BABELNOR is a network consisting of 20 organizations from 15 countries the Balkans, Ukraine, Belarus and the Nordic countries. These countries are Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine. The network aims to empower, motivate, and mobilize LGBTQ* youth activists from the member organizations and countries thorough networking and sharing best practises and providing mutual support.
How did we create the network?
In May 2012 fifteen people from thirteen different LGBTIQ* organisations, eleven different countries and three different European regions met in Oslo, Norway to discuss the possibility of forming a LGBTIQ* network for Balkan, Belarus, Nordic countries and Ukraine. This is a result of international dialogue between our organisations where we have discovered the need for a stronger community between countries and organisations. We have different focus areas, different challenges and maybe even different views, but we all share a common dream for a better future and a belief that this can be achieved through building strong relations despite of differences.
The countries of the BABELNOR network are Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine.
Just over the last couple of years there has been a great deal more LGBTIQ* visibility, but at the same time we have seen pride events subjected to violence. Homophobic attitudes and discrimination against LGBTIQ* are still prevalent. Laws to protect the LGBTIQ* community's human rights are continuously fought to be put in place. Through this network we wish to shed light on our different countries' situations and challenges, find out what we can learn from each other, and support each other when needed.
Why did we create the network?
We want to form this partnership and cooperation because we need to share our experience and best practices. We need to offer support and share our expertise on community empowerment, mobilisation and motivation of new activists. We need to bring LGBTIQ* activism to an international level by organising joint activities and aiding the network organisations and countries with support and advice.
We wish to come together as a diverse group with different experiences because we
need a stronger voice for improving LGBTIQ* youth's situations and rights in our respective countries. Furthermore partnerships across the European continent and the European Union can open up for new funding opportunities that will support us in the struggle for LGBTIQ* youth's rights and situations.
We need a conflict solving and crisis management plan to be able to avert and handle crises and emergencies for LGBTIQ* youth and to face situations concerning LGBTIQ* youth's rights in our respective countries.
Finally we need a contingency plan as to make sure the BABELNOR network will continue to develop so that the LGBTIQ* youth's situations and rights in our respective countries can continue to improve.
How do we see ourselves?
The BABELNOR network will be a source of motivation for the partner organisations through exchange of original ideas, sharing of advice and different perspectives. We wish to expand, mobilise and reach out to our community. This will be done by continuing to create partnerships with other LGBTIQ* organisations in the region in order to have greater impact. We wish to support each other’s projects, as we believe this will strengthen our network and enable us to reach better results together in our joint projects.
We believe that through mobilising and empowering youth across borders BABELNOR will form a strong joint voice that will be used to address the LGBTIQ* situations in our countries. Young people are the future and capable of bringing change. Through BABELNOR we will be better equipped to achieve concrete results and progress in creating equality for all with no exceptions.
What do we want to achieve?
Our overall goal is to improve LGBTIQ* youth's situations in each country through organising specific inclusive activities, projects and campaigns in order to empower and educate youth as well as raise awareness. Meeting as equal partners in a diverse group we will share creative tools, which will provide support for LGBTQ* youth organisations in the BABELNOR countries and strengthen and develop the BABELNOR network. Through mobilising and empowering youth and creating a joint force we will strengthen democracy and human rights.