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Social, Multicultural and Inclusive Life in Europe
Start date: Jul 1, 2015, End date: Sep 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

LDA is an agency working on the development of local democracy since 1996. It is conveniently located in the multicultural region of Istira, where many nationalities, languages and cultures live and work together. Croatia is a new member country of the European Union, and, as such it still needs improvement in certain areas, especially the civil sector. Therefore, by introducing a group of international volunteers LDA is increasing the awareness of the local population about European values and issues, while at the same time strengthening the intercultural capacity of the volunteers themselves. The objectives of the project S.M.I.L.E. (Social, Multicultural and Inclusive Life in Europe) are linked to those of the Erasmus+ programme, and the specific action (EVS). Therefore, the project aims at increasing the professional competences of the volunteers, thus increasing their employability; promote cultural diversity and increase intercultural communication; increase the foreign language competences of the volunteers; promote EVS and Erasmus+ programms to the local Croatian youth and raise awareness of the European values and European citizenship among the local population. The service will take place in Brtonigla and Buje, from September 2015 until July 2016. Four volunteers from Macedonia, France, Italy and Montenegro will take part in this project. The countries have been selected on purpose, to include young people from both European Member states and Candidate Countries. LDA places importance on gender balance, therefore two female and two male volunteers will be selected. The volunteers are not expected to have previous similar experience, but it is important that they are motivated and interested in the project activities, and be between the age of 18 and 30. The activities will take place in Brtonigla, Buje, Umag, and other local Istrian municipalities. The volunteers will be able to choose their activities, based on their interests and needs. They will be able to work in the LDA office and assist in the project preparation and organization, do general administrative work, prepare and organize activities for the promotion of Erasmus + programs and EVS. They will also have the opportunity to cooperate with local bodies and institutions such as the Municipality in Buje, the Italian and Croatian Elementary schools, High Schools, The Italian Communities in Buje, Brtonigla or Umag etc and organize events for the promotion of EVS and Erasmus+ programs. The activities will take place during the week, not more than six hours per day. The methodology used will be a mixture of informal and formal learning. By taking part in the activities in the LDA office, the volunteers will learn how to write project proposals and how to implement them. They will also have formal language training (Croatian and Italian) twice a week. However, by communicating with the local population they will be able to learn the language in a spontaneous, informal way. Another informal way of gaining competences will be their immersion in the activities, some of which they have no previous experience in, therefore learning about their own personal capabilities and limitations. By the end of the project the volunteers will have gained new language and professional skills, increased their intercultural knowledge, created international contacts and networks etc. This project is also targeted at the local Istrian youth as well as the general public, and it is expected that by its completion it will contribute greatly to the spreading of the awareness on European issues, programs and opportunities. It is also expected to develop the local capacities, develop international cooperation, thus assisting in the development at a local, national and international level.
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