Intercultural Youth Work Encounters
One of the major issues most EU countries are currently dealing with is that of social integration of newly arrived migrants, who often experience practical and cultural difficulties in their European host countries. Such problem is at the core of the general debate on both EU principles and policies as it concerns, on the one hand, the need and opportunity of cooperation amongst countries, and, on the other, the threat of their non-compliance and isolation.
To help dealing with this issue, the Intercultural Youth Work Encounters (IYWE) Erasmus + KA1 youth work mobility project aims at improving the competences of thirty (30) youth workers from five (5) European partner organizations in order to tackle the marginalization that many young migrants—especially refugees and asylum seekers—experience when their European host country is not able to address their cultural and relational needs.
IYWE is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, coordinated by ECEPAA (Belgium) and joined by Centre d’Information et d’Education Populaire (Belgium), Intercultural Institute of Timisoara (Romania), Youth Center of Epirus (Greece), and Eurocircle (France).
In order to contribute to the European strategic target of reducing social exclusion and poverty among young migrants, IYWE aims at improving the ability of 30 youth workers in reaching and engaging young marginalized migrants through intercultural encounters and dialogue. At the end of the training and networking activity, the participants result to be more skilled at building intercultural encounters and dialogue between their local populations and migrant people, families, communities and organizations in order to engage young migrants and help tackling their social marginalization.
The main participants in the project are thirty (30) youth workers from five (5) European organizations that have experience or are interested in working with young migrants.
The second group of participants in the IYWE project is made up of five (5) people with fewer opportunities and disadvantaged background, namely newly arrived migrants with cultural differences—including refugees and asylum seekers—who are already involved in the partner organizations and are willing and eager to play the part of expert on the matter of migration issues.
The main activity consists of a 5-day long training and networking held in De Waterman hostel of Brussels. During the training, the participants, guest speakers, and a professional facilitator engage in discussions, teamwork and open debates on the topics of young migrants, youth workers’ role, and migration in Europe.
An important role is also played by local young migrants and youth workers from Molenbeek who meet the participants and encourage a direct contact with the hosting organizations’ local community. After the training, the participants planned and implemented an event in each of their local communities to disseminate their conclusions through best ways of action to address young migrants’ cultural and relational needs.
The training makes use of non-formal and informal learning methods, such as team works, workshops, plenary debates, case studies, field trips, and media content production activities besides presentations. Furthermore, the training is strengthened by round tables and open debates soon after the guest speakers and experts’ presentations with a final evaluation of the daily activities. Such methods aim at encouraging the sharing of best practices and the exchange of ideas among participants.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
The main potential result of IYWE is the improvement of youth workers’ skills in better reaching and addressing young migrants’ cultural and relational needs in other to prevent and address their social marginalization. The achievement of the result is assessed through a survey. In addition, an event on a common idea of best approach to young migrants shaped during the training is held in the partners’ local contexts. The results of the training, including a report, is disseminated and shared through the partner organizations. The expected impact of IYWE is twofold. At local level, the project results in bridging the gap between migrant communities and youth work organizations. At a broader level, it will foster the exchange of best practices among youth organizations.
LONGER TERM BENEFITS
IYWE contributes to the reduction of the at-risk-of-poverty rate of foreign citizens whose non-EU citizens aged 25-54 by 2020 as of 2014.
The sustainability of the project is ensured through written and audiovisual deliverables that will let other youth organizations benefit from the results of the experience over time.