The French National Agency for Youth and Sport has approved for funding the We Belong – Exploring Europe’s Unity in Diversity” project, aiming at facilitating the transition to adulthood of youngsters leaving institutional care. The proposal is one of the 4 projects approved for funding by the Agency under the Erasmus+ Programme, Action KA2 ‘Strategic partnerships for Innovation in the field of Youth‘.
The core values for which the motto of the European Union-United in Diversity – stands are fundamental for ensuring lasting peace, social cohesion and societal welfare.
With this project we aim to engage young people in exploring the concept of Unity in Diversity in specific application areas, thus demonstrating the concept meaning, validity and practical application through the political and societal structures and mechanisms European society is built upon.
With the methodology, we will implement a building block approach of the project activities, gradually introducing youngsters to the multiple–levels of application of the concept, thus leading them to “see their way to seeing complexities.” We have designed the methodology in order to guide them through three broad levels of the application of the concept:
1. Interpersonal relationships –bringing young people from different social, ethnic and cultural groups together to share common human experiences such as rejection, frustration, otherness, unemployment etc., will be a positive point of departure for cross-cultural learning and higher levels of understanding of being “same but different” as an introduction to understanding Unity in Diversity.
2. Social action at local level – through the local pilot trainings for young people to be implemented in the project, participants will be guided to jointly investigate a social challenge, and design, organize and implement positive social action campaign to solve it. Thus, their awareness of the validity and application of the concept at local and national level through the democratic institutions, tools and instruments will be expanded.
3. Social action at European level – through the international training for young people, we intend to bring the participants from all partner countries together, thus guiding them to gain a better understanding of the challenges their peers face (differences and similarities) and implement a social action campaign on a European level to solve a problem that concerns them all, thus gaining awareness and understanding of complex, multi-level governance and empowering them to be active participants at all levels.
The most important results to be expected during the project and on its completion are the following:
1. The We Belong Training Course with modules,organized following major societal challenges, which affect our society.
2. A multilingual educational web platform will be created, which will host the interactive e-learning modules according to the training program and an intuitive digital storytelling tool, which will allow to participants to create powerful digital stories and social campaigns and share them with the world.
3. A training kit containing two training resources that will be produced in both printed and electronic form, in order to allow large use of the training methodology, and equip other teachers, trainers and young people with the necessary tools and approaches to implement it.
4. A six months long pilot training course will be organized in each country as part of the project, with the participation of 10 young people per country, which will allow us to involve representatives of the target groups directly in the development of project and thus make sure the results are achieved.
5. Two international training events, one for youth workers and one for young people, will be also implemented in order to directly train target group representatives from one side and to allow us to test, evaluate and improve the methodology with regards to the results achieved during the trainings, and the participant’s feedback.
The project has been developed by Association Redefine team and is part of our consistent effort to support local and European partners in the implementation of innovative practices. The consortium is lead by The Cultural Route of the Council of Europe – Via Charlemagne, France and includes partners from Portugal, Turkey, Poland, Austria and Bulgaria.