This Erasmus+ KA220 Strategic Partnership project is a continuation of the already implemented mobility project Meet Your Neighbors, where within 1 week young people from Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Northern Macedonia and Turkey managed to break their stereotypes about each other and draw conclusions, that all conflicts in the past must remain there and that young people must live in harmony, tolerance, and understanding. In the context of the events that took place between Russia and Ukraine at the end of February this year, the project partners decided that it was necessary to upgrade the work on this topic and to develop tools aimed at youth organizations in the Balkans to promote young people to come out of their trenches and overcome their differences and possible conflicts by connecting with each other by telling stories and by learning how to deal with differences and conflicts in a constructive way.
The main goal of this project is to develop new tools to connect young people from the Balkan countries to enable them to build strong, sustainable, respectful and peaceful communities. To this end, the project partners will develop a combination of products that can be used by youth workers throughout the Balkan Peninsula. The end result of the project is a digital toolkit containing these newly developed tools, which will be freely available to anyone working with young people from different backgrounds inside and outside the EU.
The project takes place from 1/10/2022 until 30/9/2024 and the following activities will be implemented within this period:
"The image of the other" - The aim of this activity is to conduct a qualitative and in-depth study of the main problem areas leading to hatred and division between the participating countries, as well as to outline mythologies that glorify one's own and denigrate others and thus begin to break and overcome them. The survey will be conducted through a study of what is studied at school, in terms of neighborly relations and relations with participating countries, a public survey, based on questionnaires, and the attitude of the media to these issues in each country. This study will be the basis on which other activities will be built, as it will give a real idea of where the problems and conflicts between the participating Balkan countries may come from and thus find the right solution to overcome them.
"Youth workers toolkit" - The implementation of the activity will be realized as follows: Creating a guide for youth workers, in what cases and when to use the developed exercises, Development of a set of informal exercises aimed at overcoming stereotypes and prejudices at the Balkan level - workshops, simulations, role-playing games, discussions, etc., Picture your Balkans life - a set of photos will be created showing different aspects of life in the Balkans, and instructions for its use and reference points for discussion will be developed for each of them.
"NoConfilct Videos" - This activity will be the creation of video content. It is envisaged that each partner will create 3 videos with a duration of no more than 2 minutes each, the content of which will be aimed at promoting dialogue between countries to establish peace as a core value, paying attention to what unites us - common traditions, culture, folklore, customs and others. The videos will be distributed on TikTOK and Youtube so that they reach more young people.
IO 4 “Free open – space platform” - All materials on the project will be uploaded in it, and it will give the opportunity to directly connect youth organizations from different countries for the exchange of experience, contact, implementation of joint activities.
In addition, there will be several international project meetings among the involved partner organisations, 2 training courses, and two large scale multiplying events.
Center for educational initiatives, Bulgaria (coordinator), YC EPIRUS, Greece, Center for Educational and Development Initiatives INNOVA LAB Bitola, North Macedonia, Asociaţia Tinerii 3D, Romania, European Movement in Serbia – Leskovac, Serbia, Egitim ve Genclik Calismalari Enstitusu Deneregi, Turkey.
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Representatives of each partner organisation took part in an international project meeting in Craiova, Romania, from the 10th to the 11th of June, 2023. During the meeting, partners reconnected, reflected on the work done, especially the Intellectual Outcome 1 results, as well as worked out details of the next project steps and activities, both on local and international levels. It was a great opportunity to evaluate the progress of the project, and to share experiences and support among the partners.
The Image of the Other was a series of activities within the project that form the Intellectual Outcome 1, which was meant to conduct a qualitative and in-depth study of the main problem areas leading to hatred and division between the participating countries, as well as to outline mythologies that glorify one's own and denigrate others and thus begin to break and overcome them. The activities carried out within the Image of the Other on local level by each partner organisation were online interviews, interviews with high school teachers, students and active young people, creative workshops with high school students and young people on creating an image of Europe, essay workshops about rewriting the WWII, and high school history curricula analysis.
This study will serve as the basis on which other activities will be built, as it gave a real idea of where the issues and conflicts between the participating Balkan countries may come from and thus allow the project to look for the right solutions to overcome them.
Below there are some photos of the creative workshops and some examples of the online questionnaire results.
The report of first activities carried out in Ioannina, Greece can be downloaded here. The international report will be available soon!
The first international meeting of the project took place in Sofia, Bulgaria on 3rd of December 2023, hosted by the coordinating organisation Center for Educational Initiatives. 2 representatives from each partner organisation joined the meeting in order to discuss details of the upcoming project activities. The meeting especially included preparation for the work on Intellectual Outcomes that would start right after the meeting. It was a great start of the project and everyone got inspired to carry out the activities that will follow soon!
Updates coming soon!!!