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Youths Cultivating a Culture of Knowledge
Start date: May 1, 2016, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Youths Cultivating a Culture of KnowledgeEvery summer for the past 20 years, a diverse cross-section of civil society come together to celebrate our most important calendar event: the annual GEN-Europe conference. Ecologists, academics, eco-villagers, permaculturists, bio-farmers, social currency activists and other interested parties will convene this year in July in Artieda in northern Spain. There, they will reflect on the network’s achievements, connect with others and share know-how, ideas and experiences. These gatherings, like any other where people with a shared vision meet, serve to strengthen participants’ capacity to confront the challenges that face them and in doing so, synergistically strengthen the network as a whole. But when experiences and learnings are shared keenly, they often get lost in the myriad of exchanges and the temporality that characterise these meetings, and fail to make their way from the minds of people to the organisational and collective knowledge that they represent, to the good practices that they can become.It is the fundamental aim of this project to capture this knowledge and to create the facilities to harvest good adoptable practices for our network and its members. Several activities are to be undertaken in order to achieve this objective:A1. Prepare and plan the conference A2. Record, classify and write-up the conference narrative A3. Participate in initiatives in the areas of Ecology, Networking and Community that stem from the conferenceA4. Document and transform one good practice into a transferable technologyEmbarking on such a mission and seeing it through to its end, will require many ‘hands on deck’ and more than anything, ‘hands’ and minds that represent the broad and rich cultural constituency of our European member organisations. We recognise that culture shapes our attitudes and approach to doing things and bringing cultures together can be an enriching experience that fosters and energises our collective creativity. For this reason, we would want to assemble cross-cultural teams of volunteers via the partner organisations to collaborate in the realisation of these activities and towards the two-fold goal of capturing our organisational knowledge and disseminating good practices. As we see this as an important step in the execution of the network’s strategy and in order to determine the most optimal mix of the number of cultures involved, our approach would be to start off with teams diversified enough to spark creative solutions while at the same time compact enough to manage, and then to grow. Hence we decided to cap the number of country organisations involved to those ones mentioned in this application. In conjunction with these sending organisations, we will seek out enthused volunteers who inspire to enact change. GEN-Europe has a rich history and skill set in managing projects. We employ a wide range of methodologies depending on the nature of the project that we are doing, yet all of them have in common the underlying premise that each one of us can realise our own potential if given the chance. This implies articulating a shared dream that we work towards, developing the plans to do so, coordinating the actions we defined in our planning and reflecting and reviewing often on how we have done things.These phases come from the Dragon Dreaming PM methodology, but we also often seek flexibility and rapid responsiveness in the way we work, which we borrow from the scrum meetings concept that is found in the family of Agile PM methodologies. Regardless of the chosen method, our experience tells us that each project participant has something intrinsically valuable to contribute and it is the intuition and good sense of the project coordinator to create the conditions which would enable those contributions to flourish.Besides our 4 key milestones, we will endeavour to celebrate these ´mini-milestones´ too, in the form of the personal growth of each of the volunteers that pass through our project. We would want that everybody who contributed to the outcomes of the project, can look back proudly a year later, and that they will find themselves in situations where they continue to build on the skills that they acquired on the project. Although we have separated out the project into 4 manageable yet overlapping phases, it is our desire that a year from now, the project´s overall deliverable - an interactive record of our organisational knowledge and good practices - forms an integral part of how we continue to capacitate our members, and that it will feed into the design of future conferences and future practices. Additionally and yet paramount, through the process of collating such knowledge, we hope to instill a climate of awareness of good practises, buttressed by a lasting culture of knowledge diffusion and conservation within our organisation.
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