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Active Citizenship and Preservation of Environmental Heritage
Start date: 01 May 2015, End date: 30 Apr 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The EVS project “Active Citizenship and Preservation of Environmental Heritage” is integrated into all of the Gaia Foundation’s projects of coastal management and sustainable organic farming in Ghajn Tuffieha (Malta), Ramla-I-Hamra (Gozo) and Vizzini (Sicily). The Gaia Foundation aims to address the phenomenon of coastal erosion in effect in the managed protected areas Ghajn Tuffieha (Malta) and Rama I-Hamra (Gozo) and to restore the local environmental biodiversity. It grows indigenous and endemic Mediterranean plants in the tree nursery set in Ghajn Tuffieha and it replants them in the managed areas, where it removes alien species from the slopes in accordance with the criteria of Natura 2000 programme. It also maintains and cleans the managed coast in line with the Blue Flag criteria. Furthermore, the organisation is running a self financing project of production and selling of organic olive oil in Ghajn Tuffieha Centre (Malta) and developing a project of sustainable and organic farming of vegetables, olive and fruit trees in Ghajn Tuffieha(Malta) and Vizzini (Ct, Italy) areas. The ACPEH project wants to involve the European youths in The Gaia Foundation's activities, taking 30 participants between 17 and 30 years old coming from the UK, France, Hungary, Spain and Austria. In order to participate in the project it is not requested from the applicants to have any specific competence or background -just a high motivation to learn, to carry out on site activities and to work within a multicultural context. During the selection of candidates, priority will be given to early school leavers and unemployed youths. In the group of participants included also will be people with fewer opportunities (youths with geographical obstacles, educational difficulties and cultural differences). Specific objectives of the project are to increase and to develop the competences and skills of youths involved with regards to: sustainable gardening; propagation of plants and tree planting; coastal management; working methodology of Natura 2000 program; organic and sustainable farming; organization and promotion of public events. The EVS volunteers will help our permanent staff with the implementation of the following activities: 1) Propagation and planting of endemic and indigenous plants; 2) Removal of alien species; 3) Maintenance of the managed sites; 4) Monitoring the protected areas; 5) Organic and sustainable farming; 6) Opening the Ghajn Tuffieha watchtower; 7) Management of school trips and tourist group; and 8) Organization, promotion and implementation of public awareness activities During the running of the activities volunteers will be divided in small working groups, balanced for the age, gender, level of competence and provenance. All the activities will be supervised by a member of the staff that will explain the tasks. The volunteers thus can learn outdoor work by implementing it, but also they will have the chance to propose their own ideas of problem resolving and to create and to realize their own small projects. Participants will work 5 days a week, 6 hours per day, for a total of 30 working hours per week, with a margin of flexibility. Evaluation sessions in team, with the participation of the permanent staff and volunteers, conducted by the use of non formal activities, are considered on going and at the end of the experience. The project aims to increase participants competences and skills in order to make them more competitive in the working market and increase their opportunities for future employment; to create more mature European citizens, aware of environmental protection issues and become more politically active in society. It also aims to have an impact on the environment, with positive repercussions on a local and global level, in the short and long period. It wants to make people aware of protection and care of our environmental systems, and to promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle which is good for the planet and good for people. Furthermore through the ACPEH project, The Gaia Foundation as applicant organization aims to interweave new European partnerships for future projects of youth international mobility, for sharing and exchanging good practices in environmental and youth affairs, sing that youth hold the key to a better future.
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