The results of the TC Euro-Mediterranean Youth Work Preventing Polarization

“I feel I got some very new and important competencies (three folded: knowledge, skills and attitude) that I will bring to my team, especially for projects related to non-formal education for youth & teenagers”

The training took place in Räpina , which is a small town situated in Põlvamaa County on the South-East of Estonia on dates 18-25 February. The course gathered youth workers from Estonia, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia and Jordan.

Training Course Euro-Mediterranean Youth work Preventing Polarisation focused on developing competences to analyse causes, consequences and dynamics of polarisation, as phenomenon in order to prevent extreme polarisation using Human Rights education and Democratic Citizenship education.

The participants as well shared diverse practices and methods supporting de-polarisation work with young people, such as dialogue circles, Living Library, spaces for citizen cohesion, appreciative dialogues and others. The course included preparation of local actions and cooperation strategies in the Euro-Mediterranean area as its follow-up.

“I learned about valuable tools I can apply in classroom with my students; this training sparked my interest and intention to develop new initiatives”.

So, what were the results of this training course, based on the participant’s evaluations? Below we have collected some ideas.

Sessions participants rank highly with regards to their personal learning are:

-Dynamics, causes and consequences of polarisation, based on the concept and work of Bart Brandsma;
-Exchanging views on polarisation in different countries – “Polaisation from my window”
-The Conflict Cycle and how it defers and interacts with the polarisation dynamics;
-Appreciative Dialogues, as methodology;
-Erasmus+ opportunities;
-Sharing Best Practices by the participants and team.

Extra appreciation is expressed for the Learning Groups, the Euro-Mediterranean Cultural Night, and the NGOs Bazaar.

Regarding the main impact of the training course for participants’ organisations and communities:

Many participants mentioned that they are going to implement the methods & tools gained from this training in their local contexts. Some will even be conveying (providing) this training to team members in their organisations.

“Attending the training on Euro-Mediterranean Youth Work Preventing Polarization will have a significant impact on both my organization and the community we serve. Firstly, the knowledge and skills I gained during the training will enable me to implement more effective youth work programs and initiatives that address the root causes of polarization and promote intercultural understanding and cooperation. This will help to foster greater social cohesion and reduce the risk of conflict in our community. By leveraging the knowledge and expertise of my fellow participants, I believe that my organization and the wider community will be better equipped to address the challenges of polarization and promote a more peaceful and inclusive society.”

Motivated, involved, empowered, confident, fulfilled, grateful..these are some feelings expressed by the participants upon completion of this Training Course. Many have complemented the group dynamic as it has led to a healthy environment to interact.

“I feel very satisfied with the learning and personal experience of this Training Course. It has been useful to opening my mind to new concepts and discovering realities from talking to fellow participants. The ambience was positive and dynamic, I feel like the diversity of the participants and their different experiences added much richness to the learning process”.

In terms of support from Trajectorya@, participants would need in order to develop future projects:

● It would be great if Trajectory@ foster a valuable network of peers and colleagues who are also working in the fields of youth development and peace-building. This network will be an important resource for sharing best practices, exchanging ideas, and collaborating on joint initiatives.

● Keep sharing complementary resources and materials. Sending the developed handbooks/guidelines of some of the tools that have been used during the training course (Example: Fish Bawl).

●Partnership and possible collaboration over future projects will be appreciated as well as assistance in project developing.

In fact the consortium of the partners of the Project, who are continuing their cooperation, is going to go on the coming year working on the topic of Polarization and Youth Work. Already in April and October this year, two more Euro-mediterranean projects are expected be hosted in Catalonia by AHEAD Association. So, keep on updated.

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