Erasmus+ KA1 “SustainABILITY 3.0 - hands on improvement of self-organisation in youth work collectives” project is a partnership between youth worker organisations and collectives from Germany, Italy, Spain, Finland, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Serbia and Palestine, that rise from the necessity to find shared values, mutual respect and awareness, celebration of cultural and social diversity, inclusive and participative decision making processes.
These are the values and aspects that we, project organisers Kulturlabor Trial&Error e.V. and the project partners, see as essential to work on youth workers empowerment, improving their professional and organisational capacities, transmitting these values, diversifying their working methods and reaching the young people with economical and geographical obstacles to listen, understand, encourage and support them.
The central activity during the project SustainABILITY 3.0 was the training course brought together 42 youth workers form from 11 organisations from EU and neighbouring countries . The location was Ponde Rosa Project&Guest house in Stolzenhagen, Brandenburg. Participants arrived on 21.10., from 22.-27.10. we worked together on the site as well as visited projects in the are and Berlin, the 28.10. was the farewell day. The training course was an experimental setting, where we tried to implement the principles of selforganisation, conducting sessions on topics of community building, leadership, prioritising, decision making and basic steps for project planning. The sessions where supported and facilitated by experienced facilitators - Sabine Wiesthal and Ivan Felipe Martinez. Additionally to theoretical input and training on using tools for selforganisation within the community and collective, we also built group dynamics, got to know each other, exchanged knowledge, skills and perspectives, reflected on own working experiences as well as acquired new methods. Inseparable part was networking and encouragement for future cooperations.
The project partners supported us in selection of participants, travel arrangements, documentation as well as communication - we shared the project preparation, process and after-thoughts via Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and the websites of the partner organisations. The project results where compiled in collaboratively made brochure, where both organisers and some of the participants shared their experience. All the participants acquired Youth Pass certificate.
As a success we see the diversity of the participants, representing not only the partner organisations but also youth work organisations from their networks. The project participants have shared their knowledge and experience within their organisations, but also many new international cooperations and exchanges started. We are already harvesting the first fruits seeing, how, with support of Helsinki and Berlin colleagues, a community garden for disadvantaged youth is in process in Riga, or Ramallah will experience the opening of its first swap shop soon. Some of the partners have already submitted joint applications for further cooperation.
To conclude, we see that we fully have achieved the overarching aim of the project - to transmit and acknowledge the importance of local or transnational community building by bringing together collectives from diverse economic, political and geographical contexts. With the project we inspired European level exchange of youth work collectives, overcoming economic, political and geographical differences, together developing tools for structural changes in the youth work approach, focusing on community, collective and bottom-up.
It is too early to say, what the long-term impact is on the target group - the young people with fewer opportunities, but the gardeners are equipped with tools and motivation, the seeds have been planted and it is gonna be a fruitful saison.