SUPPORTING DEMOCRACY AND INTERCULTURAL EXCHANGE BE..
SUPPORTING DEMOCRACY AND INTERCULTURAL EXCHANGE BETWEEN EUROPE AND ITS NEIGHBORS
Start date: Jan 1, 2015,
End date: Dec 31, 2016
Throughout the last months the German association Open Door International e.V. (ODI), BalkanKids (Bulgaria), Turismo O Pino (Spain), Orfeas (Greek), Foundation Zante (Latvia), Pro Atlȃntico (Portugal) and IYDA (Egypt) were able to build up collaborative partnerships among each other in order to initiate the project entitled “Supporting democracy and intercultural exchange between Europe and its neighbors”.
Inspired by the idea of commonly discovering and learning more about Europe and its neighboring states while at the same time raising democratic awareness, the partners formulated the following overarching key objectives for their intercultural exchange program:
• The promotion of young people whose families face social or financial difficulties as well as the promotion of young people suffering from health-related limitations.
• The promotion of intercultural communication, international friendships and a democratic awareness within Europe and its neighboring states.
• The development of long-term cooperation and friendships between the partners/host countries.
Thus the following two main topics are to pursue:
• An intercultural communication and exchange and the acquisition of intercultural competences at an interpersonal level of everyone involved in the projects.
• To sensitize and to promote a democratic awareness within Europe and its neighbors as well as the promotion of a common European concept.
The European Volunteer Service aims at especially promoting young people with fewer opportunities, meaning young people from financially weak backgrounds or young people who suffer from health-related limitations. The placement of the volunteers will depend on the age, gender and socio-cultural background of each individual. The project phase or main activities will be defined by the interests and the concept of each institution as well as by the competences and capabilities of each volunteer. According to the motto “Promotion of intercultural exchange and democracy”, the activities will be implemented at the following three levels: a) the active participation of volunteers at the assignment location and in the project itself, b) the support from the volunteers at projects initiated by the assignment location (such as events, workshops, meetings, trips), c) projects at the assignment location initiated by the volunteers themselves (such as concrete cultural events).
Within the Youth Exchange, sixteen young people from Germany and Egypt at the age of 18-25 years get the chance to participate in a very intense exchange on a personal and partly technical level. By commonly working on the program “Democracy”, the young people gain a great participatory share during the preparations of the exchange and the exchange itself. They will then use the results of the exchange, for example, in form of workshops during the preparation trainings of the EVS-volunteers.
The responsibilities of each partner as well as the distribution of the tasks are clearly structured.
As the coordinating sending organization in the EVS program, ODI manages a grand part of the planning before the actual project phase. This planning includes the application for permit, the preparation trainings for the volunteers and the theoretical planning of the project in cooperation with the partners. The coordination, the instructions and the implementation of the main activities as well as the supervision of the volunteers during the project phase will be managed by the partner organization in each country of assignment. During the preparations of the Exchange, the partners will commonly develop a concept for the actual Youth Exchange. Each coordinator will then take on the local administrative and logistic organization in his country.
Both the promoted young people and any other person involved directly or indirectly in the project are meant to experience an exchange between different nations within the scope of the main activities and their everyday life. At the same time, they are expected to learn and understand more about Europe, its cultures and mentalities. With the help of the intercultural exchange, participants will create new (international) friendships, break down prejudices and improve the tolerance towards the strange and different. The activities are supposed to create a European awareness, including common democratic values among all participants. Furthermore, the participants will acquire intercultural, social and communicative competences. In the long run, the promoted young people will gain a strong European consciousness and, therefore, will act as ambassadors of Europe and the EU in the world.
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