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Conflict Management Tools for Youth Workers
Start date: Aug 1, 2016, End date: Dec 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

On an everyday basis, youth workers are dealing with conflicts. They are in touch with youngsters, sponsors and authorities. They ‘move’ in different local cultures, effectively as a mediator between different interests. It makes their work most valuable, as they are usually also working with vulnerable groups. On a daily basis they deal with many visions, which do not always go hand in hand with each other. For a youth worker it is essential to manage these interests, with respect to all parties.The political crises in Europe and bordering countries (such as recent conflicts in Syria, Gaza, Egypt and Ukraine), add another dimension to youth work. The crises ‘abroad’ also have a strong impact on the youth in our countries, where many minorities from those countries live. For example during the war in Gaza (2014) mostly Arab youth went to the streets to protest, sometimes leading to hate speech. And most recently some highly educated youngsters are going to Syria to fight. Youth workers hear the voice of youth first hand, and should play a calm, yet assertive role to transform possible violent inclinations: engaging in dialogues, looking for common ground and transforming communication processes. Last but not least: youth among themselves need guidance in conflicts, nowadays being under extra pressure because of the financial crisis.Conflict Management tools are needed for youth workers, to deal with different interests in their work, with the reflection of international crises on youth and the society, and with conflicts young people experience. Many youth workers are making use of conflict transformation skills in these situations already, but without proper training. They gained these skills ‘along the way’, but given the impact, it would be most necessary to take a close look at this aspect of their work and to gain insights from professionals on Conflict Management.Aim: To develop competences (skills, knowledge and attitudes) of youth workers in the field of Conflict Management and to disseminate the results of the training course in a concise introductory guide on Conflict Management for youth workers.Objectives: To explore the situations in which youth workers face conflicts To understand the causes of conflicts youngsters are dealing with and how it reflects youth work To introduce different Conflict Management tools (conflict mapping, co-operation solutions, non-violent communication, negotiation and mediation) To experience different activities for conflict management in youth work from different perspectives, both as a facilitator and as a participant To discuss the best practices of conflict management in youth work To find out the limits of conflict management in youth work To produce and promote an attractive introductory guide on conflict management for youth workers
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