People to People International has always believed in replacing cultural barriers with cultural understanding.
If you think about our long history as an NGO is, one would assume that we would be better known in the wider community. Alas, this is not the case. This is why it’s important that we take a step back and think about what we can do to change that. We have neither the human nor the financial resources to always go it alone.
This is where forming strong partnerships locally can benefit us by bringing additional people and project ideas together. There are many chapters that are doing a lot locally because they have formed strong partnerships.
During our last European conference back in September, the team from Plovdiv, Bulgaria was able to engage the local community in collaboratively creating an art installation that specifically illustrates the meaning of “community”.
Over in Nigeria, the local chapter – following UN and UNICEF guidelines – reached out to the region in propagating the importance of water, personal hygiene, and overall sanitation best practices.
The team in Skopje, North Macedonia, have established a youth and education centre where some PTPI activities will also be developed and delivered. In Tallinn, Estonia, we have all been amazed at how much this team is getting done because they have built strong partnerships.
The Estonian team have also been able to tap into funding from youth organizations such as Erasmus. Team Belgium have been able to support nine events each month because of their strong connections. And there are many other examples of amazing things happening with our local chapters because people have gone the extra kilometre to make things happen.
Our friends in Switzerland have an annual gathering that is open to all and supported by the key chapters – Bern, Interlaken, and people from Zürich. Berlin has a regular dinner, English speaking Tea event, and regularly go out to visit gardens or places of historic interest. Our Nordic friends are very strong at experiencing the world through the lens of homestay.
Our European conferences provide a stage where we learn much more about what the youth are up to. Varna, Bulgaria, run an annual Christmas card campaign that always raises over 10,000 euro for an amazing local cause. We have also seen Romania and Kosovo delivering equally impressive projects locally that have had a major positive impact on their communities. The students in Poland hosted an education evening and made a trip to Portugal. And we have had students from Lithuania visit the European institutions in Brussels.
There is a lot that has not been mentioned here and it is not because we want to leave anyone out. Our problem is that we just do not know everything that is going on in our region. This impacts us in a number of ways. Firstly, we are not giving sufficient recognition for everything that we are achieving as a region. Secondly, we are not able to share everything that we are doing with our potential sponsors and funding partners to allow them to more efficiently support us. Funding is always difficult to come by and the more we can demonstrate how much we do, the more likely we are to be supported. People do not want to give money away. But they are always happy to support a cause that can demonstrably make a difference.
PTPI is the difference that makes a difference. We are fully capable of doing so much more with the right support. We do have a very good level of participation and there are some amazing ideas out there already alive in our chapters.
Contact us and tell us what you are doing. Help us spread the word and secure more sources of funding.