aware&fair. Exchange and learning
Freundeskreis Malawi and Städtepartnerschaft Hannover-Blantyre e. V., aware&fair e. V. Hannover,
aware&fair Club Blantyre, City of Hannover, City of Blantyre
The partnership between Blantyre and Hannover, which began in 1968, was initially promoted by the association „Freundeskreis Zentral- und Ostafrika“ (Friends of Central and East Africa). In 2010, on the initiative of Silvia Hesse, the then head of the Agenda21 office of the City of Hannover, the association was renamed to “Freundeskreis Malawi und Städtepartnerschaft Hannover-Blantyre“ (Friends of Malawi and of the city partnership Hannover-Blantyre) in order to focus specifically on Malawi. Silvia Hesse was inspired by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to develop an EU project called aware&fair with partners from Malawi, Hannover, Hannover’s Polish twin city Poznan and other Eastern European cities, with the aim of promoting exchanges in the fields of culture, health, environment, climate protection, education and fair trade. This project served as the basis for the establishment of the aware&fair association in Hannover (founded by Silvia Hesse) and the aware&fair Club in Blantyre (initiated by Louis Zulu).
Since then, Louis Zulu, Ruth Kaperemera and Evelyn Siti have been in charge of the aware&fair activities in primary and secondary schools of Blantyre. The Freundeskreis Malawi initiates and coordinates projects with other associations and organisations and supports the partnership between Hannover and Blantyre. Local cultural institutions, political leaders, other NGOs and schools have participated in the many projects that we have so far organised. In our partnership, learning takes place in many different ways. At the local level, we learn from each other through personal discussions and regular meetings. We also learn by organising small projects at school level, such as tree planting initiatives, urban agriculture programmes and workshops on fair trade and sustainability. At the international level, we learn from each other by participating in international conferences, festivals and seminars. At home, we share new ideas and skills and put them into practice for the benefit of others.
Above all, we learn through club activities such as theatre, poetry, musical and dance performances, as well as through quizzes, workshops and international exchanges. One example is the theatre project „Fair Culture – The World of Tomorrow“, which was organized as part of the European aware&fair project under the leadership of the Staatstheater Hannover. In different ways, theatre productions from Malawi, Poland, Germany, Ghana and Palestine drew attention to the challenges that we have to face together. At the same time, these performances helped us to get to know and understand other points of view. Our partnership tries to contribute to an environmentally and globally just world through various local and international initiatives. For example, eight members of the aware&fair Club at Njamba Secondary School, where Louis and Evelyn teach, took part in a global bicycle tour that started in Germany and then led them through Ukraine, Malawi, the Republic of South Africa and Bosnia. They cycled from Blantyre to the Mangochi Lake District, a distance of 200 km. On the way, they talked to more than 500 young people about what climate change means for them, what causes it, how it has affected them in locally and how its negative effects can be mitigated.
In the Blantyre schools, students try to contribute to an environmentally sustainable world through annual tree planting drives and by raising awareness about how to properly dispose of school and domestic waste. At school level, we are trying to tackle the problem of plastics pollution by promoting good practices for reducing, reusing and recycling waste. The aim of aware&fair Hannover is to network the partnership activities in other countries, for example in Colombia. Based on the example of Blantyre, we would also like to establish aware&fair clubs in schools in Hannover. Our collective plans for the future are many and varied. We need continuity and consistency and strive to build more partnerships to exchange good practices in education for sustainable development and environmental protection in order to create a more just and fair world.