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Photo: One World Romania
strategic priority
Civic Engagement
Area
PERIOD
May 2015 – January 2020
BUDGET
$354,554
RAF'S CONTRIBUTION
$178,234
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The program encourages the use of documentary films as a civic education tool both in class and for extracurricular activities.

CONTEXT

One World Romania at School is built around documentary films because of the pool of benefits such films can bring about. A documentary tells a story visually and encourages viewers to empathize with a certain protagonist. Empathy helps students react to an otherwise difficult or distant subject. Teachers who have used One World Romania documentaries to illustrate topics in the school curriculum have seen more involvement on the students’ part as compared to the classes where the same subject was presented through traditional teaching methods. Moreover, by watching these documentaries and discussing them during regular meetings of the film clubs (held in schools during the students’ free time), students were given the possibility to reflect on the values of an open, tolerant and democratic society. This extracurricular activity opens a window to the world, placing issues found in Romania within a larger frame and nurturing free thinking.

In 2008, a mini-festival for documentary films was organized in Romania, a smaller version of the One World Festival in the Czech Republic. That event came into being upon the initiative of the former president Vaclav Havel and later it was dedicated to his memory. The festival turned into an annual event, which hosts more than 50 documentary projections, organizes debates and events and brings together over 10,000 viewers.

Over the past years, the festival has included special projections and debates dedicated to high school students and their teachers, and One World Romania started to develop an educational package based on documentaries.

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STRATEGY

The aim of the program is to encourage the use of documentaries (focused on human rights) as an innovative civic education tool.

During the life of the program, One World Romania:

1
Has created a gallery of teaching resources for subjects such as civic education, sociology, history, Romanian or foreign languages.
2
Has promoted the idea of using documentaries as educational tools among teachers, including the use of a dedicated digital platform.
3
Has organized screenings and debates for students.
4
Has provided support for students to organize and develop their own film clubs in schools.

Testimonials

One of the concrete changes we’ve seen is that every week there are discussions about human rights and recent history in at least one high school, starting from a documentary. More and more students have contacted us to get involved in the program. A constant challenge for us is to adjust the program to the conditions in each school and, at the same time, induce change there. We have learned a lot from the students we work with and the teachers who are close to us.

Petra Dobruskà
One World Romania at School
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