Agne is the national officer of Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation, based in Tallinn. She is a member of the Partnerships Team.
Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) is the biggest broadcaster in Estonia with an educational and thematic focused channel ETV2, with the strapline “Look at bigger picture”. Sounds like a perfect match for Global Citizenship Education (GCE), right? ETV2 and Bridge 47 managed to build up a creative and sustainable national partnership over three years by focusing on important issues and by creating meaningful content for TV and cinemas.
Importance of finding the right partner
So, the main character of this cooperation story is ETV2, a high quality and culture-oriented TV channel in a small country with a limited media market. This TV channel values global education and awareness raising amongst Estonian citizens in a time when it is more mainstream to be focused on pleasure and entertainment. Not all countries have that. Therefore, it is such a privilege to have a national channel that focuses, rather than profit, on opening people's minds, enabling them to become more aware, more involved and more responsible in global developments - to become global citizens.
When the channel asked Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation, consortium partner of Bridge 47 to produce professional introduction clips for their Environmental Month and Human Rights Month documentary program, we considered the offer carefully from a GCE perspective. I'm sure that ETV2 had been dealing with the exact same questions and doubts before the proposition: Does the partner have a good reputation? Will we reach enough of the right people? What does this cooperation give to both parties? What is the ‘social profit’ of the cooperation?
The ethos of the channel was already reassuring for the Roundtable, the good reputation and expertise of the Roundtable probably reassured the broadcasters. A highly potent and potentially long-term partnership prospect? Yes. More importantly - the ability to create quality content for spreading GCE messages to ERR’s focused but wide audience met the aim of the Roundtable to spread our expertise and increase knowledge amongst an audience who is interested and open to global topics
The Roundtable was happy to involve experts from diverse sectors to give their input on a wide range of topics: climate change, migration, children's rights, food poverty, wars and crises, role and responsibility of the media etc. All the topics connected to environmental or social issues the world faces today. We engaged the Estonian Coalition for Sustainable Development, UN Youth representative, Estonian Police, Estonian Rescue and Ambulance and many others as experts for the introduction clips to comment on the documentaries from their perspectives. We wanted to create a “wow” factor among the viewers, so sometimes we chose rather unusual speakers - police commenting on migration issues, a professional deminer commenting on situations of war, a business representative commenting on environmental issues. We also collaborated on screenings for the general public in cinemas across Tallinn, followed by panel discussions, until the Covid-19 pandemic unfortunately arose.
Benefits and impact
The media partnership was definitely a success for all parties. Together we achieved a huge reach of around 280,000 viewers in Estonia (which is a big number in such a small country) for thematic and high-quality clips on specific global issues. All experts involved could use the video clips as a communications and education tool in their own work. I hope that ETV2 gained a trusted partner to create quality media content for their programmes and to facilitate bigger (communications) events in the future.
As Viola Salu, Head of ETV2 programming, comments on the cooperation in GCE: “We value the Roundtable's approach in engaging different experts in our ‘environment’ and ‘human rights’ months. We also appreciate their efforts in helping us to address our viewers and inspire them to have an increased interest in the world. The cooperation with the Roundtable helps us to create a bigger picture for our audience, which is our mission as a media channel.”