Estonian NGOs are working actively together with different partners, mainly from China, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.
Estonian development cooperation and human aid for Asia
Estonia’s development cooperation efforts towards countries of Asia have thus far been insignificant. An exception here is Afghanistan, which has been identified as a priority partner country for development cooperation in 2011–2015. Moreover, a project implemented by MTÜ Mondo, which supports education of children in rural areas of Myanmar, is being subsidised since 2014.
Within the development cooperation framework Estonia has been supporting reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan since 2002. In collaboration with the Estonian Red Cross medical equipment was supplied to the children’s ward of [a hospital] in the Helmand Province; MTÜ Mondo has also deployed a project, the objective of which is to offer first-aid training for local adult population, as well as refresher training to health care workers of the Helmand Province. In addition to the above Tallinn University is advising Kabul University in developing three Master’s level curricular in the field of IT, and train PhD students needed to implement these curricula. The Estonian School of Diplomacy is offering annual brief courses for diplomats from Afghanistan, while Academy of Security Sciences provides practical training to Afghan fire-fighters.
The aggregate amount of support given by Estonia to Afghanistan in 2002–2013 has exceeded 6 million euros.
As of 2014 the first country of Southeast Asia has been included in the list of partner countries for development cooperation. Namely, the volunteer expert programme of MTÜ Mondo now features cooperation with a Myanmarese NGO Rural Development Foundation of Shan State that is focussed on the development of a network of schools providing primary education on the territory of Shan State.
Estonian State has also supported resolution of various humanitarian crises both by providing financial aid as well as experts.
The international Fairtrade mark arrived in Estonia in 2007. As of this time Estonia is also contributing into providing better economic and social conditions for Asian farmers and workers through promoting sale of certain products bearing this mark. Today the system includes over 1.3 million producers in 70 developing countries.
Estonian volunteers in Asia
Several Estonian as well as international organisations offer Estonians’ possibilities for contributing into the development of Asian countries through volunteering.
Both MTÜ EstYes and Continuous Action offer Estonians opportunities to participate in various volunteer projects carried out in East and Southeast Asian countries. Moreover, MTÜ EstYes has brought young people from Asia to participate in volunteer work in Estonia.
Furthermore, Estonian volunteers can contribute into the development of Myanmar through the GLEN project, coordinated by the Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation. Previously Estonian volunteers have participated in a GLEN project in Cambodia.
The Let’s do it World campaign has also spread to many Asian countries, where the respective national projects are lead by either local or Estonian coordinators. To date cleanup campaigns and information initiatives related to environment protection have been carried out in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Bhutan, Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, Singapore, the Philippines, Pakistan, Myanmar, Mongolia, Malaysia, Japan, India, as well as in Taiwan and Hong Kong.