In NESEHNUTÍ, 2022 marks the end of the first quarter century of our efforts to create a better and more just world. And although the members of NESENUTÍ are often younger than the organization itself, we continue to strive for societal changes based on respect for people, animals, and nature. We continue to hold on to youthful ideals and believe that the impulses for change must come from below, from active individuals and collectives who are interested in what is happening around them. And we are happy that we are not alone in this, even after twenty-five years, and that you, our partners, colleagues, and supporters, are here with us.

We celebrated the twenty-fifth birthday of NESEHNUTÍ with activities that accompanied us in various forms throughout 2022. Through workshops, we educated ourselves together with young people. Through meetings with the members of our partner organizations who are pushing together with us wherever we seek social change. Also, through the collaboration across all of NESEHNUTÍ’s programs, which, despite their different objectives, show that the issues that contemporary society is tackling are interconnected and need to be constantly seen in the wider context of the world around us.

In addition to our birthday party, there were other opportunities to meet active people and organizations that filled us with gratitude that we are on this journey with all of you. Indeed, without the support of the public, our donors, volunteers, and friendly organizations, it would be completely impossible for us to continue on this path.

Thank you and we look forward to many more years of engagement.

The Initiative way // In our country, the development of civil society has already started. Now we need to help in places where it is still in its early stages of development. In the Initiative Way, we are building on our experience with civic activism and campaigns in the Czech Republic and passing on our knowledge to civil society in the South Caucasus and Ukraine. We help active people to change the world for the better, and in countries with similar historical experiences, we are guides on the path to a free and democratic society.

We have been working in Ukraine since 2014 – supporting the development of civil society and cooperating with human rights defenders, independent media as well as local initiatives. However, the Russian full-scale invasion changed the nature of our work overnight.

Since the first days of the full-scale invasion, Ukraine has been short of medical supplies. That’s why we have regularly sent vans full of boxes of much-needed medicines, tourniquets, or bandages to save people from bleeding to death. In cities that have been devastated by bombing, something as basic as access to drinking water is often missing. That’s why we have shipped a number of water purification products to Mykolaiv, where Russian bombs destroyed the water supply network. Our partner organization provides them on the spot to the elderly or people with health limitations.

The invasion put many active Ukrainians in double jeopardy. If they happened to find themselves in the occupied territories, they would face repression by the Russian regime targeting Ukrainian civil society. That’s why, since the beginning of the invasion, we have been helping activists and their families to flee to safer regions or to get out of Ukraine.

Escape from the country has become the only option for many Crimean Tatars. Some of them had to leave their homes for the first time already in 2014 when the Russian regime annexed Crimea. That’s why we have already organized three evacuations, during which more than a hundred women, children and elderly people were able to reach the safety of the Czech Republic.

But many active people have refused to leave Ukraine and continue their work despite the enormous danger involved. For example, they are helping the most vulnerable or monitoring war crimes committed by the Russian army. We have also provided financial support and technical equipment, such as bulletproof vests and computers, to these brave individuals. In addition, we have organized several visits by Ukrainian human rights defenders to the Czech Republic so that the media and political leaders could learn more about what is happening there from them and better target aid and assistance.

Our assistance also went to three Ukrainian organizations that help survivors of sexual violence. These people provide medical and psychological and therapeutic help to victims or work to mitigate the long-term social impact of sexual violence and the secondary victimization of women, men and children survivors of such violence.

Apart from Ukraine, we have remained active elsewhere. In Georgia, we continued our traditional support program, in which we organized a Summer School of Civic Activism for aspiring activists from the border regions of Georgia. Young people from Armenia also participated. Under the guidance of experienced lecturers from Georgia, Belarus, and the Czech Republic, a total of seventeen young participants got acquainted with the basic methods and principles of civic activism.

We want people to be able to approach themselves and their surroundings without prejudice and stereotypical expectations. To have the same opportunity to develop their skills and talents. We recognize that our society is made up of a wide range of diverse individuals and we strive to co-create a space where everyone respects and listens to each other. In the F*ÉRA program, we focus primarily on the topic of gender sensitivity in education. We work with young people on having a positive relationship with their bodies and sexuality, promote their uniqueness, and raise issues around power and the causes of violence.

In order to work with young people and solve their problems, we need to meet with them. That’s why in the summer we organized a several-day camp for active young people, where together we tried not only to identify obstacles and problems but also to learn how to solve or report them, for example, through social media campaigns. We also started regular informal meetings on topics that resonate among teenagers.

One of the ways that these topics emerged was through the Genderiada, a competition for the best high school paper on gender equality, which we organized for the third time. This year, we announced the winners in two categories – non-fiction and literary.

One of the topics that particularly resonates among young people and that they encounter almost every day is disinformation, fake news, and hate speech. These are not the only issues we discussed at the international meeting Learning, Teaching, Training in Novi Sad, Serbia, where an inspiring meeting with young people from six European countries took place. The meeting was part of the DNA – Debate, not Argue – project, for which we launched a new website and Instagram profile during the year.

In another project, With YOUth – towards an active citizenship and gender-sensitive education, we planned an Instagram campaign to help bring current topics into Czech schools that young people are genuinely interested in, and consider as important, but don’t have the space to discuss. The participants we met during the summer camp are helping us with the planning.

We like to share our knowledge. That’s also why we organized or lectured at a total of sixteen workshops in 2022 on topics such as safety and the prevention of violence both online and offline or partner and friend relationships. We also participated in several conferences, such as The Culture of Tomorrow: Gender Equality and the Economy.

Citizen Eye is also your eye. We keep an eye on Brno's strategic documents and analyze their environmental impact. We don't bow in front of development projects that encroach on parks, increase traffic or consume public space. We believe that it is necessary to address current environmental problems as a complex issue and with the active involvement of all residents. Therefore, we teach the active public and local governments the methods of participation. Our focus is primarily on problems in Brno, but we also inspire other Czech municipalities. Together we are creating wise cities of the future: cities in balance with people and nature.

An integral part of our work is continuous development and education – of ourselves and others. That’s why in 2022 we organized several training events for different target groups. In April, for example, we met with active people from municipalities, the authorities and municipal politics. At the event SOMEBODY SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT – Weekend Participation Workshop, we discussed with the participants the methods of active public participation, which we also tested out on practical cases.

The December workshop „Climate and Environmental Protection in the Zoning Plans of Czech Cities and Towns“ was held online and brought together representatives of regional governments, politicians and officials. We started by showing why the zoning plan is a legitimate and necessary tool for climate protection and how it can be used in concrete ways. The municipality of Říčany was then used as an example of good practice. For instance, it stipulates in its zoning plan the obligation of installing green roofs or photovoltaics for buildings larger than 300 square meters.

Of course, we also discussed the still relevant topic of the Brno city zoning plan, the development of which we are constantly monitoring. We presented to the participants the specific green regulations that NESEHNUTÍ promoted in the prepared Brno city zoning plan. Their aim was, for example, to protect existing green areas and inner courtyards or to support the further development of cycling infrastructure in Brno.

We also discussed the Moravian metropolis right in the city. As part of a guided walk Brno, Climate, Transport, we took the interested participants through the streets of Brno and showed them the obstacles and shortcuts that not only pedestrians encounter in the city. On that occasion, we also outlined possible solutions for a friendlier climate and a more pleasant life for human as well as other forms of life in the streets of Brno.

But our activities in 2022 reached far beyond Brno. As part of the Together for the Climate project, we teamed up with partner organizations from Slovakia and Austria to work together with an international group of young people interested in tackling climate issues and to share knowledge and experience in the process.

In Slovakia, we and our volunteers were hosted in June by colleagues from our partner organization Green Foundation. We shared our plans for local pro-climate projects and got feedback as well as new ideas. While visiting the local eco-center or the nature around the Danube together, we got to know other young people from Slovakia and Austria who joined the project and are keen to work for climate protection on a local level.

Half a year later, in December, we went to a second international meeting, this time with the Vienna-based Jane Goodall Institute Austria. Together with the volunteers involved in the project, we designed livable and climate-resilient cities and visited a unique urban farm. Right on the streets of Vienna, we explored a range of adaptation measures and also got a glimpse into the city’s community housing, whose residents strive to keep their environmental impact as low as possible.

Together Towards Diversity // We help newcomers become locals. We create a community where we learn from, share and support each other. Our vision is a respectful and inclusive society based on core values such as freedom, equality, solidarity, and humanism. This is the kind of society we are trying to create. Inclusion is the main tool for this. It involves all stakeholders in a way that strengthens the cohesion of society and contributes to its all-round development. We pursue this vision through targeted support for newcomers in the form of informal leisure, educational and community activities, and awareness raising among the Czech public and youth.

In 2022, we were all affected by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. And because our work is linked to supporting migrants and refugees, part of our team was dedicated to helping the first waves of refugees directly at the Regional Assistance Center for Ukraine.

Ukrainian teenagers, who had to cope with new life situations while on the run, often without proper care and attention, were included in our Buddy Program, thus creating the Be My Friend project. In it, we connected young people from Ukraine with their Czech peers from the EKO high school in Brno. The aim was to bring the young Ukrainians together with locals with whom they will spend their free time and get used to their new life in Brno. The participants also underwent an intensive Czech language course, which helped them, for example, to pass the entrance exams to Czech schools. As a result of the Be My Friend project, we have a close-knit group of young people from Ukraine who know each other well and cooperate with us on other projects and activities, such as the Culinary School or the Buddy Program.

What is happening in Ukraine has also made its way into our project Culinary School, in which young people from Ukraine have joined alongside newcomers from Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Afghanistan. The project includes thematic evenings with the joint preparation of vegan dishes. Together Towards Diversity, under the banner of the Join the Table project, has also created a community cookbook What We Bring Along, which contains vegan recipes from all over the world, as well as a text about the life of newcomers in the Czech Republic and ideas about the coexistence of people of different nationalities and cultures. The Culinary School also met before Christmas, when, in addition to a vegan feast, we also prepared sweets and homemade candles.

Half a year earlier we organized a children’s day camp focused on spending time and creating things in nature. Children from families with a variety of cultural backgrounds participated for example in art and audio-visual workshops or spent time together in nature learning about and collecting herbs.

Language proficiency is critical to living and thriving in a new environment. That’s why in 2022 we connected a total of sixty children of all ages with an equal number of volunteers who regularly tutored them in Czech as well as other subjects. At one of the schools in Brno, we ran a Czech Play Club, where around twenty Vietnamese children were improving their Czech in a fun way through Czech songs, playing games or practicing correct pronunciation.

For Animal Rights // We want a world where animals are seen as full-fledged beings and where their natural needs are respected. We advocate a transition from industrial animal agriculture to sustainable, predominantly plant-based agriculture that completely abandons animal husbandry in large-scale farms. Industrial agriculture, led by factory farming, is one of the main causes of climate change and, in addition to the suffering of animals, its accompanying negative effects include the destruction of nature and threats to human health. We support systemic changes that will improve the welfare of livestock and lead to an increase in the proportion of plant-based diets at the expense of production from large-scale farms.

We also want a world where all children can have lunch in school canteens, regardless of their dietary restrictions or preferences. That’s why, in the Diverse Canteens Campaign, we are working to change the School Meals Ordinance to reduce the proportion of animal-based foods in school lunches, and as a result reduce animal suffering and the burden that the overconsumption of animal products places on the climate. We want vegetarians and vegans to be able to eat with their peers in school canteens and not be discriminated against for their ethical approach to eating.

The current school meals being offered are outdated and in dire need of change – and we know how to do it. We have begun working with the Government Commissioner for Human Rights, Klára Šimáček Laurenčíková, to push for a new regulation that will bring the entire school lunch system up to date. For example, the Commissioner convened expert meetings with representatives of the institutions and ministries in charge with experts on the topic of school meals. We have discussed and cooperated with a number of experts, officials and political representatives about the need for changes in school meals.

On the basis of positive examples from abroad and in cooperation with nutrition and law experts, we have already prepared an expert basis for a new draft regulation on school meals for the Commissioner – its creation and approval should take place in the near future, but at the latest with effect from September 2024.

For all those who are working with us on having Diverse Canteens or who are interested in the topic of school meals, we ran several webinars and workshops in 2022, for example at Climate Camp (Klimakemp) or during Climate Week. The main topics were the (un)sustainability of the current unsatisfactory situation and ways to reform it. We represented the vision of Diverse Canteens which are open to all and represent less of a burden on the environment at several other events, such as the Veganfest in Brno, the Veggie náplavka (Prague riverside) or the School Catering Conference.

Volunteering // Since our foundation in 1997, we have worked closely with volunteers who are an integral part of our teams. Together, we encourage others to be responsible to those around them and the environment and strive to make changes that transform our environment for the better.

V roce 2022 jsme dobrovolnictví rozvíjeli skrze projekt Participuj! Hlas mladých do veřejné diskuze a vzdělávání. Společně s dospívajícími lidmi jsme se snažily*i budovat prostředí, ve kterém se mohou aktivně vyjadřovat k aktuálním společenským problémům jako je klimatická krize nebo genderové stereotypy. Zároveň jsme mladé lidi podporovaly*i v rozvoji měkkých dovedností a zvyšování informovanosti.

In 2022, we further developed volunteering through the project Participate! The Youth Voice in Public Discussion and Education. Together with teenagers, we tried to create an environment in which they can actively express their opinions on current social issues such as the climate crisis or gender stereotypes. At the same time, we supported young people in developing soft skills and raising awareness.

We involved young people in various concrete activities. Volunteers lectured at workshops together with us, participated in pro-climate projects and civic campaigns, and tried their hand at organizing diverse community events. In the process, we listened to their ideas and tried to create space for their implementation.

Thanks to the fact that in NESEHNUTÍ we operate non-hierarchically and strive for maximum participation of all members of the organization, volunteers could also experience direct involvement in the running of the organization and participate in decision-making in the management of our activities.

We want to thank all of our volunteers and interns for their cooperation, flexibility, and staying power in 2022. We appreciate your efforts to strive with us for a better world and look forward to our next steps together.

We feel grateful to be surrounded by people who share the same values and support us not only morally but also financially.

In 2022, donors supported NESEHNUTÍ with donations worth
2,799,655 CZK.

Thanks to our supporters, we know that we are not alone in our quest for a fairer world. Without them, we could not implement our activities and other much needed steps towards greater freedom, responsibility and public engagement in the Czech Republic and abroad.

We greatly appreciate their help and thank everyone who offers help together with us.

We are NESEHNUTÍ (Those Who Do Not Bow).

We feel responsible for what is happening around us. We work for change towards justice and equality.
We want an open and engaged society, capable of dialogue and based on respect for nature, people, and animals.

We activate communities and individuals to act on the basis of ecological and social context.
We embrace responsibility as an integral part of freedom.