BEARR Trust webinars, November 2020
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the BEARR Trust could not hold its usual annual conference in London this November. Instead, we held three BEARR webinars exploring the impact of Covid-19 on civil society organisations (CSOs) in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (the EECCA region) from different angles.
Civil Society Support for Persons with Disabilities
Thursday 5 November, 14:00 – 15:30 GMT
This webinar explored how disability CSOs have been supporting persons with disabilities in the EECCA region during the COVID-19 pandemic. Particular attention was paid to their activities to address COVID-19’s impact on community inclusion and promote equal rights for persons with disabilities in the complicated context of lockdown, social distancing and economic downturns.
The following speakers from disability organisations in different parts of the EECCA region shared their experiences of promoting disability rights during the pandemic, the challenges they face, and ideas for future projects:
- Gulmira Kazakunova: Ravenstvo, Union of People with Disabilities, Kyrgyzstan. Presentation.
- Maia Shishnashvili: Movement for Changes, Georgia – an NGO which supports for young adults with disabilities. Presentation.
- Anna Bitova: Centre for Curative Pedagogics, Russia – an organisation helping children with mental disabilities and autism. Presentation.
Civil Society and Migrant Labour
Thursday 12 November, 15:00 – 16:30 GMT
The second of BEARR’s three webinars considered the role of civil society in supporting migrant workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. It focused on the particular challenges that the pandemic has thrown up for migrant workers in the EECCA region, and how civil society organisations are assisting them. The following speakers, drawn from the legal and academic world as well as CSO practitioners, presented on the challenges faced:
- Khadicha Abysheva: Chairperson of the board of the Legal Centre for Women’s Initiatives, Sana Sezim, Kazakhstan. www.migrant-help.org. Presentation
- Valentina Chupik: Executive Director at international non-profit organisation, Tong Jahoni, Uzbekistan. Presentation.
- Daniel Kashnitsky: Junior Researcher, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Academic Relations Coordinator, Regional Expert Group on Migration and Health. Presentation.
- Dina Musina: Development Manager, Civic Assistance Committee, Moscow. Presentation.
CSOs and Innovation in a Time of Pandemic
Thursday 19 November, 14:00 – 15:30 GMT
This online discussion looked at the ways in which CSOs have adapted their practices and methodologies to rise to the challenges of the pandemic, the key lessons they have learned and the needs that remain to be met. The following speakers drawn from different CSOs across the EECCA region started the discussion with accounts of their experiences:
- Kristina Spirina: Winds of Changes, Ukraine. Presentation (in Ukrainian, with English subtitles).
- Kurbongul Kosimova: Najoti-Kudakon, Tajikistan. Presentation.
- Anastasiia Stytsenko: Youth Volunteer Organisation: Leadership, Kyrgyzstan. Presentation.
- Birodar Mirzaev: Center for Support of Civil Initiatives, Uzbekistan. Presentation.
These events were free, however we encouraged anyone able to make a donation to do so. Any donation helps us to continue supporting CSOs in the EECCA region at a time when they are having adapt to new challenges and restrictions, while the vulnerable groups they work with need their support more than ever.
We are very grateful to all those who joined these events.