Mahilieu took over as the host of campaign "Inclusive Belarus: Leaving No One Behind in Reaching Sustainable Development Goals"

Dec 6, 2016

On Friday, December 2, the "Inclusive Belarus" campaign visited the fourth Belarusian regional centre - Mahilieu. The City Ice Palace became the central venue for the events of the campaign.

The opening ceremony in Mahilieu was attended by the Deputy Chairman of Mahilieu Regional Executive Committee Malashko Valery, Deputy Representative of the UNFPA in Belarus Elena Kasko and Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Belarus Peter Dettmar.

UNDP in conjunction with its partners presented a varied programme of activities for Mahilieu residents dedicated to achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 placing a greater emphasis on goal No.10. Visitors were invited to get acquainted with the current focus areas of UNDP's activities through presented projects and initiatives at the exhibition; they were also encouraged to ask professionals and UNDP project managers about those initiatives. Visitors could check their knowledge on the topic of Sustainable Development Goals and win prizes with the organization branding during a series of quizzes that were professionally conducted by a well-known Belarusian showman Evgeny Bulka.

Sport lovers could take part in blind table tennis competitions and face professional tennis players with impaired vision.

A team of student-developers from Belarusian State University presented the features of their new unique web- and mobile application Destandable, which enables its users to understand sign language.

The topic of the promotion of healthy lifestyle (SDG 3) became the hallmark of the "Inclusive Belarus" campaign in Mahilieu. A landmark event of the day, in this regard, was the award ceremony for the winners of the 1st contest of local initiatives to promote healthy lifestyle and prevent non-communicable diseases. The competition was held as part of a new ambitious initiative "Preventing Non-communicable Diseases, Promoting Healthy Lifestyle and Support to Modernization of the Health System in Belarus" ("BELMED") funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP, WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus.

At the meeting of the press club of regional news media "Barrier-free environment: the perspective of the media", representatives of 16 media outlets of Mahilieu and Mahilieu region discussed the role of modern mass media in creating a barrier-free environment and society of equal opportunities. Participants of the discussion noted that overcoming psychological barriers for an individual and for the society as a whole is of paramount importance in achieving full empowerment of people with disabilities. Pischenko Oleg, Deputy Chairman and Head of the Department of Ideological Work at Mahilieu Regional Executive Committee, addressed the members of the press club with his welcoming remarks. Oleg Aleksandrovich reminded the attendees of the meeting about the signing and ratifying of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by Belarus in October of this year and has set the direction for the discussion: "We all understand that the ratification of the Convention does not mean that the lives of people with disabilities will change in an instant. Today we need to discuss the role of mass media in the inclusion of those people in an active social life."

The event was organised by the United Nations Development Programme, Mahilieu Regional Executive Committee and the Ministry of information of the Republic of Belarus.

A round-table discussion on Sustainable Development Goals, which was attended by the representatives of vulnerable groups of population, local authorities, and experts from UNDP, aroused great interest among the participants. A closer cooperation of regional authorities and representatives of vulnerable groups in addressing social problems was being discussed at this meeting. A special guest at the round table discussion Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Belarus Peter Dettmar shared the experience of Germany in reducing inequalities in the society.

About 40 women, CEOs of major enterprises and banks in the region, became the “students” of "Women's Leadership School" where they discussed gender equality and its impact on social and economic development of the society. The "School" is jointly organised by the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus and public association "Belarusian Women's Union".

The distinctive feature of UNDP's inclusive programme in Mahilieu was a tour around the first in Mahilieu second-generation energy-efficient house. The tour was attended by the future residents of the energy-efficient house who were eager to explore all the high-tech features of their future homes.

Alexander Grebenkov, manager of the UNDP-GEF project "Improving Energy Efficiency in Residential Buildings in the Republic of Belarus", told future residents about the latest energy-efficient technologies that were used in construction, and introduced general operating rules to them. The main question that troubled the majority of the visitors was: "How much lower will the electricity and heating costs be?" For the youngest future residents organisers prepared presents – a board game "Energopolis", which in an entertaining manner introduces the core energy-efficiency principles to the kids. The game has been developed within another energy-efficient project of UNDP "Developing an Integrated Approach to a Stepped-Up Energy Saving Programme", funded by the European Union. 

The delivery date of the house is December 14, 2016, and on that day 150 families will receive keys to their new energy-efficient apartments.

Belarusian Children's Hospice has also visited Mahilieu with its charity project #AistDom. The visitors of the exhibition learnt how to make paper storks and also extended their warm wishes to the children at the hospice.

The campaign in Mahilieu ended with an inclusive evening gala concert at the Regional Culture Palace. There was a full house in the audience: more than 1000 people came to listen to popular Belarusian artists, discover new talents and hear personal stories. Among the participants of the concert were Belarusian and Russian R'n'B artist Max Lawrence, musician and showman "Dyadya Vanya" (Uncle Vanya), accordion virtuoso Vitaly Voronko and the Interethnic Student Choir "Dominanta" of the Belarusian State Medical University.

This is not the end of the "Inclusive Belarus" campaign, and the next city to host it will be Viciebsk - Belarus' northern capital. The "Inclusive Belarus" campaign will be concluded in Minsk on December 9.