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Participation for Inclusion
Start date: May 1, 2016, End date: Oct 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In recent years the number of educational projects addressed to European youth has increased significantly, giving young people an unprecedented opportunity to develop in different fields. Every year there are hundreds of youth projects dedicated to a huge variety of issues, such as intercultural learning, antidiscrimination, arts and culture, healthy lifestyle, employability and many other. Regardless the scope and the topic of the activity, every organizer of a youth project at some point has to face a question of how to increase the active involvement of participants. The vast majority of the projects is based on the principles of non-formal education that assumes active participation of the youngsters involved. Nevertheless, there is always a risk of choosing the "easier way" and conducting the activities in a way that the knowledge flows only from trainers to participants. The other potential problem is that many organizers have been using the same tool kits for increasing participation for years without exploring new methods that could be potentially more effective for their target groups. To address the above mentioned needs, we created a project that is to gather youth workers who are interested in discovering new ways of making their projects not only more participants-oriented but also more participant-driven. We aim at finding practical methods of increasing active youth participation not only during the activity itself but also during the preparatory and follow-up stages so that the overall impact of the project is more long lasting and sustainable. The main needs addressed by this projects are mostly focused on the need for exploring new ways of increasing participation in various youth activities, as many of youth workers struggle with this issue during their projects. The core of the problem is the very understanding (or in some cases misunderstanding) of the concept of participation. Many young people taking part projects do not see or appreciate the benefits of playing active role and being involved in the activities. The problem also exists among the youth workers, who themselves are not really motivated to encourage their participants to be more active, preferring to take a more effortless approach and to organize less interactive activities. This stems from a still very wide spread way of thinking about education that promotes formal and structured methods of teaching and learning and puts the emphasis on transmitting the knowledge (seen from a point of view of a teacher or an educator) instead of gaining the knowledge (seen from a point of view of a learner). As the above described situation is especially visible in the countries of the former Soviet block where teachers and educators do not have many opportunities to gain inspiration on new methods and tools, half of the partner organizations from the proposed projects are from the countries of Eastern Partnership. By bringing 28 experienced youth workers and young leaders from 11 countries (both Program and Eastern Partnership) we aim at providing them a proper space for exchanging ideas and developing new, common understanding of the concept of participation. The objectives of the proposed training courses are as follows:- Exploring practical tools and methods for increasing active participation of young people on all the stages of the project (preparation, implementation, follow-up) - Equipping participants with methods of mapping the needs of their target groups and communities and therefore increasing their ability to design and implement projects corresponding with their beneficiaries' expectations- Reflecting on participation as a way of working towards exclusion youth at risk - Exploring possibilities of using participatory approach for advocating issues important for youth - Establishing a network of like-minded organizations and individuals, who are interested in the further cooperation on the topic of the training course This training course is designed in a way to combine theoretical and practical aspects of the topic, giving participants a chance to increase both their knowledge and practical skills connected to promoting participation.

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