Deutschsprachige Agora: Innovation, Vernetzung und Engagement durch Youth Empowerment
Start date: Oct 1, 2015,
End date: Jul 31, 2016
The germanspeaking Agora („Deutschsprachige Agora“) is a youth initiave aiming for youth empowerment, sustainable youth involvement within the german-speaking scout and guide associations as well as young person’s broad engagement within society and communities. The community of the so called “german-speaking scout and guide associations” consists not only of the organizations from originary german-speaking countries, but also from associations who have members from german-speaking minorities.
The initiative adresses youth and young adults in the age range of 16 to 25, who, as an active part of the last age section of their association’s programme, want to participate in creating a better world. Providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills and motivation, up to fourty participants will be empowered to actively engage in meeting challenges both within and outside their organizations. Building up on the internationally recognized scout method (http://scout.org/method), the educational tool of „Agora“ (http://rovernet.eu/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ForRoversByRovers_GuidelinesForRunningASucessfulAgora-copy.pdf) provides a methodical framework for projects initiated and ran by youths, for youths. This means, that all members of the organizing team are within the target group of the initiative and are responsible for organization and content of the initiative, including this application.
The germanspeaking Agora extends the notion of a single event on a long-term process, providing both an intensive preparation and a follow-up phase. Due to the networking activities on social media in advance and by using modern educational methods like webinars, participants get introduced to the initiative’s topics in a structured, animating and participatory way well early on. The main „Forum“ brings together all the participants in an event of intercultural dialogue, fostering transnational partnerships as well as an understanding of democracy and european identity.
Using various non-formal learning methods (e.g. open space technique, break out sessions, world cafés, workshops, simulation games) young people engage in the field of youth empowerment, involvement and active citizenship. They articulate and develope their own perspectives and strategies on the role, function and participation opportunities within their association’s age section and local communities. A major focus of the programm lies on the ideas of employabilty and skills for life, i.e. the valorization of generic skills gained during scouting activities and their application in a professional context. External speakers and facilitators act as ambassadors for their ideas providing inspiration, experience and expertise. Using the project method and a learning by doing approach participants get familiar with the potential of social innovation (e.g. through social entrepreneurship) and bring it into action during their individual project processes.
The participants will be enabled to put the skills they acquired from the “Forum” and its preparations and the therefrom newly generated ideas into practice, as they will run individual projects on a local level. Thereby they contribute to the sustainable development of their communities and scouting and guiding associations. By running self-chosen and self-directed projects, young people give individual answers on social challenges like youth unemployment, flows of refugees and exploitation of natural resources, or they actively participate in shaping their scouting and guiding associations. The participants receive active support on developing and running their projects by the organizing team, which therefore mentors the participants in small groups. Online-meetings within these so-called learning groups are held for that purpose, both to exchange the progress of the projects and to guarantee a suitable assistance.
The comprehensive documentation of the initiative, a manual on methods, as well as the creation of toolboxes, which contain both the collection of contents and reports about the local projects of the participants, ensure the further use of the outputs of the initiative and provides input for possible repetitions of the germanspeaking Agora in the future. The implementation of possibilities for participation within the scouting and guiding associations, the improvement of the programme activities of the last age section “Ranger/Rover” and inputs on a local or regional level serve as a basis to start from for further, independent developments and projects.
The participants also act as multipliers as they disseminate the ideas of the Agora in a widespread network of engaged scouts and guides. Smaller Transnational learning groups foster the exchange (e.g. of experiences, views and traditions) between the participating countries and therefore enable strategic partnerships for the long-term development of European youth perspectives.
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