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EVS-Peacebuilding through knowledge of war
Start date: Aug 1, 2015, End date: Sep 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

We at Narviksenteret value our participation in the EVS programme as we believe its potential learning outcomes connect nicely with our vision as an organisation, namely to contribute to peacebuilding through knowledge of war and the many aspects and contexts of conflict. Being the North Norwegian component of Norway’s network of institutions to commemorate WWII in Norway, and with our main target group being the younger generations, we consider our place as an active Erasmus + participant to be central. The aspect of tolerance- and solidarity-building of international youth exchanges, as well as its quality of challenging prejudice, knits in very well with our overarching vision. The main objective of this project has been to promote interaction across national borders, in order to promote heightened tolerance, solidarity and cultural understanding among our volunteers and the people they interact with. An objective we feel we have achieved through the many activities the volunteers have been involved in for us, and for other stakeholders in our local community. In this project we have hosted 5 EVS volunteers for up to 9 months. Our volunteers came from France, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia and Slovakia. We have kept encouraging them to immerse themselves into our local, regional and national context. We have also, as a group, tried to see how it connects to the international, which we think has contributed significantly to the participants' own learning, at least along several of the key competencies of lifelong learning. This has al been achieved partly by the participants' close work alongside various instances of the local community, such as municipality administrators, school classes, museums, teenagers and other young people in their free time, local associations based on volunteerism, tourists, and other people we to whom Narviksenteret has a natural link. The volunteers have got to know, through concrete activities, personal exploration, or other, WWII history, rules of war, local traditions, Norwegian politics, Christmas traditions, and more. This knowledge and experience has helped prime the ground for the volunteers' integration into the local community, helped them make friends with local young people, and, not least, informed their path during as well as after their project. The methods of learning has, for whole duration of the project, been true to the values and principles of non-formal education. The volunteers have been encouraged to, and given time to, prepare their own concrete non-formal activities to provide learning for the local community, either in schools, Narvik's available youth house, or other spheres. Throughout the project, the volunteers have also attempted to produce various kinds of output to different types of activities. This includes blog posts, short films, workshops, photo montages, presentations, and more. Through this long-term youth mobility project, we have helped set the stage for lasting and very direct friendships. But our project also encouraged individual and group reflection about concrete topics of culture and society. The main impact of the project on the participants finds its form in the learning outcomes they have experienced during this project. We believe the project to have had an effect, as such. We have also seen that this time spent in Narvik has provided time for a few of the volunteers to figure out the next step in their lives. For some the EVS project has consolidated their wishes for what they want to do later on, whereas for others it has provided a chance to alter their path, and kind of start over. We felt that the volunteers left our project with a more mature view on their path ahead. Apart from the effect on the participants themselves, there is a number of local actors that have benefitted significantly from this project. All of the associations that have had volunteers participating in their activities have benefitted from the assistance offered by our volunteers. What's more, the impact on local young people who have crossed paths with our volunteers somehow, is also tangible. There has been a core group that has turned up for our volunteers' events in the youth house, and have also interacted with them on a purely social level. These local young people have had their eye-opening moments by learning about foreign cultures, practiced their language skills a bit, gained new perspectives on how to do things, and discovered places through the stories told by the volunteers. A snowball effect in terms of learning, we would argue.

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