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Images to reflect, activate and transform.
Start date: 01 May 2015, End date: 01 Jan 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

“Image to reflect, activate and transform.” From the 1st till the 11th of August 2015, 23 youth workers from the Russian Federation (Chechnya), Belgium, The Netherlands and Israel (including Palestine), went on an intercultural training in Jerusalem in Israel. The partner organizations have been working in collaboration since 2006. Each one’s work is adjusted to their local reality and adapted to the goals, themes and educational approach that are most relevant to their societies. The areas of focus in which they overlap are found in the fields of youth work in multicultural settings: dealing with identity issues, (collective) conflicts, oppression, non-violent conflict resolution and activism through creative expressions. The training used images to analyze, reflect and hold a critical dialogue on different injustices and forms of (structural) violence. These images were mainly photographic and video. The same images were used to learn how to organize creative actions and campaigns to tackle and transform the issues in the different societies of the partner organizations. The trainers were two members of the ‘Activestills Collective’ who taught the participants how photography can be a vehicle for social and political change. This program targeted youth workers in multicultural societies, who face challenges working through complex social-political situations marked by different degrees of violence, racism, inequalities and conflicts. Some of the educational work these practitioners implement targets disadvantaged youth, and raises further challenges of engaging these youth in peace building efforts. The overall and achieved goals: 1. The participants trained in an international framework to work with artistic and creative methodologies. This enlarged their capacities as youth workers and group facilitators to work with and through conflicts in their own local contexts. 2. The capacities of the organizations grew through strengthening their youth workers’ abilities. 3. Strengthen the network of youth leaders that work in local and specific contexts through mutual learning, by reflecting together on their work and by exchanging practical experiences in the framework of the training. Specific achieved objectives: (a) The participants from each of the respective countries met fellow youth leaders and shared their personal stories, got to know each other’s cultures and societies and the main socio-political context and issues linked to the work of each of the organizations. They learnt to see their local issues in a wider international context and learnt to identify and take a stand on issues that aren't solely related to their own local context. (b) The participants were trained to use photography and video to work on issues prevalent in their societies such as racism, oppression, stigmatization, collective and personal identity and working in a multicultural environment. (c) Through an experiential learning process done in an international context the participants gained new tools, skills and methodologies that they will later adapt to their youth work in their home countries. The impact and long term benefits: a) Participants became better youth group leaders, with more skills to practice youth work in their local settings. Additionally they learnt to reflect on learning outcomes in the Youthpass-process. Through the Youthpass the project ensured recognition of the learning outcomes of this non-formal education process. b) Participants went through a personal development by encountering new methods and by working together in an intercultural setting. c) Participants awareness and understanding of other cultures and countries rose, and more specifically their societal challenges in regards to conflicts of injustices. Through the interconnection and the intercultural experience their internationalised/European identity was strengthened. d) The organizations strengthened their cadre of practitioners, increased their quality of youth work and had the opportunity to innovate in their working methods. e) The participants adapted and implemented the learning outcomes to the local contexts of the partner organizations and trained other youth workers in the organisations. f) Target groups of each of the respective organizations enjoyed better facilitation and were exposed to other approaches and methodologies, which will in return empower them. Due to political reasons, two Chechen participants, main figures in the organisation, couldn't join although they were signed up for the training. A Force Majeure is brought in.
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