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Youth and Social Media as Agents of Peace
Start date: Aug 1, 2016, End date: Jul 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

On one hand the dynamic development of social networks and media offers new opportunities to include more and more young people in youth NGO activities as well as international voluntary service programmes and youth exchange which may contribute to building a social media community and foster solidarity at global level. On the other hand the increasingly rapid development of new digital communication tools and internet contents poses challenges to organisations and youth workers (many of whom still grew up with less exposure to the digital world). The challenge is to stay authentic when using social media to reach out to or communicate with young people. According to the analysis of a majority of partner organisations of ICJA e.V. there is a big need to improve the training of youth workers in the field Social Media and to develop joint communication strategies. Against this background the project “Youth and Social Media as agents of Peace” was developed to increase the social media competence of 20 youth workers from 11 different EU countries and the neighboring partner country Russian Federation. In accordance with Priority E of the European Union Work Plan for Youth for 2016-2018, a resolution passed by the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council on 23-24 November 2015, the participating youth workers shall be trained to recognize the opportunities and challenges of new communication trends of young people and elaborate new and appealing communication strategies to involve more young people in non formal education and voluntary service programmes, to foster their active citizenship and contribute to unfold their potential and talents in order to maximize the impact of youth work at European level. The training will take place from 01.-05. November 2016 in Berlin. 18 staff and volunteer youth workers of non-profit youth and voluntary service organizations from 10 EU and one neighboring partner country ( Russian Federation) will analyze the variety of functions and best practice in making use of social media and will be trained in three competence areas: 1) Getting to know and applying social media 2) Conditions for successful use of social media and 3) Elaborating and implementing tailor-made social media strategies in the field of international voluntary service, youth exchange and peace and democracy education. At the end of the training the participants will be able to develop efficient communication strategies making use of social media and to implement these within their organisations’ youth activities. They will not only pursue the aim to disseminate their programme offers but will be able to combine these efforts with the aim to cater to the educational and information needs of young people and to foster their active citizenship. They will be able to use networks and communication channels which are appealing for the programme particants and motivate them to engage in voluntary action for societal changes. By connecting the people dealing with communication in the participating organizations and developing joint social media strategies the project will have a longterm impact on the participating youth workers and their capacity to work together to achieve higher visibility of their youth work activities at European level. By elaborating and disseminating a documentation of the elaborated strategies in Online-networks these can be further used and disseminated. Thus the project will contribute to a better quality of youth work at European level.
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