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Rural youth for community volunteering as alternative to unemployment and social exclusion.
Start date: Feb 16, 2015, End date: Dec 15, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The unemployment situation of young people in Europe is getting more serious, the percentage of unemployed youth especially coming from deprived rural areas is rising. As a result we have an increasing number of young people with a sense of exclusion, disbelief in democratic institutions, apathy and disenfranchisement. And those with the fewest skills or the fewest opportunities are most at risk. The further social exclusion of youth from deprived rural areas seems inevitable and there is a feeling that the formal education system doesn't always prepare youngsters for their future career. Some measures are being implemented, yet other ways to support young people need to be found. That’s what we as partner youth organisations have common concern with and have tried to influence with this multi leg Mobility project, which also goes in line with the EU Youth Strategy tackling the fields of social inclusion, education; training, employment & entrepreneurship. We used a peer to peer approach as a way of encouraging the active participation of young people, particularly those coming from deprived rural areas in the life of their local, regional or national community and at international level on the issues of employment by setting examples of good practice, direct participation in policy drafting, sharing experiences from different countries and networking for a common result. The main objectives of the multi leg Mobility project were: - facilitation of the inter- sectorial (NGOs, private businesses) networking process among participants and partner organisations; - understanding the wider picture of “youth employability” and the potential of Erasmus+ programme and to motivate young activists to become project multipliers; - exchanging principles and possible ways of youth participation and youth empowerment in a non formal way to support grass-root initiatives and volunteering among young people from deprived rural areas and having economic and employment problems; - creating space for exchanging local project experiences and to explore the skills and competences gained during the realisation of the projects; - introducing to the participants an array of new methods to create replicable presentations that will promote the values and concept of active citizenship through grass-root initiatives as an alternative to unemployment and social exclusion. Participants involved: - For the A1 Activity (Contact making event in the UK): 32 youth peer leaders and representatives of the participating organisations from UK, Latvia, Bulgaria and Turkey presented profiles and experience of the participating organisations they represent and to share views on the topic of this Mobility project; - For the A2 Activity (Youth exchange in Latvia): 64 young people, having voluntary youth work experience, coming from deprived rural areas and involved in the work of represented partner organisations; - For the A3 Activity (Training course for Peer Educators and Multipliers in Bulgaria): 40 youth peer educators motivated to act as Multipliers of the projects achievements. The working methods that were used included: researches, interactive presentations, peer education techniques, simulation exercises, role play games and exercises on Inclusion techniques; workshops on Project management, best practice on Employability and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people coming from deprived rural areas, Erasmus+ Programme potential to motivate young activists to become project multipliers; inspiration visits and meetings with invited experts (employment and/or youth sector), youth workers and researchers of different levels including European. The local rural communities involved with the key activities of the Mobility project experienced a greater sense of understanding and cohesion through the volunteering projects and campaigns that the participants produced. As a result of the Mobility project we have a European group of young motivated peer leaders and trained peer educators with the necessary skills and competences to promote active citizenship, grass-root initiatives and volunteering to approach youth disenfranchisement and facilitate employment motivation of peers coming from deprived rural areas. We anticipate that we will be able to further spread our findings and knowledge to other youth organisations active with the issues of promoting social inclusion and supporting employment opportunities of young people from deprived rural areas. All participants have worked towards accreditation with a Youthpass certificate.

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