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Transformers! Project 2015
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Oct 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

“Transformers!” is a two-week long exchange project training experience in which 24 young people from 6 different cities are brought together in one of the network cities. They come from Amsterdam, Paris, Rabat, Istanbul, Cairo and Berlin. The participants are aged between 18 and 23 years old and live in neighborhoods that can be described as deprived. In their daily lives they have to deal with experiences of discrimination and exclusion. Inspired by recent cases of grass-root activism, they will experiment with new forms of political participation and civic engagement to fight problems in their neighbourhood. They will be trained in skills of creative activism and digital communication by young experts. During the two-week training program the participants will discover their own potential to become a community organizer. They will work on their self-esteem and discover their own talents, but also become aware of their shortcomings and the benefits of cooperation with others. Within the framework of the methodology of community organizing, the participants will engage in a variety of activities. In the beginning of the training they will work on their individual competences for leadership and their team building capacities. They will focus on their own background and experiences, and will determine which issues they would like to tackle in their own neighborhood. After this they will present and discuss their personal project plans. In a series of creative and practical workshops they will work on the skills needed to raise awareness for local problems and activate peers to find solutions. These workshops incorporate topics and activities such as internet security, public speech,community organizing, fundraising, civic journalism, story telling, theatre of the oppressed, and spoken word. After the two-week training program all participants will organize an activity in their own neighbourhood, in which they bring the skills that they have trained during the exchange program into practice. These activities will start at the same moment and will be reported on the project website. The Transformers! organizing team will provide participants with support in the process of organizing their activities. This support includes regular feedback, and further coaching in matters such as fundraising, PR, network building. The edition of 2015 will take place in Amsterdam. We plan to organize the edition of 2017 and 2019 in Rabat and Paris. Envisioned objectives - To stimulate young people who do not feel they have access to the democratic process, to raise their voice and make themselves heard. - To stimulate young and ambitious people from deprived neighborhoods to discover their own leadership potential and take on a community organizing role in their community. - To provide young people from a marginalized position with skills of creative activism in order to transform the social problems they are facing, and mobilize others to do the same. -To bring young people with a Northern African immigrant background living in Europe together with peers from Northern African countries, in order to search for their own preferred expressions of civic engagement. - To explore the potential on local level of new forms of political participation of young people as they emerged during recent events of grassroots protest.
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