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Training-seminar “WE: West-East cooperation”
Start date: Feb 1, 2016, End date: Jul 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The idea of the training-seminar “WE: When West and East meet” was born during discussions between youth workers representing NGOs from international networks as Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organizations (Alliance) and Service Civil International (SCI) that develop international voluntary service projects. Every year these organisations run over 10000 international youth non-formal education projects such as volunteer camps, youth exchanges, EVS, training activities, etc. Many exchanges are run between Program countries and Partner Countries Neighboring EU. Evaluation among youth workers from both groups of countries showed that the cooperation became more difficult in present time for a number of reasons. The most relevant of them is current political situation: tensions between Russia, Ukraine and EU countries. The current political situation and tendency of political and economical isolation of Russia influences on social and cultural exchanges between European and Russian youth. Over last decades a huge amount of work on development of mutual understanding, breaking stereotypes and eliminating the effects of Cold War was done by European and Russian NGOs with support of EU Commission, NAs, YFJ and other actors. In current political situation this work and possible future cooperation is under risk. And this activity was an intent to increase and strengthen partnership cooperation between youth organizations from Program and Eastern Partnership Countries (EPC) in the field of international non-formal educational youth projects. The main objectives of the training-seminar were: - to share the best practices of cooperation between youth organizations from Program and EPC; - to improve the level of key competences and skills of youth workers in terms of cooperation between Program and EPC and so to foster quality of youth projects in this field; - increase number of youth mobility projects including young people with fewer opportunities through new partnership projects between youth organizations from Program and EPC; - to promote intercultural dialogue and solidarity among youth organizations, leaders and participants of youth programs from both Program and EPC; - to initiate new Mobility and Capacity Building projects in the youth field under Key Action 1 and Key Action 2 of Erasmus+. The training-seminar took place in in Nizhniy Novgorod (Russia) between 12-18 of May and gathered 25 participants from Programme countries: Estonia, France, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Belgium, Greece and from Partner countries Neighboring the EU: Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, Belarus. All participants were youth workers and youth leaders from youth NGOs which are motivated to develop cooperation between Programme and Eastern Partnership countries implementing youth projects. During the 6-days activity participants were working on following topics: - intercultural dialog and youth work, - cultural stereotypes in international youth work, - challenges in building cooperation between youth organizations from Programme and Partner Countries, - common problems and priorities in the international youth work, - Best practices in cooperation between Programme and Parnter countries in the international youth field. - How to build successful partnership projects: important features and practicalities for both groups of countries. - Erasmus + programme for future cooperation. The used methods were based on the concept of non-formal education and peer learning: trainers actively involved participants to the discussions, sharing experiences and created secure place for their communication and opportunity to learn from each other. Participants were working with “real-life” cases and experiences, had a chance to reflect on existing situation in cooperation between youth NGOs from Programme and Partner Countries and to propose their projects to strengthen it. During the activity participants raised awareness about current situation in youth policy in Programme and Partner countries and as a result developed five project ideas of problem orientated projects in the international youth field that will be presented for the next October deadline.
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