Visit of the Italian partners to Belarus


At the end of November 2018, representatives of the John Paul II Foundation visited Belarus with a working visit. The Foundation is officially a partner of the EU4Youth: “School Garden” project for the development of agricultural entrepreneurship, funded by the European Union and co-financed by the International Green Cross. The Fund intends to assist in strengthening the capacity of agricultural technical institutes in rural areas of Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova in order to expand employment opportunities for young people.

The John Paul II Foundation was founded in Italy, the region of Toscana, in 2007 in the interests of the Middle East countries, as well as other disadvantaged areas of the world. Projects implemented by the Foundation in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Italy are not only humanitarian in nature, but always aimed at creating conditions for development and growth. The Foundation implements projects and conducts activities in the areas of social health, education, culture and vocational training.

Its main task is to act as a link between various organizations participating in cooperation and development activities, primarily in the Mediterranean and the Near and Middle East. The Foundation combines resources and forces to prepare long-term projects that can leave tangible and durable traces and deeply affect the economic, social and cultural spheres of the areas in which it operates.

For example, in one year of the Fund’s work in Lebanon, many small producers of agricultural products were united into cooperatives. This contributed to the promotion of products on the market and profit. Cooperatives typically include 200–300 manufacturers, then they are combined into consortia, which can include up to 10,000 manufacturers, and the largest unit is the Federation, which includes up to 300,000 manufacturers.

The system of uniting into cooperatives, consortia, federations has its own characteristics in different regions, but the main goal is to protect manufacturers from large international producers in a globalized market.

During the implementation of the project “School Garden”, the Foundation will assist in the preparation and equipping of rural schools / centers with school gardens for the transfer of advanced organic agricultural experience to them and the opening of production incubators on their base, where rural youth will be able to practice modern methods and organic farming techniques.

The implementation of the project together with Eastern European countries - Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova - is the first experience of the Foundation, but, as its representatives hope, not the last.

During several working meetings that took place during the visit, the partners discussed issues of cooperation, the complexity of the process of introducing the latest agricultural technologies, current trends in the field of agricultural entrepreneurship.

The Italian guests visited Minsk: they walked around the city, including the Troitskoe predmestie, saw the Opera and Ballet Theater, and visited the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the St. Elisabeth Monastery. They were interested to be acquainted with the local religious culture, with the social work of the monastery. The idea appeared that one of the possible directions of development in Foundation activities could be cooperation with Orthodox organizations of a social orientation.

Andrea Verdi, board member of the Foundation, and his colleagues were pleased with the visit and the start of joint work. In their opinion, the cooperation promises to be long and fruitful.

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This publication has been produced with the support of the European Union and the Green Cross International. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the public organization “Green Cross Belarus”, and it can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union and  Green Cross International.