Our work on IO2 Democracy Intervention Set continues...
While drafting the theoretical content and the underlaying approach for our democracy training we conducted an additional round of testing on the activities we have selected. From the 14th to the 18th of June 2021 all partners met online for an intense series of workshop which ended up with 5 additional activities to be included in the democracy intervention set.
Each partner took care of the implementation of 1 activity, while we also continued testing IO3 supplementary module on Conflict and Communication Basics coordinated by our partner from Bulgaria, BIMEC.
The first activity tested has been “Missiles or territory”, proposed by our Spanish partner Asociación Caminos. The activity was aimed at encouraging reflection on peace and conflict, conflict resolution and the importance of a culture of peace. The UN defines the culture of peace as a set of values, attitudes and behaviors based on the rejection of violence, alternatively proposing dialogue and negotiation as a way to resolve conflicts between individuals, groups and nations. The activity’s objective, when fulfilled, is to practically show how convenient dialogue is as opposed to violence.
SWDC, the coordinating organization of Reach Youth proposed the “Power Flower” activity, a visual way to address our social positioning in society and discuss the concept of privilege. The activity has been particularly engaging especially because it reveals a subjective understanding of what privilege is, therefore it makes the discussion that follows really useful to show young people the existence of privilege vs underprivilege and the subjective vs objective impact it has on people’s lives.
During the 3rd day, CSI from Cyprus tested “Structured Democratic Dialogue Process” with us, which allowed us to dive into the shoes of policy makers and understand the process of development of solution to societal issues. This time we gathered as experts to propose solutions to the pandemic impact on the tourism industry in Cyprus. The process resulted in a map of concatenated issues and policy responses. The activity proved to be a really good way to show in practical terms how policymaking works and how complex it is to find shared solutions.
The 4th day BIMEC was on stage with the “Hiding Place” method, a really fun activity which made us confront with our moral and societal views thanks to the fact that we had to take a terrible decision for the survival of a society. The hiding place is an atomic shelter where a group of citizens has to hide in order to save what’s left of a society after the atomic fall-out. The life support system of the shelter though doesn’t allow all people to survive, the group has to come together and decide who is going to be saved and who will have to be sacrificed for the survival of the group.
The last intervention tested, “The Ladder of Participation” has been proposed by CESIE to explore the several situations in which young people are able to participate and to which extent their participation is meaningful. Then the activity invites young people to identify obstacles and empowering factors to participation and, as a conclusion, pick which ones they have control over and which ones are outside of their control. The activity wants to stimulate the participants in achieving a proactive approach to their democratic participation in all aspects of their lives: school, neighborhood, community, city etc.
BIMEC also took care of testing 3 additional activities from IO3 with us: “My feelings”, “Emotional Hijack” and “In other’s shoes”. All these methods are geared towards helping participants develop their emotional intelligence and helping them in gaining a better understanding of our own emotions as well as other people’s.
Our local activities have been a success!
The online testing has not been the only stage for our Democracy Intervention Set, all partners already piloted the interventions locally with a wide range of participants. All these local activities helped us further refine the interventions and provide a dual implementation mode: face-to-face and online. Here are some of our experiences!
CESIE’s piloted 6 interventions from IO2 democracy intervention set with a group of 25 students from the university of Palermo between March and June 2021. All students’ background was on educational and social sciences so the activities have been judged by them as something they will use once they will enter the workforce either with their students or the young people they will work with. All sessions happened online so all the interventions have been tried out in their online version. The piloting season has been really helpful to gather feedback and see the potential of each activity (originally developed for a face-to-face implementation) in an online setting.
BIMEC piloted 2 interventions, “Drawing the concept: the animal of democracy” and “Who is in the picture?” with 22 youth workers from the Bulgarian employment agency. All participants agreed that both interventions are effective in reaching the goal of democratic thinking for youth. Especially as far as informing young people on democracy and democratic rights/institutions is concerned. The second activity on the other hand achieved the goal of fighting prejudices and developing empathy among participants.
CSI in Cyprus piloted the methods “Drawing the concept: the animal of democracy”, “The game of human rights” and “In other’s shoes” with a group of social workers, youth workers, youth trainers and young people. Their experience also suggested the effectiveness of all 3 methods. In the upcoming months all the other methods will be tested.
SWDC was able to gain valuable insights from the internal piloting experience as well during a 3 days intense piloting session in April 2021. The group they worked with has been mixed between young people and pedagogical/educational professionals, which ensured high quality and in depth feedback on all the proposed activities. They discovered hidden talents with online tools especially with the Animal of Democracy intervention, which allowed a pupil to show his talent for the first time in front of his classmates. The whole experience can be summed up as appreciative, secure and affectionate since these have been the main feedback and results the group achieved.
The Spanish partner, Asociación Caminos, piloted 5 of our interventions. The results have been really good for the young participants, who showed some artistic skills while learning about democracy and human rights. They also deepened their learning on democracy by cooperating with one another and making an overview of the political system in Spain and the institutions of the European Union, all in a fun and dynamic way!
Next steps: The learning platform and the implementation guidelines
As part of Reach Youth we not only seek to provide youth workers just like us with a set of coherent and practical activities for democracy training and conflict management. We want to make our work available to reach the larger youth workers’ community. So, if you will not be able to access our training activities, you can still learn all about our activities and how to implement them with young people once our open access e-learning platform is completed!
We are currently in the process of developing the platform (available from September 2021) but once completed each module will give you all the background information, the description of the activity the module refers to, its learning outcomes and the best way to implement it either on a face-to-face basis or online. So, if you or your coworkers are interested in trying out our e-learning platform, stay tuned to our website and social media so that once it’s ready you will be able to access it right away!
Moreover, in order to help organizations implement our methods internally (e.g. schools, youth organizations, etc.) we are in the process of developing a set of guidelines which will help organizations up-taking our approach to youth democracy training identifying the resources needed, the time to dedicate to the activities and other important logistical information. We will start working on the guidelines right away in August 2021, and we’ll be ready to present them at the end of the project in February 2022.
Our material from IO3 is available on our website in 5 languages!
Go have a look at it and download it for free at
About REACH YOUTH
Reach Youth is an initiative co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union which aims at empowering youth and social workers and providing them with the tools to protect young people from radicalization and extremism by acquiring the key values of democracy and the sense of active participation it entails as a mean to address societal issues. To do so, the partnership is working on a set of outputs geared to these ends. Namely, a training curriculum on democracy training tailored to the needs of youth workers, an additional module on conflict resolution and communication and an e-learning platform where all these contents will be easily and freely available to users on an e-learning basis. In addition to all this, after the piloting season of our products, we will create an implementation guide which will be available for those youth workers who would like to use our materials and learn from our piloting experience.
Keep in touch with our upcoming events and developments by visiting the project website
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and the hashtags
#ReachYouthEU #youth4democracy #youthwork
CSI, Center for Social Innovation
The project REACH YOUTH is funded under the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union,
Key Action 2 - Strategic partnerships, European cooperation in vocational education and training (VET).
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
© REACH YOUth – Project Number: KA202-91548CBC-DE
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