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Gender approved!
Start date: Jul 7, 2015, End date: Mar 6, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The training course “Gender approved” took place in Riga, Latvia 28.11-6.12.2015 and gathered 22 representatives from Latvia, Belgium, Denmark, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco. The project idea appeared during an open space activity within the International Forum for trainers and multipliers active in the EuroMed field, “Developing Ourselves Continuously: Together Each Achieves More” in October 2014 in Venice. By sharing the issues we deal with, topics we like to work on in EuroMed context, and expressing a willingness to develop future projects based on real needs, based on topics we really care about and for which we are ready to deeply commit, we agreed on working on gender issues and sexuality. Many forms of discrimination and violence related to gender and sexuality still prevail in our societies in Europe as well as Mediterranean Neighboring countries. We had observed that in most cases young people and people who work with youngsters lack the awareness about gender- and sexuality-based violence and do not know how its’ mechanisms work. We organized this training course in order to develop the competencies of people working with youth (youth leaders, peer-to-peer educators, youth workers) to act as advocates of greater gender equality at their communities by using non-formal learning approach and tools. Training course had 22 participants, and we made effort to ensure as gender balanced group as possible in the selection process, and we did have a good balance with having 12 female and 10 male participants, and some of the participants from Belgium and Latvia were openly identifying as being LGBT, we can not be sure about the real number of LGBT participants as not everyone feels comfortable being open about their sexual orientation and gender identity, especially the participants from MEDA region where people with those identities are even more marginalized than in EU. Participation in the training course has given the participants increased knowledge, changed attitudes, developed skills and awareness of innovative NFL tools, the training course has empowered the partner organizations and participants from EU and MEDA countries to be able to involve young people in being change-makers of societies we live in – making sure that we support common European values. This is in line with general objectives of E+ programme. In a long-term perspective we believe that this project has provided the knowledge for the young people from our communities to become more gender-aware and sensitive to be able to detect situations and contexts where gender-based discrimination and violence occur and to take action to promote gender equality both locally, nationally as well as in international contexts. The Methodology that was used in this training course is based on non-formal learning and applied Experiential Learning approach to achieve its’ objectives. It required active involvement of participants at all stages of the project, especially during the training course itself. To be able to understand better the power of non-formal learning, it is highly crucial to experience it – to be part of the group and in the role of learners, so we made sure it was an active training with lots of practical learning. The training has contributed to personal and professional development of the participants. The participants have gotten more gender-aware and sensitive both about the issues in their own countries and in other regains and have become more able to recognize gender-based discrimination and take action to promote gender equality in their work. They were introduced to new concepts, developed skills and learned non-formal learning tools that they can use when talking and working with youngsters around gender-based discrimination and violence. As a result for this training a handbook has been created which includes the most crucial theoretical inputs on the topic of gender inequality, ways of oppression, information about the gender issues in our 6 countries and also NFL tools that can be used for promoting gender equality at the local level. The handbook is suitable for active use not only by our participants, but also promoted among partner organizations working in the youth field in our countries. It is published in SALTO Toolbox, so, the results from our training can be used also in other youth-work contexts. It has been written in a simple language and designed in a youth-friendly way. It also includes a lot of visual material – pictures of our activities.
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