Youth Work Can Unite: Merging Parallel Realities in Europe

Europe is presently faced with an extremely difficult and complex situation today: Political and financial instability in many nation-states, the aftermath of a number of terrorist attacks, and the political rhetoric and public discourse on refugees and migrants is fuelling fear, anxiety and resentment within communities, leading to minorities being targeted. It is now more important than ever to challenge a narrative in which refugees, migrants and minorities are a danger to European society, to act against hate, and to work towards a diverse and inclusive Europe.

Youth and voluntary work have the potential to make a difference: To change mind-sets, remind people that the answer to our problems is solidarity, and not division, and to create awareness of populist narratives versus the facts of migration. Likewise, the need of the hour is the integration of refugees and support to local NGOs working with refugees.

The 5-day training Youth Work Can Unite: Merging Parallel Realities in Europe, which took place in Graz, Austria from February 22 – 26, 2017 brought together 25 youth workers from 13 countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, UK). It provided anti-racism training and served to develop an action plan to support refugees and NGOs working with refuges, as well as identifying partners, and networking possibilities at the EU level. ‘UNITED for Intercultural Action, European Network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees’ partnered in the project and provided valuable information on the situation of refugees and the rise of hate speech across Europe.

The project has been funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ Key Action 1 Programme and organised by Grenzenlos Interkultureller Austausch – ICYE Austria with the support of the ICYE International Office.

Read the Final Activity Report- Graz Austria February 2017.

Calling Youth to Action in a Global Visibility Drive

The main aim of the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 project “Calling Youth to Action in a Global Visibility Drive” is to promote the value of volunteering in terms of benefits to the host organisation and the volunteer.  The project brings together ICYE member organisations from 21 countries around the world to develop a visibility and promotion strategy that is realistic, cost effective, well-timed and successful.

The project started with the Visibility Kick Off in Berlin (6-9 November 2016), where the team of facilitators drafted the programme of the international multiplier training to take place in Accra, Ghana, 16 – 20 November 2016.

From January to August 2017 all participating organisations will implement a visibility strategy by running promotional campaigns in their respective countries with the support of local and international volunteers.

The project will come to a close at the Visibility Evaluation in Paris, France in September 2017, where the campaigns will be presented and their success assessed.

A Visibility Guide outlining an effective promotion strategy for the volunteering field will be produced at the project’s end with best practice examples for a successful visibility drive.

Project Partners: Grenzenlos Interkultureller Austausch – ICYE Austria, ICYE Bolivia, ICYE Brazil, Centre for Sustainable Development Vietnam, ICYE Colombia, ICYE Denmark, Maailmanvaihto – ICYE Finland, Jeunesse et Reconstruction – ICYE France, ICJA Freiwilligenaustausch weltweit – ICYE Germany, ICYE Ghana, AUS – ICYE Iceland, ICDE-India, ICYE Kenya, SIIJUVE – ICYE Mexico, AJUDE – ICYE Mozambique, ICYE Nepal, ICYE Nigeria, FIYE – ICYE Poland, KERIC – ICYE Slovakia, ICYE Switzerland, ICYE-UK.

 

 

Communicating Human Rights in Diversity

The main aim of the Key Action 2 project “Communicating Human Rights in Diversity” is to develop sustainable strategies to assist youth and volunteering NGOs to infuse a culture of human rights in diverse local contexts and communities. This involves making volunteers active and responsible citizens, who value diversity and human rights, and it means building the capacity of volunteer organisations and creating multipliers of change in the field of volunteering. In working towards a culture of human rights, the project challenges preconceived notions, customs, practices and behaviour based on stereotypes and prejudices. It simultaneously seeks to explore new ways of engaging with the blind spots of our consciousness, with precarious spaces and people at risk. The project commenced with a training for Human Rights Education Multipliers in Copenhagen, Denmark in March 2015. It was followed by local Human Rights Education trainings for the EVS volunteers in this project.

The different components of this project include:

  • European Voluntary Service for 13 young volunteers who are engaged in projects addressing human rights issues from April – December 2015 in Austria, Poland, the UK, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria and Mozambique.
  • Local Human Rights Education trainings that aim at facilitating the EVS volunteers’ engagement in their host projects in ways that generate awareness and ensure respectful engagement with vulnerable groups, i.e. the project beneficiaries, and thus breaking down the social hierarchy oftentimes found between provider and receiver of social work.
  • A qualitative study examining the impact of the Human Rights Education on the socio-cultural and personal developments of the volunteers in this project.
  • The Gauging Impact Seminar that will take place in Bogotá, Colombia in April 2016, bringing together once again the Human Rights Education Multipliers from the four world regions to assess the project and its outcomes.

Volunteers’ Quotes from the ICYE Impact study:

I feel like I’ve helped them a little bit but I’ve gained much more for myself really.

It did make me reflect a lot on my culture, it did make me reflect on “Why”. At the beginning, my question for myself will be “Why it is like this” then during the time, it would change to “Why do I think it’s weird, why it is so difficult to me, like why it is important for me to be on time. I will question my own culture.

“Communicating with people from different backgrounds and with different lives from you, and being able to find something in common, in a place where you wouldn’t necessarily think you have something in common with someone, being able break the barriers about language and culture, and all of that to get to the core and get lovely human interaction.”

“…I have gained the skill to be a leader in a group of young people for more than 20 people as a volunteer and to deal with the cultural shock between them, and to be in the middle and try to manage these things. I think these skills could never have happened in my life if I am not in this kind of project.”

Publications of the project:

Final Activity Report – International Human Rights Training for Multipliers, Copenhagen Denmark (March 2015)

ICYE Impact Assessment – Human Rights in Diversity: Executive Summary Full Report – 

Toolkit: Human Rights Education in Volunteering

Volunteers at the Interface between Formal and Non-Formal Education

ICYE’s Erasmus+ Key Action 2 project “Volunteers at the Interface between Formal and Non-Formal Education” seeks to reinforce links between formal and non-formal education. Formal education is the structured education system, we know from schools and other institutionalized forms, whereas non-formal education is not compulsory and is often obtained outside the formally organized school. Non-formal education is about the liberating potential of new forms of learning that are learner-centred, motivating, experiential, and inspiring.
The two forms of education are different but complementary.
Bringing the two streams of education together will result in education that stimulates motivation for learning as it focuses on the needs and aspirations of each student.

The aim of the project is to make learning an interactive and collaborative process that inspires young people, in particular youth with fewer opportunities, to partake in learning and acquire knowledge. The majority of young volunteers worldwide are engaged in formal education such as schools, adult education centres etc. This project aims to strengthen the volunteers’ work and contributions in the formal educational projects. Therefore, volunteers will playa key role in supporting teachers and educators to introduce and use new methodology in the classroom to improve delivery of formal educational content.

The project will be realized through different components:

– Training for non-formal – formal education in February 2016, in which participants will gain knowledge about principles and methods of learning.
– A long-term EVS project for 8 months from April 2016, which involves 16 ICYE National Committees, 12 host projects and 14 volunteers.
– Training of volunteers during the EVS, so they have knowledge about formal and non-formal education with which they can approach their projects.
– Evaluation of the project to take place in March 2017

Final activity report from Vienna – Training on formal and non-formal education methods.