Youth Workers for More Inclusive Europe
From the 19th to 25th June, 2017 the Armenian Progressive Youth (APY) NGO hosted an International Training Course “Youth Workers for More Inclusive Europe” in Yerevan. The project was organized in partnership with Youth Council of Valencia from Spain and supported by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ programme.
The Training Course was designed for youth workers and youth organizations, which are willing to play a greater role in the areas of migration and refugee crisis as well as youth de-radicalization as its main consequence. The project gathered 26 youth workers in Armenia who were coming from Belarus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Ukraine. Through the Training Course our participants learnt about existing practices and examples in the field of migration where NGO’s and active citizens have gone beyond their capacities to fill the gap left by national and regional authorities and to support people arriving to Europe. At the same time, participants also learnt how to be better prepared to contribute to the resolution of the refugee crisis and improve the policies of integration of refugees in European societies.
Many of the participants mentioned that the Training Course helped them to learn more about migration in the EU and non-EU countries and how to tackle hate speech towards refugees and migrants. According to the feedback received, we can conclude that the participants especially liked the meeting with Syrian-Armenian refugees and gained knowledge about the situation of asylum seekers´ and refugees in Armenia.
Gaining local knowledge about Armenia, the hosting country, was an added value to the project. Participants were especially interested to learn about the migration problems linked to the Syrian-Armenian community. They were thankful to be given more information and perspective about this topic thanks to the intervention of volunteers from Armenia who told about their experiences and provided inputs.
The entire Training Course and its activities have contributed to the knowledge of participants who have developed numerous skills, such as critical and creative thinking, analysing ambiguities around the controversial issues and improving problem-solving skills. First and foremost, the participants got in-depth knowledge on the concept of migration, thoroughly examining the main causes of hatred towards refugees and getting to know the current state of affairs in Europe. By using peer to peer learning approach, we have created a safe space for participants to learn a lot from each other.
The academic part of the project put forward crucial topics such as respect to human dignity, freedom, equality, respect for human rights, including the rights of refugees and migrants. Moreover, the acquisition of competences has been guaranteed by means of non-formal educational tools provided by the professional trainers throughout the project. Apart from the educational side, the project was comprised of cultural exchange activities such as the intercultural evening as a space to exchange national cuisine, dances, music and create a real multicultural atmosphere. To recapitulate, owing to the project, our participants have been armed with new skills to become more aware and active towards refugee and migrant integration in their own societies and to be actors of change who foster tolerance, solidarity and open-mindedness.
We really hope that our participants are empowered to be a multiplier of knowledge in their own country of origin and they will do their best to impact their peers either personally or through more structured presentations. Surely, this will motivate other young people to deal with similar experiences, to get to know the European programs, and in particular Erasmus+.