Category Archives: Hannover

Final Conference, 22/23 February, 2013 in Hannover

Drawing the balance and thinking further

On the 22nd and 23rd of February 2013, numerous international representatives of the EU project from Hanover, its twin towns, and partner organisations followed the invitation of the Agenda 21 Office under the management of Silvia Hesse and the Cultural Office of the City of Hanover . Two days of intense exchange, enriching ideas for the future, and friendly meetings have been the result.

On Tuesday, the 19th of February 2013, the project representatives from Hanover’s twin towns Poznan in Poland and Blantyre in Malawi arrived. Silvia Hesse and the guests from Malawi visited the school IGS List where they had a meeting with the school’s headmaster Oswald Nachtwey. After a short lunch break they also visited several classes and met students.


On Wednesday, the 20th of February 2013, some of the representatives from Poznan and Blantyre as well as some employees from the Agenda 21 Office in Hanover visited the Fair Trade Importer “El Puente”. The head of the company organised a guidance for the visitors and described what is important about Fair Trade products. At the end of the guidance there was also some time to drink Fair Trade coffee and to start a discussion involving the guests of Hanover’s twin towns and the head of “El Puente”. After a lunch break and having returned to Hanover, followed by an internal plan-meeting.


On Thursday, the 21st of Februray 2013, the now arrived guests from Miskolc, Hungary and Litomerice, Czech Republic, joined the second internal plan-meeting in the conference room of the City Hotel Hanover together with the guests from Poznan and Blantyre as well as Bruce Crowther from Garstang and head of the FIG Tree Fair Trade Visitors Centre. In addition, the facilitators of the first day of the Final Conference Felix Kostrzewa and Andrea Steckert from the “Eduard Pestel Institut für Systemforschung e.V.”, as well as Andrea Philipp from aiforia – Agency for Sustainability, and from Hanover Janika Millan (Cultural Office), Silvia Hesse and Marion Köther (both from the Agenda 21 Office) attended the meeting. They discussed the schedule and especially the methods they planned to use concerning the first day of the Final Conference, the 22nd of February.

The meeting was followed by a game called “Geocaching”, realising the part of the City Games that are included in the title of the project. The participants of the game split up into groups of three to five persons and had to run a route with several riddles included. It can be compared to a treasure hunt, but with the difference that the participants follow GPS- coordinates.

At the evening, there was another meeting at a conference room in the New Town Hall to again discuss the following procedure.

At 7 p.m., about fifty guests of the conference met in an official come together at the Backöfle, a restaurant in the Carlenberger Neustadt, a district of Hanover. After Hans Mönninghoff, Director of Economic and Environmental Services and Deputy Chief Executive of the City of Hannover, had welcomed the guests of the Final Conference, they had an evening dinnner and played a Tablequiz about Fair Trade and the Millenium Development Goals. Background live music accompanied the dinner.


On Friday, the 22nd of February 2013, the first day of the Final Conference had arrived. It mainly was about the exchange of results and experiences of the project partners that had worked together for two years on the “Aware & Fair”- EU project.

After the registration of the participants, the official beginning of the conference was at 10 a.m. At first, Silvia Hesse, head of the Agenda 21 Office and initiator of the project, and Marlis Drevermann, Arts and Education Directorate of the City of Hanover, welcomed the estimated 70 guests.

Then the project coordinators from Miskolc (János Csizmadia), Poznan (Maja Niezborala), Litomĕřice (Marcela Trejbalová), and Blantyre (Sylvester Mitini-Nkhoma), as well as representatives of the German Fair Trade Organisation (Julia Holl) and Polish Fair Trade Association (Tadeusz Makulski) talked about the highlights of the project and the different activities with which they could advance Fair Trade and raise the awareness for it in their own countries.

Priority had for example the communication with teachers, pupils, and students, the presence on local, public events, festivals, and cultural events, and the collaboration with local traders, as well as the appreciated exchange with international partners, just as schoolings and exhibitions. Creative ideas like fashion shows, Fair Trade breakfasts, Fair Trade competitions, emotional video clips (for instance the film “Greetings from Malawi”, showed by Tadeusz Makulski), or the Milennium Development Goal Walls developed in Hanover have given the impulse for more publicity in the different cities.


From the vision to success

At 10.30 a.m. and under the title “Global challenges demand for (municipal) partnerships, alliances, and networks”, various experts enriched the topic with additional aspects. Bruce Crowther, founder of the Fair Trade Town movement (2000), for example stated that today 1.235 Fair Trade towns are existing in 24 countries, but that the criteria of a Fair Trade town in Africa are different than those here in Europe. He thinks that there should always be a Fair Trade team locally available that actively campaigns for awareness-raising for Fair Trade. He also emphasized that “the campaigns run WITH the African cities, not FOR the African cities.”

Thomas Brose, Managing Director of the Climate Alliance-Alianza del Clima e.V., and Kurt-Michael Baudach from the “Servicestelle Kommunen in der Einen Welt” (SKEW)

ENGAGEMENT GLOBAL gGmbH connected Fair Trade globally to climate protection. They pointed out that it is important to work locally for the global protection of the earth and that especially the local authorities play an important –and in times of limited budgets a different- role.

After the introduction of the facilitators Andrea Steckert and Felix Kostrzewa from the “Eduard Pestel Institut für Systemforschung e.V.” and the presentation of the schedule there was a short break with the request for the participants of the conference to think about questions that they might have.


Deepening aspects of the specific local work

A timeline, on which the project coordinators documented their personal highlights (the milestones) of the “Aware & Fair” project, made clear how much has happened for Fair Trade in the involved cities in the time from March 2011 until now. The project partners also exchanged on the transferability of methodology and elements.

Relaxed by a touching school theater play of pupils from the Marthin-Luther-King special school under the management of Fettah Diouri and a terrific bio-lunch buffet, the day was rich of results and variety.

The program was continued after the lunch break In several discussions and the reflection on “Aware & Fair” hot topics it became clear how important, regardless of whether the field of business, culture, education, or collaboration with the administration, the growing friendship between the responsible persons is. Essential is also the unduring passion and creativity of the individual participants. In the different discussions emerged various topics for the future, for example “How can we build up a better quality control for Fair Trade products?”, “How can we find a way to train even more teachers and pupils?”,  “How can we connect producers and consumers even better?”, or “How fair is Fair Trade and what more can we do?”

Various rudiments of the individual participants stimulated the following Fishbowl discussion, whereas Blantyre, Hanover’s twin town, played the special role of being a producer of Fair Trade products AND a consumer of them. It became obvious that EVERYONE has learned from each other in the EU project and that EVERYONE has motivated and with creative ideas advanced each other. In the Fishbowl discussion questions like “How far closer have we got to our goals?” or “Where are options for future activities?” were discussed.

After that the appreciation of the project followed whereas the participants of the conference also discussed the question “What treasures have we found on our way?”

The first day ended after a little preview on new ideas, networks, and prospects for the future. In addition, the question “ What is my actual role for the future?” was realized in the Community Council Method. Different possible opinions were shown in eight different places in the room. Each place, which was in one of the eight cardinal directions, represented a certain attitude. Then, the participants took a position in the room and therefore showed their personal opinion and answer to the question “What is my actual role for the future?”

After the closing of the first day of the Final Conference, many guests attended dinner together at 7 p.m. at the Gartensaal in the New Town Hall Hanover.


“The World of Tomorrow”

On Saturday, the 23rd of February, the conference took place in the Ballhof State Theater Hanover. Ulli Meinholz and Sita Conrad from the “Trommelschule ILU” musically opened the second part of the Final Conference, accompanied by photographs of the previous day. Andrea Steckert from the “Pestel Institute Hanover für Systemforschung e.V.” was once again the facilitator and at first presented her co-facilitator for this day, Hans Seelhorst, also from the “Pestel Institute Hanover”. The day’s topic was “The World of Tomorrow”.

For three years now, Silvia Hesse has worked closely together with Bärbel Jogschies, drama teacher at the “Junges Schauspiel Hannover”. Bärbel Jogschies pointed out the “The World of Tomorrow” festival in summer where youths from all over the world will develop their visions for a future world and will create ideas in which way they can change the world. The drama teacher emphasized the importance of “awareness of fairness” and “putting your heart into it” for a sustainable lifestyle.

Background issues of the Post-2015 Development Agenda were discussed. Annika Wurz from the Proterra Project Coordination e.V. showed in her short introductory speech different challenges for the further development of the MDGs and the Millennium Consumption Goals (MCGs). She asked: “How do you handle the handicaps that have occurred in the meantime, for example the not considered question of human rights and safety?”, “Is it enough to define the targets?” and  “Are not descriptions of directions more useful?” Annika Wurz concluded that a solution cannot be found in targets but rather in normative changes.


“Buen Vivir”

Especially rewarding was the short presentation of the Ecuadorian Daniela Célleri, doctorate in the “Kompetenznetz Lateinamerika – Ethnicity, Citizenship” (belonging to the G.W. Leibniz University Hanover). She vividly demonstrated how important it is to first throw off the chains and then think about the way you want to live. Daniela Célleri also attended the constituent assembly in Ecuador. Ecuador is the first country worldwide that established the concept of “Buen Vivir” (Good life) in the constitution. The doctorate demanded to step back and to start all over again, considering the question of the way you want to live. This is the only way to regard humans and nature as a unit and to heal the economic blindness.

Kass Kasadi from the “Hannöversche Aids-Hilfe” and Nelson Mataka, Programme Manager of the Blantyre Agriculture Development Division, gave further inputs.

At 11.45 a.m. there was a short break with music by Ulli Meinholz and a photo slideshow, as well as World Café reflections.


“Continuing a sustainable lifestyle”

In the final (Fishbowl) discussion, the aspect of a continuing, sustainable lifestyle was well appreciated. The participants demanded the acceptance of different perspectives, regional economic cycles, more humanity and human curiosity, the realisation that not one solution is the right and appropriate one for everybody, the better integration of migrants locally, and much more.

It has become clear that the project will continue even after its official ending and that the already acquired cooperations will become very valuable for the future work. It is sure that all participants will continue to work as usual in a dedicated and creative way to communicate the necessity of a raising awareness of Fair Trade and furthermore of a sustainable lifestyle.

At the end, partners from different countries insisted on presenting Silvia Hesse and her team with small, personal, and playful gifts as an appreciation of the project coordination, the visions, and the friendship.

At 1 p.m., once again music by Ulli Meinholz and a photo slideshow accompanied the farewell and ended the second day of the Final Conference of the EU project “Aware & Fair”.


Fairtrade Geocaching

Shortly before Christmas, there was opportunity to go for a Fair Trade treasure hunt and get to know the many places in Hanover providing great Fair Trade products and related information. This geocaching treasure hunt is organised by the local radio station “radio leinehertz 106.5” together with the  Agenda 21 – Office of the City of Hanover and “”.

The focus of this treasure hunt was the aware &fair-project, millennium development goals and Fair Trade. Five  teams participated and managed to solve the quizz within 2 hours, searching the city centre of Hanover for Fair Trade treasures,  with brainpower and GPS-support. Radio reporters accompanied the teams during the rally and reported live on Radio Leinehertz about their moves.

The rally ended in the Town Hall where Silvia Hesse, Head of the Agenda 21-Office welcomed the team with Fair Trade coffee and tea. And the teams agreed: this was a very informative and inspiring afternoon, and lots of fun!


European Tour Of Fair Trade Stakeholders From Malawi

“How do you get those nuts out of their hard shell?” This was one of the more easy questions to Grey Moffat Phiri of the Macadamia Growers`Cooperative Ntchisi. In end of May, the Malawian farmer had set off together with four local government representatives of Blantyre for a European roundtrip, in order to discuss about the potential of Fair Trade products together with activists and consumers in the partner cities of the EU-project “Aware&Fair”.

And Hannover, Poznan, Litomerice  and Miskolc involved their Malawian guests in a variety of public activities – at a “festival of cultures”, in meetings with owners of organic and ethical enterprises, a fashion show and reading in the public library, knowledge quest in the botanical garden, street market with information stands – and took opportunity to jointly raise awareness about Malawi, the Millennium Development Goals and their support through Fair Trade.


Visit from Blantyre in Hannover

The first encounter between Hannover and Blantyre, which led to an official twinning of the cities in 1968, had it’s 50th anniversary in March 2012. The initiator was Dr. Lore Henkel, who was a counceller back then.
On this occasion, the Agenda 21 office and the Cultural office invited the Chief Executive Officer of Blantyre, Ted Nandolo, the Head of the Department of Environment, Culture and Leisure, Sylvester Mitini-Nkhoma, and Mattihas Seeler from the GIZ, who currently is in Blantyre, to visit Hannover from March 12th – 16th in which a varied program was prepared for the delegation.
The visit to the fair trade organization El Puente in Hildesheim served to mutually exchange information and explore opportunities to import fair trade products from Malawi to Europe. The head of the Polish Fairtrade Association (a partner in the project “aware&fair”) also traveled from Warsaw to attend this meeting.

Further items on the agenda were

  • A visit to the fire brigade
  • A visit to the waste management company
  • A visit to the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources.
  • Conversations with the head of Economic and Environmental Directorate, Hans Mönninghoff and the head of Arts and Education Directorate,  Marlis Drevermann

The highlight of the gathering was the exhibition “Encounters – 50 years of city partnership Hannover – Blantyre”, which was opened on March 15th by mayor Bernd Strauch in the New Town Hall of Hannover. The guests were also invited to join the Agenda 21 plenum, which was entirely devoted to the city-twinning.

At the close of the visit, the guests were welcomed by the Lord Mayor Stephan Weil, where both sides expressed a wish for stronger future cooperation.


Encounters – 50 years city partnership Hannover – Blantyre

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the “Hannover-Blantyre” partnership, an exhibition about this city partnership, possibly the oldest with an African town, was staged in the Town Hall from March 15th – 30th. In addition to historic photographs, current pictures of people in Blantyre were shown as an encouragement.

Special emphasis was put on the following topics:

  • The strengthening the role of women
  • Water supply with the help of water-kiosks / water stations
  • The improvement of education
  • Art and culture

Mayor Bernd Strauch opened the exhibition on March 15th with Dr. Lore Henkel, the initiator of the partnership, Ted Nandolo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Blantyre, “Friends of Malawi and city-twinning Hannover – Blantyre Association” (Freundeskreis Malawi und Städtepartnerschaft Hannover-Blantyre e.V.), and other interested visitors.

Afterwards, the guests were invited to join the Agenda 21 plenum, which was devoted entirely to the twinning. Ted Nandolo informed the guests regarding Malawi and its problems, and also showed a short film on the region of Blantyre. The film mainly drew attention to the positive sides of Malawi, but did not conceal the country’s problems either. Matthias Seeler of GIZ also described the situation in Malawi in terms of corruption. Finally, Sylvester Mitini-Nkhoma, Head of the Department of Environment, Culture and Leisure, explained the situation and problems in the areas of administration, waste management, education, and many other topics.


Hannover scores !

Goal walls – A symbol of the difficulty to achieve the Millenium Development Goals

Between March 2nd and March 12th the “aware&fair” goal walls dealing with the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations, were presented by the Agenda 21 office and the Cultural Office of the City of Hannover in the New Town Hall of Hanover.

It’s not only the cities, the educational institutions, and non-governmental organizations across the fields of environment, development and trade that act as important cooperation partners within the framework of the “aware&fair” project, as the University of Applied Sciences and Arts is also recognised as being an important contributor.

In the 2011/12 winter semester the students Kris Wolter, Hanna Niemeyer, Julia Mews, Barbara Beckmann, Hu Jiayan and Wu.Yue set an objective while under the direction of qualified designer (FH) Steffen Blandzinski. Their shared aim was to create a design for soccer goal walls that would present the eight Millennium Development Goals as large-size illustrations in the public sphere. The students intergrated the functionality of the walls into the concept in order to use them as a playful means of communication.

Within the semester, the students became acquainted with this widespread subject. Depending on the topic, a visual idea was selected and put into practice with the chosen technique and according to each of the skills of the students. Eight different designs originated from this work, from designs painted by hand, to digital graphic art, to typographic solutions, and to collages.

The process of design showed the participants what kind of content-related and creative challenges arise with such an open topic, and how difficult it is to consistently implement the decisions that have been made. For each MDG, one aspect was singled out that was supposed to convey the theme as a sort of ambassador.

Along with all of the students involved, the goal walls were presented to the public in the New Town Hall on March 2nd 2012.
The exhibition was complemented with photographs of Kien Hoang Le, Bonex Julius, Thoko Chikondi, and David Sauti. These photos were impressively dedicated to the MDGs and their implementation in Blantyre / Malawi.


The School project “Hanover is Trading Fairly“ is being put into dedicated action

The project named “Sustainable Sales Promotion Activities – Hanover is Trading Fairly” is an interdisciplinary, activity-oriented and societal vocational training measure. It is carried out and organised by the retail industry department of Berufsbildende Schule (BBS) Handel Hannover, which is a vocational school for trade and commerce in Hanover. Apprentices for the position of Management Assistant in retail business or for a salesmen position are being made qualified for this project in their classes. They acquire good knowledge and know-how of sustainability, fair trade and customer advice and are then given the possibility to apply their knowledge in practice. Similar to last year, the practical work is carried out in the context of the nationwide Fair Trade week.

Having wonderful weather this year, 89 school groups from 17 vocational school classes visited many different companies and went to both marketplaces and to the city centre in order to advertise fair trade. Prior to this, the groups were familiarized in class with topics such as Agenda 21, the Millennium Development Goals and the principles of fair trade and therefore the pupils were able to give profound background information about Fairtrade and their own commitment to the consumers. Additionally, they acquired knowledge in the field of customer communication, which they could practice in those activities and which they will deepen in their future profession. With joining this project, the vocational school for trade and commerce (BBS Handel) again made an important contribution towards the education of sustainable development.


Fairtrade Week Hannover

In the context of the nationwide Fair Trade weeks this year, many activities related to Fair Trade have taken place again. On the 24th of September people were invited by the Hanoverian fair-week-alliance to come to the place of the world exhibition, where, under the motto “smart and fair”, they have organised many activities, gave away free samples and offered information at different information stands. The band “Bantamba moolu” as well as a fashion show displaying fairly traded clothes ensured the musical and visual highlights.


Hannover won 3rd place in the „Capital City of Fair Trade 2011“ competition

On the 22nd of September five of the prize winners taking part in the competition for the title of  “Capital City of Fair Trade 2011” were nominated in the historical town hall in Marburg. Bremen won 1st place and the 2nd place went to Saarbrücken.

The city of Hanover was also chosen to be one of the prize winners and was awarded 3rd place, sharing the prize with Heidelberg. Marburg won this title in 2009.

Since 2003 the “Servicestelle Kommunen in der Einen Welt” (Service Agency Communities in One World) has organised the competition for the title of  “Capital City of Fair Trade”, which takes place every two years. The aim of this competition is to acknowledge already existing local involvement in Fair Trade as well as to draw the media’s and public’s attention to these innovative activities. It also wants to encourage people to adopt such initiatives.

62 municipalities with a total number of 851 projects from all over Germany entered the competition for the title of  “Capital City of Fair Trade 2011”. The five winners are awarded prize money amounting to 100.000 Euro in total. The competition is supported and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Videoclips of the five winners