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DEMOCRACY - YOUTH - POWER: Theory and practice of youth empowerment
Start date: Aug 1, 2016, End date: Mar 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

One of the main goal of the youth work consists of educate young people to play the role of “agents of change” in their local communities by fostering their sense of active citizenship as well as political and democracy education. However, youth workers and youth leaders cannot sometimes succeed in this above all for two reasons. Firstly, they tend to hold (consciously or not) decision-making power in NGOs or youth centres. Secondly, they lack of a comprehensive pedagogic strategy to combine youth empowerment and democracy education, with the goal to make youth people “experience the power”. If youngsters experience, in a secure environment as well as in the frame of a well-conceived educational setting, the challenges and difficulties of the power transfer, from the youth workers to themselves, they can become real “agents of change”.Moving from the described context the training course “DEMOCRACY - YOUTH - POWER: Theory and practice of youth empowerment” has the following objectives:1. to reflect upon the different models of organisational structure within NGOs and youth associations analysing the role of youth workers and youth people in the decision making process;2. to discuss critically about the process of “democratic youth empowerment” within the youth sector and the ways youth workers and youth leaders can make it possible;3. to offer (the) participants theoretical inputs and concrete pedagogical methodologies concerning “democratic youth empowerment” and by doing so, to contribute to the development of a real democratic attitude of youth workers and youth leaders;4. to enable a know-how exchange about democratisation of youth work between the participants;5. to develop follow-up project which take the outcomes of the TC into consideration.The proposed training course will gather 26 youth workers and youth leaders from program and EECA (+Russia) partner countries who want to resolve this “tension” between their own responsibility in NGOs and youth centres and the educational goal to educate young people to act autonomously and responsibly within their own peer-group as well as in the society.The TC activities are based on empowerment as well as political and democracy education exercises which are followed by debriefing sessions and short theoretical contributions of the trainers to sum up the whole session.As a result of the project, participants will have made their active contribution to create the wider pedagogical concept of “democratic youth empowerment” which combines the strengths of empowerment and political and democracy education. Moreover, they will have reflected on the existing room for manoeuvring for a further internal democratisation of their working place as well as gained a more wide self-understanding of their role as youth workers and youth leaders as democratic educator.Both these results will have an impact on the short as well as on the long run since the more frequent the participants make use of the TC learning outcomes, the more their target groups benefit from them.

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