ways of saving the nature, tell them about the alternative energy sources and to remind of the forgotten ways of using and saving the energy.

2. Know your target groups!

Sviatlana Paddubnaja and Maryna Barysava, the experienced coaches of the ‘Interaction’ fund has shared with the participants their methodologies and approaches that allow to evaluate the effectivity of communication and information dissemination among the various populace groups. It is important not to ‘reinvent the wheel’. but to communicate with your audience and to understand what are its needs. THus you’ll be able to improve your event plans and scenarios. You can make your events more varied by using the ‘live’ formats. And don’t forget the ‘immediate’ communication channels, such as Facebook, VK and Instagram.
3. Join forces!
If you are an organizer and you say that you have realised a large-scale project alone it sounds like a superhero film story! But even superheroes have allies. It’s most likely that a designer has helped with the printed and web-materials, a printing house has printed posters and leaflets, or maybe a local bike community have provided bikes and kids and teachers from a nearby school have prepared a great concert dedicated to the solar energy.
It’s important to learn how to be a partner, because the partnerships will help all the participants to take the significant issues to their hearts.Value your partnership - and you won’t be afraid of even bigger events! You don’t always need a huge budget to organize an interesting and successful event. Try finding the like-minded partners who would also benefit from your project. Partners will also give you new perspectives on the situation and new possibilities to improve your project. They can generate new ideas and solutions that are needed here and now.
In order to test the partnership in acton, the coaches have split the participants into several teams and gave them task to build a bridge together. Each team went to a separate room with materials - parts of the future bridge. They could not imagine how would they get a successful result if they don’t even see each other. But they could write letters to other teams and send their representatives trice to discuss the proceeding work. One of the participants have even called to an architect of his native town Hlubokaje, to ask for an advice on building bridges. When all the teams met to complete the construction, they were amazed by the coincidence of their visions. The outcome has exceeded their expectations.

4. Be visible!
A set of communicative materials with logos (blank forms, presentation and banner templates, etc) was created to help the cities of the EU initiative ‘Covenant of Mayors - East’ to demonstrate their participation in the initiative, to be involved into the international context and to communicate successfully.

You can also add the initiative’s logo to your own materials (please find the several variants and formats in the same folder).
Volha Salakheyeva, the Communication Expert of the ‘Covenant of Mayors - East’ have showed the participants a number of ways of using the initiative’s visual identity materials.
Another possibility to utilize the ready-made products is the ‘Covenant of Mayors in Belarus’ project implemented by the International Public Association “Ecopartnership”. Its Press-Secretary, Alesia Chumakova, has told about the support that “Ecopartnership” can provide to the participants.

10 cities in Belarus have already confirmed their plans and are preparing to organize the Energy Days. Please follow all the cities at the website of EU Sustainable Energy Week.
The workshop was implemented with a framework of ‘Covenant of Mayors - East’ project. The project is financed by the European Union as a part 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