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Professional Action and Practice for Youth Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Start date: Jan 1, 2017, End date: Dec 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The 'refugee crisis' has brought public, policy maker and media attention the dire situation of displaced people from war-torn and unstable countries, such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Central African Republic. Over half of the world’s displaced people are children (up to age 18) and if we include people up to age 30, this proportion rises to over three quarters (UNHCR 2014). Youth workers are in a prime position to lead support work with young refugees and asylum seekers and, indeed, many already do around Europe. However, excellence in practice with refugees and asylum seeker youth not consolidated in an accessible, innovative form that enables the widest possible engagement from youth workers from diverse sectors. To raise the standards of youth work around working with these vulnerable young people is vital. The objectives of PAPYRUS, a two-year project, will fill this gap through a transnational strategic partnership; PAPYRUS stands for Professional Action and Practice for Youth Refugees and Asylum Seekers. The 5 country Project Consortium is comprised of EU-based NGO and HEI partners (CESIE an NGO from Italy; Kopin, an NGO from Malta; the University of Applied Science, Finland and Manchester Metropolitan University, UK), along with an NGO from a third country partner, the Western Balkans Institute from Serbia, who bring added value to the team. We will harness the combined expertise and youth networks in our strategic partnership, to create innovative online training and knowledge sharing tools, hold innovative face to face and virtual training and generate peer-to-peer networks, to enable the maximum number of youth workers (from all sectors in Europe) to share and learn about working with refugees. The European Commission 'Quality Youth Work' Report (2014) that states that the EU youth labour force requires up-skilling to deal with the challenges of youth work under austerity, in times of rapid social change and in relation to new cultural challenges. But youth work is diverse & provided in various ways across the EU, from the part time, informally trained youth worker operating from a small faith organisation to the university-educated youth worker, employed full time by a large urban municipality. This diversity of youth practice is central to PAPYRUS's objectives that focus on creating innovative and accessible ways for all youth workers to share knowledge, build expertise and develop practice. Our NGO/HEI consortium will produce online interactive resources and learning opportunities for all youth workers who support refugee youth or are interested t. The project uses innovative virtual methods to ensure high & broad engagement with the project & the production of quality open learning materials, partner training sessions, webinars, blogs & forums, will create numerous engagement and dissemination points with wider stakeholders. Organisations that work with youth will be another main target group of PAPYRUS, who will also be able to use the outputs and engage with our activities, through the online features, and webinars. In all of these countries, and others, there is best practice to share and PAPYRUS consolidates refugee youth practice in one accessible online resource. It will create web training tools and resources, disseminate knowledge in innovative ways & facilitate sharing of knowledge, training & networks to enable the maximum number of youth workers to share, contribute and learn skills for working with young refugees. A key aim of the project is to have a high impact on innovative practice in youth work and pan-European enhancement of youth worker skills with youth refugee and asylum seekers. Linking further with other projects and aims of the EU, the PAPYRUS Consortium will ensure dissemination of knowledge about youth work with refugees and asylum seekers in target groups, wider beneficiaries and EU policies, in areas such as education and skills, social inclusion and employment. Multiplication of impact will be facilitated via promotion of the open learning resources and trainings, live-streaming of face to face training, encouragement of wider stakeholders to utilise open access web PAPYRUS will also create a methodology model for co-production of open resources around youth work best practice in Europe, which will provide a framework for future projects in this area. The impact of the project will be high because PAPYRUS is able to reach out to a variety of youth worker groups and individuals, operating in different sectors and working in different ways, to build confidence and skills in working with youth refugees and asylum seekers. Other stakeholders include NGO's who work with youth, policy makers at all levels in the EU, humanitarian and aid workers and organisations and all professionals who might have contact with youth refugees. PAPYRUS will provide an excellent learning and networking resource that is planned to be sustainable into the future.

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