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Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Jun 1, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

ECOS started running EVS activities in 2013 under the “Activating Youth” project and we are now calling for its 7th edition. During these last years, and with the support of previous EVS volunteers, ECOS have been developing partnership projects in several youth sectors and with several non-governmental organisations focusing on promoting a new culture of youth participation in decision making that concerns the life of young people in Faro and of their community through the dynamic of the European Volunteer Service. Activating Youth V was the 5th edition of this long term project, involving ECOS acting as hosting and also as coordinating organisation. The activities took place in the city of Faro, capital of Algarve the southern region of Portugal and lasted for 12 months (from March 2015 to March 2016) with 5 volunteers from Greece, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom and Belarus, some of them facing economic and social obstacles due to unemployment. The Algarve region often presents the highest youth unemployment rates and has the second highest level of school drop-outs in the country. Moreover, in the last years there was a structural lack of involvement of youth in the cultural and social life and on decision making of the city. Also the number of young people participating in mobility activities, and of youth organisation applying for projects inside of Erasmus+ in the region, was one of the lowest in the country. We strongly believe that fruitful experiences of mobility, volunteering and active participation can support the development of competences that will enhance their entrepreneurial skills and the opportunities for employment. Moreover, the awareness and tackling of social issues and challenges at local level can also open the range of opportunities for the development of social projects that can not only support the development of the local communities but also the personal and professional development of the local youth. Therefore, the main aims of this project were the improvement of the conditions for participation and activation of young people and the development of social projects and activities. The objectives include the development of a new local youth culture that: - Gives access to information about youth interests, - Promotes opportunities for international mobility, volunteering and non-formal learning, - Creates awareness and addresses burning issues of the local community and also at international level, - Promotes and enhances participation of young people with a focus on democratic life, and - Builds the capacity of local organisations that work with youth, youth organisations and informal youth groups. The project related to activities about active citizenship and youth participation, arts and culture & environment in cooperation with a network of local partners, as well as the municipality and IPDJ, with. More particular: - "Centro Jovem" in partnership with IPDJ (space to inform youth on Erasmus + possibilities and others) and Mobility Information Sessions (in Schools, University, youth associations, social spaces and events, sharing information about Erasmus +); - Algarve 2020 (project about youth participation in decision making in Algarve with consultation processes of stakeholders involved); - Round-Trip project (concerning the involvement of citizens in the existing mechanisms of participation); - Video Forum of Faro (weekly video forums, followed by structured discussions and debates on social burning issues); - Impressions of Faro (exploration activities during the first phase of the project to allow participants to explore and promote Faro and its youth). - Workshops (monthly soft skills workshops for the volunteers and also for the local youth and youth workers). - Culture, Art and Social Entrepreneurship in Faro (project to promote local creative industries and local handicraft among youth). - Environmental Volunteering for Water (project about environmental issues, specifically in the topics of preservation of eco-biodiversity, environmental education activities and water monitoring). The methodology on the projects varied but mainly it was based on two fundamentals which are the non-formal learning aspect in regard to the volunteers personal and professional development and also the participative approaches employed in each project development. We believe this project contributed for, in a long term, creating in Faro a youth friendly culture, where there are spaces and conditions for participation in decision making, and where young people have also opportunities for their self-realisation. We visualize Faro becoming a model city for Youth and become an inspiring example and practice for others to follow.
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