“European Youth Goals: engaging disadvantaged youngsters

Closing the month of November, we look back on YouthProAktiv Spain’s non-formal training for youth workers: “European Youth Goals: non-formal education activities and best practices to engage disadvantaged youngsters”. This transformative program unfolded from November 5th to 10th in Madrid and brought together 11 organizations, uniting 26 dedicated participants.

The project’s objectives were multifaceted:

  1. Boost youth workers’ understanding of the EU Youth Strategy & the 11 Youth Goals.
  2. Exchange best practices among disadvantaged youth groups to enhance the 11 Youth Goals.
  3. Improve the quality of youth work by empowering workers with better knowledge and skills to benefit disadvantaged youth groups.

Specifically, YPA Spain aimed to:

  1. Equip youth workers with the necessary tools to align with the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027.
  2. Promote innovative, digital, and non-formal education tools to enhance understanding and practice.
  3. Reflect on global practices to build better implementation models.
  4. Encourage youth workers to champion EU Youth Strategy goals.
  5. Enhance participating youth workers’ skills to empower the young people they work with.

The program was designed to be rich and engaging, featuring ice-breakers, practical exercises, storytelling presentations, group debates, and self-reflection activities, among others. Over the five days, participants engaged in active listening, practical learning, teamwork, and open discussions centered on each of the 11 European Youth Goals and the EU Youth Strategy.

Therefore, throughout the 5-day program, the participants addressed each of the 11 European Youth Goals and the respective European Youth Strategy, through the following practices: active listening learning, learning by doing, teamwork, intercultural learning, open discussions, and competitions & interactive games.

During the first day of the training, participants received the opening remarks of the project and the presentation of the European Youth Goals. We also had the pleasure to enrich the training with our first speaker on Goal “Equality of All Genders”, Gracia Sánchez del Real, CEO at Infinity Group, and president at Women Leader. After the first storytelling session, participants presented their organizations and their non-formal education activities related to the European Youth Goals to introduce themselves and exchange best practices. After the presentations, we moved to an insightful and inspiring peer learning Group Debate on Diversity and Equality for All, followed by an Interactive Session on personal experiences with EU + youth connections. We finished the day with a self-reflection activity where participants shared their thoughts and insights from the first sessions of the training.

The second day of the training started with an icebreaker, and we moved to the Interactive presentation on Inclusive Societies by our project manager Mohamed, followed by a peer learning group debate. After the first session, participants enjoyed the experience of a creative practical group exercise on Information and Constructive Dialogue by Marina (project manager). During the afternoon, participants had the opportunity to play an interactive game on the most important concepts in the field of information and constructive dialogue, which was challenging but rewarding!

The third day of the training was super inspiring as well. We started with an icebreaker and an external speaker, Cristina Gomez, Vicepresident at Jump The Line, on a storytelling session for the goal:  “Space and Invitation for All”. After her inspiring and informative session about their project at Jump The Line, Marina, our project manager, facilitated an interactive presentation on “Moving Rural Youth Forward”. Moreover, by connecting the first two topics of the day, participants got the opportunity to debate, comment, and present their insights and perspectives on Goals 7 and 8 “Quality employment for all and quality learning”. After the insightful conversations they had on these two linked fields, we closed the afternoon with an Exchange of Best practices on these topics by the organizations and a review and feedback session of the day.

On the fourth day, we started our training with an online speaker on Sustainable Green Europe, Eya Hadiri, a Natural Resources Management and Environmental Engineer, Sustainability analyst, and Geologist. Her careful and professional view on the current environmental situation, both in practice and at the policy level, and the presentation of the following steps during the next years within the EU, were truly professional and clear. After Eya, our fourth speaker, Irene Pujol Chica, Project Coordinator at CGC and president of Generación Kintsugi, visited us at the training venue to do an interactive and empowering session on “Mental Health and Well-being”. The presentation and her speech, combined with the interactive exercises that we practiced in a group, created a unique atmosphere of empowerment and empathy where youth workers could feel safe and discuss and reflect on essential topics on mental health and wellbeing. After the two speakers, participants conducted teamwork during the afternoon to craft their own Organization Action Plan and Dissemination Action Plan. The workshop went smoothly, and at the end of the day, participants shared their results with the rest of the group.

Finally, on the last day of the training, participants initiated the closure of the training with an icebreaker and continued with the last general debate about the goals covered in the training as well as the action and dissemination of action plans. As is always done in the trainings, the final session was the YouthPass Ceremony, where participants were invited to reflect on their upskilling during the week, their discoveries, the intercultural experience they had, and all the personal and professional benefits that came with it.

To conclude, YouthProAktiv Spain would like to express its deepest gratitude to the four speakers, project managers, organization representatives, Espacio Geranios for being such an amazing co-working space and venue facilitator, and, last but not least, to the Instituto Nacional de la Juventud (National Agency in Spain) and our esteemed partner organizations –Avrupa Entegrasyon Dernegi (Turkey), Leadership Development Association (Albania), AIDE (Romania), SiNC (Georgia), KKS (Slovenia), the Nuwa Group (France), Fundacja reGeneracja (Poland), NoExcuse (Slovenia), YouthProAktiv (Belgium), and Youth for Development Foundation (Armenia). Thank you for making this possible.