Last week, the two-day workshop 'Peace Technology and Peace Entrepreneurship for Ukraine' took place at our Tampere office, in Tribe Tampere's community space. It was the first live event we've organized in Finland in a few years and it was meaningful for us to get inspired and be able to bring together people that are willing to help and find concrete solutions in order to help people in the times of war. The main initiator of this event was Color Up Peace.
Joining the two-day workshop, there were four teams consisting of students from different fields, four expert guests and three Demola co-creation experts facilitating the teams' work. As outcomes, there were at least four new concept ideas born that focused on the well-being of Ukrainian refugees.
Lisa Glybchenko, Demola alumni and the founder of Color Up Peace, main organizer or the event.
Jere Wessman from Demola presenting the agenda.
The first day was mostly about introduction to the topic - we were able to hear great presentations from our expert guests. Maria Mekri, Executive Producer at SaferGlobe, emphasized the meaning of 'doing no harm' - sometimes when people want to help and get excited, they don't really face the realities and might end up creating more indirect harm in a situation where people and ciscumstances are vulnerable. The key message of Mekri's speech was that even though there are horrendous things happening, we can all still support the structures of peace.
Maria Mekri from Safer Globe
The second keynote speaker was Aino Piirtola, Project Offiver at CMI Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation. Piirtola gave us an introduction to the idea of digital peacemaking. This is how Piirtola described the meaning of participating in workshops like this:
"As a more traditional field, international peacemaking and peacebuilding has relied heavily on traditional methods. Yet, in this world in constant transformation where new innovations and technological development affects us all, it is necessary actions taken towards peace are also reframed. Therefore, peace technology and entrepreneurship are of great importance. At CMI - Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, we have explored the potential of novel technologies for peacemaking already for over 15 years and continue to do so within the framework of our Digital Peacemaking project. Personally I believe in looking at existing inspiring solutions and how could they be implemented in the context we operate in in ways that benefit our key stakeholders. For me, this is also what the workshop was all about: identifying the beneficiaries and not necessarily coming up with complex solutions to copmlex problems, but feasible ideas analysed in comparison with what already exists."
Aino Piirtola from CMI Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation
Teams were built in advance and they had a chance to get to know each other's background a bit when they arrived and settled. Throughout the days, they were given small tasks; during the very first days some seeds of ideas or at least the topics they were interested in were brought up. Day two was dedicated to concepting - selecting the target group, getting feedback from other teams, idea selection and development, value propositions and then, finally, presenting the ideas to other teams in a 'concept fair' form.
As the two main thematics were education and women, children and minorities, it was relevant to have Chris Hutchinson, Head of Learning Design from Claned with us to share their thoughts on openness and creating a space where trust can be established. Hutchinson commented on the participation of the company: "Claned is committed to promoting peace and communication. Having been through a similar process of the event participants, on how to support Ukrainians - ideating, defining goals and aims, and successfully implementing and initiative - we felt we could help guide and contribute to the the process for others. And of course, we are always looking for meaningful collaborations and events such as this are a great opportunity to begin building connections. It is an opportunity to be involved in learning and education in a different context than we usually encounter – and this is a valuable learning opportunity for us."
Chris Hutchinson from Claned
What were the ideas then?
Even before hearing the other teams' ideas, all four teams had quite similar thoughts and target groups in mind. They were focused on integration process; how to make hobbies and job searching more easy to access, how to empower women, what type of structured processes there could be in order to support the mental health of the refugees; how to provide sense of normality in a time of instability? Many of the participants approached the topic through their own hobbies. One had experience on judo, one's swimming team had offered free of charge membership for Ukrainian children... How could the information about all these possibilities be gathered in one place?
Team presenting their idea of judo classes to empower refugee women.
Participants Victoria Jiménez and Elisavet Antoniou, both students of Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research Master's program at Tampere University, appreciated the concreteness of the event, since usually their university studies are so theoretical you don't really get to explore things in practice. "It was also a great opportunity to meet other stakeholders and network, in our field especially Aino Piirtola from CMI Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation." These two participants also mentioned the approachable aspect of the event; there was hierarchy between the participants and the organizers and experts.
Event organizer Lisa Glybchenko, founder of Color Up Peace, commented after the event:
"Part of my motivation to organize "Peace Technology & Peace Entrepreneurship for Ukraine" was to make sure our support for Ukraine is holistic - that, in addition to inspiring humanitarian initiatives, we are also using our skills and talents to help Ukraine and its people every day. The ideas that we developed, I believe, reflect that. I am determined and excited to have each of the four ideas implemented. I am sure they can make a great difference! Some participants also reached out and expressed interest in more ways to help Ukrainians who are in Tampere or to be involved in activities by Color Up Peace. That is truly inspiring! I cannot wait to do all these things together!"
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