1st International learning partnership meeting
From November 26 to 30, 2012, the Grundtvig learning partnership “Roma Youth Empowerment for Active Citizenship” celebrated its kick-off meeting in Blagoevgrad in Bulgaria. 15 representatives of the five partner organizations Amaro Foro e.V. (Germany), RGDTS nonprofit kft/Phiren Amenca (Hungary), Roma Onlus (Italy), Roma Education Centre (Slovakia) and Youth Network for Development (Bulgaria) came together to start a two-year long mutual learning process between adult educational organizations that have a common mission to strengthen empowerment for active citizenship of Roma and non-Roma young adults. The staff and trainer meeting allowed the sharing of experiences and practices, the reflection and learning about concepts of empowerment, antigypsyism and active citizenship, as well as the refinement of the two year lasting strategy and action plan. The strong theoretical and conceptual approach on critical issues of empowerment and active citizenship, as well as the intensive sharing of experiences became the leading theme of the Grundtvig learning partnership: “From Theory to Practice – Roma Youth Empowerment for Active Citizenship”.
The kick-off meeting allowed all the involved partners and staff members to develop a common mission and understanding, as well as to share experiences, methods and concrete practices of their daily working life. They came together to reflect and discuss about their engagement, achievements and challenges for the empowerment and mobilization of Roma youth, and new actions, transnational mobility and cooperation on international level were developed. Moreover, the meeting allowed the organizations to decide upon a clear sharing of responsibilities and tasks, as well as a about a documentation, visibility and dissemination plan. The program included a visit of the local Roma community “Simitli”, where a meeting was held with the local municipality in the town hall, as well as with the local Roma youth group.
On November 28th, the hosting organization “Youth Network for Development” organized a round table on social inclusion of Roma youth in Blagoevgrad. ternYpe activists, educators and trainers from various European countries shared their vision and good practices of youth and civic activism against racism, of participation, and intercultural dialogue. In this round table the vice mayor of Blagoevgrad, as well as other governmental and civil society representatives of the region participated in the discussions on the topic “Participation of young people in social inclusion“.
Working Group Meeting on Quality Tools in Adult Education
The Grundtvig Learning Partnership “Roma Youth Empowerment for Active Citizenship” held a working group meeting on quality tools in adult education. Staff members and trainers from five European countries came together for a five-day lasting seminar in Budapest from September 15 until 21, 2013 in order to share their experiences and educational tools in local youth work. They reflected about current practices in adult education in the participating organizations, visited various local institutions and projects, and worked on quality standards in adult education on empowerment for active citizenship, as well as they addressed key needs, competences and challenges for trainers and staff in the field. The working group achieved to build a common understanding, to develop a curriculum for local trainings and to identify various educational tools and methods.
A particular focus was given to the capacity-building and empowerment of local youth leaders and activists that engage for combating racism and antigypsyism. Common challenges were identified, and most partners highlighted the question how to motivate, recruit and mobilize young Roma and non-Roma to participate in such educational programs. Furthermore, the participants explored the potential, benefit and opportunities of building synergies between adult education, formal education, non-formal education and vocational education in order to increase the learning impact to develop civic skills to combat racism and xenophobia. Considering the profound exclusion of young Roma adults, as well as the widespread experience of discrimination, stereotypes and lack of self-esteem, the partner organizations concluded on the need for a long-term investment to build trust between educational institutions and the adult learners. Learning elements such as international seminars, trainings and meetings need to be embedded in a process of a local community group, and local learning opportunities. Furthermore, several partners made positive experiences in coaching of individual adults over a long-term period of time, in particular in order to increase their capacity and leadership in local self-organization processes.
The meeting was hosted by RGDTS nonprofit kft in cooperation with all partners of the learning partnership, and it was financed by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union.
Online partnership meeting
In October 2013, the Grundtvig learning partnership conducted a one day online meeting with all the partner organizations and relevant staff members involved in the project for a middle evaluation. The online evaluation meeting was hosted by Amaro Foro e.V.. All partners presented their results and conclusions of the mobilities, as well as of local actions and training courses. The main focus was given to the question, how the international mobilities and learning partnership are integrated into the general work and curriculum of the participating organizations, as well what is the impact on staff professionalization and educational strategies. The partners concluded that the key reflections, concepts, methods and reflections should be documented in a written publication, which can be a crucial tool to bring the results to a wider audience within the participating organizations, as well as beyond that to other adult educational organizations.
Lessons Learnt! The closing learning partnership meeting
On March 7 to 9, 2014, the Grundtvig learning partnership “Roma Youth Empowerment for Active Citizenship” held its closing meeting “Lessons Learnt!” in Rome, which was hosted by the organization Roma Onlus. The meeting brought together staff members, trainers, and young learners that participated in international mobilities, as well as transnational and local training-courses with a common mission to strengthen civic and social competences, leadership, self-initiative and empowerment in order to combat stereotypes, antigypsyism, racism and xenophobia. The meeting was a unique market and exchange of practices and experiences that were enriched through the past two years by a variety of learning experiences, new approaches and co-operations. It allowed a reflection about good and bad results and practices, and a critical analysis what works well and not. Results, methods and the publications under development were analyzed and conclusions were drawn how to finish qualitative results, and how to enhance the dissemination and visibility. Further, it explored future opportunities of co-operation and follow-up in the field of empowering Roma youth.
In a public event on March 8, the learning partnership presented its projects, activities and tools to a wider audience of Roma organizations, educational institutions and minority youth organizations. The event raised the question among all the participants how a strong civil society engagement of organizations and individual civic activism can be development in order to challenge stereotypes, racism and xenophobia, that especially target and affect Roma communities. Furthermore, it explored the opportunities and challenges of adult education in particular in the context of strategies towards empowerment and active citizenship.
The closing partnership meeting was organized by Roma Onlus in cooperation with the partners of the Grundtvig learning partnership, and the meeting was financed by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission.