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About the project

The project aims to develop a transnational capacity building training programme and presentation of best practices which goes beyond the European context, the “Strength through solidarity” model builds on existing good solutions in empowering youth few fewer opportunities (especially with disability) from Europe as well as Asia, Africa and Latin America by providing the tools (mobility initiatives and online platform) for youth workers to work collaboratively in a non-formal, peer-learning environment and disseminate their best/worst practices, but also by promoting the existing tools.

The idea of bringing together youth workers from 4 continents and a diverse group small organizations gives a possibility to zoom out of the geographical/issue specific context and provide an insight from the wider ecosystem of youth work globally. 

Youth workers from around the world will raise their intercultural/social skills and competences to work with diversity in all its forms which will decrease the number of youth who could be facing social exclusion in their countries. A transcontinental peer learning model which will promote non-discrimination, solidarity and pluralism.

 Furthermore the project will facilitate the creation of a formal, transcontinental network of youth workers who share common values, intercultural openness and collaborate in a sustainable way to drive social change in their communities.

Tangible outcomes:

www.networkofchange.org/courses/ - a peer learning platform, easily accessible to changemakers in most remote locations, with or without disabilities created by a collective of activists who empower marginalized communities in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and Latin America.

Check out the juicy findings of the project as accessible pdf / html- here.


Partners

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Solidarity FilmDoc Foundation (Sopot, Poland) – experienced in documenting, networking and promoting social innovators for youth with fewer opportunities in Africa and Asia by using film documentaries, online tools, teleconferences, trainings & events. SolidarityFilmDoc will contribute towards trainings in online course development, publicity, fundraising and web portal/teleconferencing software.



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Views International(Ans/Liège, Belgium) deals mainly with European youth projects for and with visually impaired with extensive experience in adapting activities like youth exchanges, European Voluntary Service, trainings and seminars for visually impaired young participants. In the past 6 years, Views International various youth projects for visually impaired young persons with countries from Latin America; China , Africa ; Morocco, Palestine and French territories.


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The German Federation for The Blind and Partially Sighted (Berlin, Germany) has a long lasting experience in carrying out youth work on national and international level, organizing annual youth trainings in areas like communication, publicity, peer support, advocacy work and organization of local activities. It promotes the rights of persons with disabilities on a world wide level, since it is a member of EBU and WBU. It will contribute high quality training and support the organizational processes.


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Bats in Action (Uajara, Brazil) implements programmes for education and rehabilitation of youth with visual impairment in rural regions of Brazil. Bats in Action experience in alternativ e learning methods in teaching independent living skills such as Braille, the use of information technology, orientation , mobility and daily living skills will be kills curriculum for online and offline trainings.


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Thumbs Up Uganda (Gulu, Uganda) offers rehabilitation training for youth with s

pecial needs and young parents of disabled children to create alternative educational measures which serve all talents and agencies of youth with special needs in schools and community. Thumbs Up Uganda experience in nurturing family networks and partnerships for youth with disabilities will be used to prepare and conduct peer support sessions.


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Jyothirgamaya India (Trivandrum, India) is a training center and mobile blind school for blind youth, mostly rural, who are trained in various independent living skills: Mobility, IT, access technology, echo location, yoga and interpersonal trainings residential. Jyothirgamya's experience in carrying out sensitization programmes in international (UK, Australia, UAE) and national (Kerala Social Justice Department, president of India Mr APJ Abdul Kalam) educational and public institutions will be used for the training in Rights, Needs and Abilities of persons with disability and intercultural communication.


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Always Reading Caravan (Chiang Mai, Thailand) carries out literacy projects for children and youth with and without disabilities in the rural areas of Thailand. Since 2010 ARC has been successfully raising funds for its activities through national and international foundations, donations from individuals, SMEs, one-off fundraisers which were covered in Asian media. It is running Move Lanna - an accessible volunteering intitative which connects international volunteers with local projects generating profits for its functioning. ARC will be co-responsible for trainings in volunteering & publicity/fundraising.


Activities

1. Training course for youth leader in Gdańsk (September 2016) - developed the capacity of partner organisation in providing offline trainings which contains training material and best practices in the key areas like: 

- Effective Intercultural Communication Techniques for Non-profits

- Publicity and Fundraising in Intercultural Context

- Volunteering in different cultures

- Peer Support

- Curriculum development for stationery and online transversal skills trainings for youth workers and their formal recognition

- Advocacy in promoting and raising awareness for the rights, needs and abilities of disabled persons

- Empowering yourself and your community

2. Web portal (www.networkofchange.org/courses/)- establishing a reasonable means of virtual communication and to get in touch with potential sponsors to look for ways to facilitate online communication processes developed during the first months of the project. Our findings will be used to facilitate communication during the project and to enable our partners to provide online training sessions for youth workers from other regions

3. Online training courses (February-July 2017) - open and free tools to build capacity of each organisation working with youth, especially with fewer opportunities, all over the world available in created webportal

4. Training course in Kampala, Uganda (August 2017) - evaluated the project's methodology of building the capacity of small organizations who work with young with fewer opportunities by discussing good practices of projects for disabled youth all over the word, on-line trainings thru: a) Grassroot Changemakers & Innovators Summit mash up with key decision makers, policy makers, innovators, activists, entrepreneurs andmedia people + b) 5 day hands on, informal evaluation at the Social Innovation Academy campus


International Training Course in Kampala (August 8-13, 2017)

The 6 day training started with a carefully planned international level conference called the Grassroot² Changemakers and Innovators Summit (#ChangemakerSummitUg2017) which was organized in partnership with a mix of grassroot youth organizations, policymakers (including minister of social welfare, members of parliament with disability), business and media people. The aim was to disseminate the results of the project and give an insight to East Africa to our participants.

view of hall at the Grassroot² Changemakers and Innovators Summit View of hall at the Grassroot² Changemakers and Innovators Summit. Photo courtesy: Tomek Kozakiewicz


What followed were 5 days of extensive project evaluation carried out in a non-formal setting at the campus of Social Innovation Academy – a non-formal incubation programme for marginalized changemakers from East Africa: persons with disability, refugees, orphans, vulnerable women etc.

Indian participants preparing icebreakers for the remaining evaluation participantsIndian participants preparing icebreakers for the remaining evaluation participants. Photo courtesy: Tomek Kozakiewicz


As STS is a global project, with participants coming from diverse countries, culture, education and language backgrounds, plus have different areas of involvement on this project activities, we recognize that having a formal evaluation process might not be aliquot for the evaluation outcome that we are looking for. Therefore, we have invented an experimental evaluation process whereby we allow the individual to be involved in different activities throughout the week. The participants are involved in four different activities:

Informal evaluation methods at work by external evaluation teamPhoto courtesy: IRSE


A. Field trip – participants have the opportunity to get to know each other in smaller and larger groups and visit local non-governmental organizations to learn and question their evaluation processes. Aim: Ice breaking and discussing common understanding and differences in methods of evaluation of social projects

field trip in Mpanga forest reservePhoto courtesy: IRSE


B. Participatory and informal group delivery using expressive methodology by creating a product prototype and artistic performance. Aim: Encourage participants to express their experiences (both positive and negative) in a way which is accessible for as many people as possible.

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C. Partner evaluation meeting

i. Closed, exclusive round table self-appraisal and reflection of the project between partner’s organization coordinators. Aim: Stir critical discussion on successes and failures in project delivery between key decisionmakers

ii. Open round table debate between partner organization coordinators in front of all participants with questions from the audience. Aim: Bring participants into the shoes of key project decisionmakes: ask hard questions but also empathise with them.

Round table sessions at Social Innovation AcademyRound table sessions at Social Innovation Academy. Photo courtesy: Andrew Mukose, Gifted Hands Network


D. Round circle evaluation and feedback during final general assembly. Aim: Summarize conclusions & recommendations and create a feeling of solidarity


International Training Course in Gdańsk (September 9-25, 2016)

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During 18 days of training course 24 youth workers from 8 countries and 4 continents were sharing experience, good practices and knowledge about working with youth, especially with disabilities. We spoke about intercultural differences, publicity and gundraising, volunteering in different cultures, peer support, curriculum development for stationery and online transversal skills trainings for youth workers and their formal recognition, advocacy in promoting and raising awareness for the rights, needs and abilities of disabled persons. During national nights we got to know more about Poland, Brazil, Uganda, germany, Thailand, Belgium and India, their culture and traditions.


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To get to know local environment participants met the representatives of local NGO's from 3city and got to know the Neighbourhood House in Gdańsk Orunia. They spent the weekend together with local activists and on Sunday morning shared their experience in the picnic in Reagan park in Gdańsk.


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In September 23, 2016 in Protokultura in Gdańsk there was a unique opportunity to work together local activists with 20 activists from around the world. During the interactive design thinking workshop we attempted to find innovative solutions to problems faced by changemakers from countries like India, Nepal, Kenya or Poland.

The meeting was an opportunity to make contacts, exchange experience, know a different point of view and look at problems from a different perspective.

The workshop used the method of design thinking to work together on solutions to the problems raised by social activists.


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This project was implemented thanks to financial support of the Europeann Comission.
The project or publication reflects only the personal seeings of the author and the European Comission cannot be held liable for its content.