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Open Up! Connecting youth to society learning circle 2
Start date: Jan 1, 2016, End date: Feb 28, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The “Opening Up”, connecting youth to society learning circle is a follow up of the learning circle ‘Connecting youth to society’. With this project 'Open up!' we want to continue working on the topic of ‘being included in society’, but with a stronger focus on identifying and overcoming hidden discrimination, fear and pain through debate education and other informal innovative ways of learning and participating. We focus our analysis on specific solutions that can be implemented in various countries to overcome this pressing issue and we can do that by creating and educating a pool of qualified coaches and trainers in select cities across Europe that will lead the long-term process. We also want to develop ties with well-established and influential networks that can amplify the voice of the youth. The 24 participants in the learning circle, two coming from each partner. is a mix of participants who all bring in skills, experience and innovative ideas, old learning circle participants and new ones. We want to include young role models with fewer oportunities who managed to become potential junior trainers or debate volunteers. Those participants will train 84 young people with fewer opportunities that are growing up in marginalized neighbourhoods in 10 European cities. There are three key phases: first a learning circle for the youth workers/volunteers on analysing the subject and sharing innovative ways to open up young people and their community through debates on those topics. Those skills will result in a series of local trainings to debates on (hidden) discrimination by young people. The second phase is a learning circle focused on improved campaigning and advocacy skills of the network in which youth workers learn to collect and aggregate motions, ideas and stories of young people and to campaign for a joint statement. This campaign is implemented together with youth locally and internationally. It results into a vibrant European conference about social inclusion for all (third phase), where 50 young people from the grass root debate with EU representatives, artists, intellectuals about their perspective on what Opening UP in Europe means to achieve sincere social inclusion. Methodology: Considering most of the knowledge and information is already with participants as they have a first hand experience of the issue in question, we use action learning approach, where participants exchange information, experience and knowledge and learn from one another. We also focus on many innovative ways of learning both for the youth workers as well as to be applied for the youth. Results: We have further built on a network of 'local heroes' that are grassroots leaders in social change in communities across Europe. These local heroes are enabled to 'open up' the society by fostering debates and dialogue about discrimination (of youth) . This results in youth driven local and international policy debates with clear motions that deliver action oriented agenda setting to achieve social inclusion for all.84 young people with fewer opportunities developed their debating and listening skills and ability to analyse their rights and problems, to debate about problems in relation to discrimination. Self-esteem and understanding of how to complain about violations of their rights is increased. They have grown in their intercultural communication skills as well in their self esteem to act as active citizens in Europe.Thirdly, responses of young people with fewer opportunities about discrimination will be heard and seen in societal and political discussions at the local, national level and at the international level in Europe. Lastly, A learning network that works together and coaches internal partners to connect disadvantaged youth to society and to foster debates and advocacy against discrimination to achieve social inclusion for all. Products will be two learning circles with additional cutting edge material on content, local debates/dialogue between youth, police/authorities and local government, action points for change in 12 communities across Europe and from this 12 policy briefs that are consequently aggregated to 1 European policy brief. Additionally, 1 high level debate at the European level with participation of young people involved and social media campaign will be developed to support branding and advocacy of this network with various stories and motions, debatabase. We expect multiplication effects. Trainers that we trained, transfered skills to other young people and within their organisation participating representatives of organisations transfer their skills and ideas within their own organisation, and affiliated networks are inspired to exchange ideas and practices, such as networks of police, youth care, policy makers Now they build resilient cities where social inclusion for all is achieved due to the participation of relevant stakeholders with youth as equal stakeholders.

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