YAPP ME means to intermediate ideas and concepts of empowerment and participation through youth work. The project focuses on learning, developing and exchanging good practices. It brings together 36 young leaders, activists and educators working with youth in 6 different countries in a 10 day seminar in Vienna & St. Pölten, Austria.
Participating groups: macuco-multiple alternative culture collective (Vienna/Austria), octothorps (Athens/Greece), Associazione Culturale Betty&Books (Bologna/Italy), Associação Academia Cidadã (Porto/Portugal), LGBT HHH Collective (Sofia/Bulgaria) and TransmitterV (Vilnius/Lithuania). During the event, participants learn and share tools and skills that improve their competencies and quality of work. Later they will be able to share this knowledge in their regional contexts to educate and empower local youth.
Project partners come from diverse cultural and social backgrounds which brings diversity to our project and enables cultural exchange. Each of them brings in variety of skills and experiences. Some focuses on self-organizing and skill sharing in rather small closed groups, while others have higher aims for societal change. They work with different sets of skills and methods but are united by the same work field. We strive to cover all costs of the training, thus all participants can join regardless of their income (that is in many participants cases precarious), this gains possible through Erasmus+.
The training will be arranged in 5 main phases:
1: getting to know participants;
2: input, methods;
3: networking, exchange;
4: development of methods;
5: summarizing, results, feedback and outlook.
Working methods used for the structure of the program in the training are: barcamp, games and theater, info wall and reading corner, open space, practical workshops, parking space, peer groups, small working groups, world cafe.
In addition, a public event (http://yapp-me.macuco.org/we-are-here/) will take place in Vienna open to people active in youth work, also different feedback sessions during the training and a final evaluation after the training. Accreditation is granted by Youth Pass, which is used together with different feedback formats to evaluate the project.
The motivation to organize the training is driven by several factors. We as groups & people involved in the training observe the current discussion in Europe on how to deal with populism and extremism. At the same time we are challenged by precarious working and living conditions. This means dealing with the question how basic human rights, like the right for education, housing, freedom of movement or a safe and permanent living place are feasible for everybody. At the same time we observe a huge amount of racist debates driven by right-wing populist parties, often questioning human dignity as well as human rights in general.
A goal of the project is to empower those struggling for equality and tolerance by giving people tools and skills to address disadvantages and to empower themselves. Participants learn how participative „do it yourself“ project management works. They learn how to achieve equality in their communities. With the training we raise sensitivity of participants towards extremist right-wing positions & populist answers to complex questions. Participants learn practical argumentation strategies for their daily work, questioning news and information, to uncover and expose discriminating patterns and wrong information. By tools like media analysis they learn forms of source review and identification of the sender as well as to identify the initial message. Another objective is to give youth workers practical tools towards teaching about acceptance of different genders, of queer, lesbian and gay relationships, about intersex & trans identities.
We raise awareness of intercultural understanding and increase the competencies from initiatives who take part in the training. We aim for more understanding and creating knowledge that leads to tolerance & acceptance. Through this work we create environments where discrimination because of sex and/or gender, place of origin, race, whether or not somebody is able or disabled, and other forms of exclusion gets no breeding ground. With the seminar we create a meeting place in which people can experience and share values of freedom, tolerance and acceptance.
Methods that appear during the training will be documented and collected in a “toolbox” that later will be released in form of a zine publication that allows to share gathered information easily. The outcome is a practical tool for people engaged in youth work as well as for young adults in general. After the training, participants act as multiplicators to share methods and tools and encourage others to use them. They will make events to share the outcome of the training and to disseminate the results through media, social media and newsletters. They also will be able to distribute the printed and digital results of the training.