Telling Soldiers About NATO
Support to Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic ambitions, though higher among soldiers than with the general population, does not exceed 35%. Over 70% of Ukrainian military say they rarely get credible information about NATO, and 43% of military educational workers complain about the lack of diverse and friendly information support tools to educate soldiers. Cadets and officer school students are offered a course on NATO history and present roles, but no systemic information campaign is conducted in the units for privates and NCOs. Access to publications and video information on NATO is scarce in the garrisons.
NATO and individual member nations support a variety of information activities for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. However, most conferences, lectures, and workshops are carried out at expert or senior officer levels, e.g. the annual NATO Week at the Defense Academy. No special training courses for unit information/ education officers have been conducted.
Rozmai Media Center, an independent NGO, has produced a popular TV documentary called NATO: Friend or Foe?, filmed in fourteen European countries and Ukraine. The NGO researchers have interviewed hundreds of people and devised friendly ways of demonstrating membership benefits to the broad audience. In 2008-2009 Rozmai Media Center developed, jointly with a partner NGO, an educational course, based on the Rozmai's successful TV documentary. Twenty seven 3-5 minute episodes have been re-edited to illustrate NATO-related aspects that interest most Ukrainians, and the DVD was supported by text manual Questions Ukrainians Ask About NATO with corresponding chapters and pictures.
Thirteen workshops were conducted at various AFU HQs, Training Centers, and the largest garrisons for over 600 unit leaders, mostly young officers and NCOs, who will then continue the work in the units, educating soldiers in equally informal but systemic manner.
The project donors were:
- British Embassy in Ukraine
- NATO Information and Documentation Center