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Rediscovering cultures - promoting local heritage for rural community development
Start date: Oct 17, 2015, End date: May 16, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project was address to youth workers and youth leaders working with young people living in disadvantaged rural communities, who face difficult challenges in their daily lives. They often suffer from limited or lacking access to educational opportunities that results in their lower chances on labor markets. Low level of young people's involvement in the community development is commonly seen as a result of the above mentioned obstacles, but can be also perceived as a possible solution to those problems. By committing to work for the benefit of their local environment young people have a chance to become more active, gain knew knowledge and develop social skills that are essential both in their professional as well personal lives. The carried out project was designed to seek new ways of increasing youth participation in rural areas by encouraging young people to rediscover the cultural heritage of their communities. As the potential of local traditions, customs, cuisine, arts and crafts often remains underestimated by both young people and youth workers, the seminar aimed at sharing and creating tools for making this heritage more attractive to youngsters and therefore encourage them to get more involved in the life of their local communities. The specific objectives of the project were as follows: - discovering new methods and tools for ensuring active participation of young people coming from excluded rural areas - raising awareness concerning promotion of cultural heritage and the way it can be used for the local community development - building a better understanding of the chances and challenges concerning situation of youth in rural areas - providing participants with an opportunity to share best practices concerning enhancing youth participation in excluded areas - establishing a network of like-minded organizations who are interested in the further exchange on the topic of rural communities and culture All the above mentioned aims were accomplished during the 8 days seminar which was held in Haghpat, Armenia. The activity was designed to gather 28 youth workers and youth leaders from 10 different countries (5 from Program countries and 5 from Eastern Partnership). All of them had previous experience concerning projects aiming at enhancing youth participation in excluded areas and were ready to share their experience with each other. During the seminar they had a chance to participate in a series of exercises and discussions with members of the local community of Haghpat, which gave them an opportunity to extend their knowledge concerning different cultures and traditions as well as the way they can be used in youth work. All the activities during the project were solely based on the ideals of non-formal education, to ensure the best possible learning outcomes and active involvement of every participant. The whole project contributed to a better understanding of using local culture as a way of enhancing young people's participation, especially in rural areas.

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