This is a reference for Balazs Kiss

A Small step is a Big Step (social justice long-term training course)

The training activity took place
in Budapest, Paris
organised by French, Hungarian, German NAs in cooperation with the Council of Europe
May 2015-August 2016
Reference person

Julie Monnet

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Aims & objectives

This Long Term Training Course initiated many different benefits and outcomes for the
participants on several levels. Progress and developments took place in personal aspects
like rethinking own attitudes and prejudices and also on professional level of knowledge
the participants achieved comprehensive understanding about dynamics of power and
oppression, discrimination and privileges and ways to interrupt injustice on three crucial
levels (individual, institutional, cultural). At the same time every participant learned to work within a diverse group and was challenged to act as inclusive as possible in order to match diverse needs of group members.

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

Disabled and able-bodied Youth Worker, Multiplier, NGO-Activists and all people interested in the topic of anti-discrimination and people who are interested in realizing projects in Erasmus+ Programme in the topic. The training provides sign language interpretation, blind people are very welcome but unfortunately the training material can not be provided in braille.

Training methods used & main activities

Social Justice Trainings use a variety of methods. Some of them are unique and have special meanings as an anti-discriminatory approach.

1.) Input and lectures
Input and lectures were given to introduce following aspects:
• Background and history of Social Justice Trainings
• Theoretical framework of Social Justice and Diversity approach
• Basic Assumptions of Social Justice and Diversity approach
• Introduction of Forms of discrimination and the dynamics of Power and Oppression
• Intersectionality as a mainstreaming perspective of Social Justice approach
• Concept of Becoming an ally
• Action planning (how to design and perform actions for Social Justice)
• Migration and Refugee Policy in Europe
• History of disability policy in Germany
• Retro Planning for further ideas and projects

2.) Dialogic approach
Social Justice Trainings provide a specific form of communication which is called “dialogic
approach”. It was introduced thoroughly and continuously practised with all participants.
The dialogic approach promotes communication in a very mindful way and tries to reduce violent or discriminative speeches. This method takes into account, that all participants are learners and that everybody depends on the perspectives of others in
order to learn and widen own views and opinions. It is assumed that nobody is right or wrong with his/her opinion and that the variety and diversity of perspectives should be respected. The aim is also to release the will to convince people and to focus on own
learning processes. This kind of dialogues supports people to talk in a trustful way. Yet one premise is that people are not allowed to act and think deliberately discriminative towards others. This behaviour should be interrupted as the dialogic approach does
actively work on the interruption of reproductions of prejudice and discrimination.
The trainers are responsible to ensure the needed environment for this dialogic communication and to step in if a reflection of thoughts and speeches on part of the participants according to these requirements becomes necessary.

3.) Working on Triggers
A trigger is something that an individual says or does or an organizational policy or practice that makes us, as members of social groups, feel diminished, offended,
threatened, stereotyped, humiliated or attacked. Triggers cause an emotional response.
These emotions range from hurt, confusion, anger, fear, surprise or embarrassment.
Social Justice Trainings raise awareness of the daily use of triggers by making them visible and uncovering them within the “common sense”. In order to make Triggers visible they were collected anonymously in a “Trigger Box”. This trigger box was checked
every morning and the discriminatory terms and expressions that were carried together were discussed. That helps to understand that the use of triggers is a part of everyday life and maintain a certain hierarchy of power and value between individuals or social groups.

4.) Team building
Especially during the first Training Course several methods on team building were used to create a good atmosphere and to get to know each other. Team building exercises were
quite important to make the participants feel save in the group. So several games and exercises were used (torch game, blind train...), as for the further learning process and the exchange about individual experiences and triggers it was very crucial that the
participants rely on each other and on the trainers.

5.) Biographical work
The biographical work within Social Justice Trainings are a crucial part of raising awareness in terms of own allocation to social groups. Certain questionnaires initiate thinking about being discriminated or privileged in many respects. The biographical
work was used for specific modules, for example in the module on classism during the 2nd TC participants exchanged about their own experiences and positions in society regarding to their social class. But also in other sessions there was a focus on own experiences of being privileged or oppressed and the participants could exchange about their experiences. In Social Justice Training self-reflection it is an inevitable process for obtaining a deeper and more self-confident understanding of own concernments and responsibilities.

6.) Intersectional approach
The intersectional approach gives attention to the fact that anti-discrimination can be successful implemented only when complexity of interrelations between different forms of discrimination were taken into account. Due to that approach individuals do practically always belong to discriminated and privileged groups at the same time. So the very tight idea of “victim and offender” does not meet the requirements of the intersectional approach as the self-allocation depends on the very situation or environment. At the same time the intersectional approach makes potentials as being privileged visible and promotes to share social power for the sake of supporting oppressed people or social groups. Additionally, the intersectional approach enables the perspective as being targeted by multiple forms of discriminations and the excluding effects of those
phenomena within social life. During both seminars there were inputs and exercises on the topic of intersectionality: The method “Power Flower” helps to understand the own position in society and to make individual social identities visible. We also showed
different short movies to enable the participants to discuss and to understand the intersection of different forms of oppression. Another method showed, that everyone belongs to different groups, that it is impossible to relate to only one category of social
identity and that we have to deal with that in our all-day lives.

7.) Systemic analysis of three levels of discrimination
A unique approach of Social Justice Trainings is the analysis of dynamics of power and oppression on three levels. The underlying assumption is that discrimination is not only produced on a specific level rather it is always maintained by interactions on three levels:
individual, institutional and cultural. Furthermore, the discrimination due to a special behaviour of individual members, the institutional discrimination in policies, laws, structures and discrimination on a cultural and societal level are all linked and depend on each other.
During the training the participants were enabled to analyse the impact of production and reproduction of discrimination, oppression, stereotypes and prejudices on all levels. This observation is a necessary requirement for the development of anti-discrimination-actions or changes for the sake of Social Justice.

8.) Concept of Becoming an ally
The concept of Becoming an ally is one of the core elements of the Social Justice approach. The quite unique moment within that concept is that it addresses privileged people to interrupt discrimination by using their resources and power. This concept is a supplementary approach to the “Empowerment - Concept” that encourages discriminated individuals and social groups to fight against oppression. Due to the Intersectional approach of Social Justice (see 4.6) everyone can fight against oppression as everyone belongs to discriminated and privileged social groups at the same time.
These social privileges can be activated in certain circumstances and situations. That means that everyone can endeavour to combat oppression either through Empowerment-movements as being discriminated or through becoming an ally as being
privileged. Since the Empowerment Concept is usually well known the Concept of Becoming an ally is not introduced often within educational trainings. All the more it is a crucial part of Social Justice Trainings to raise awareness about own belongings to
privileged groups as this is the base for knowing how and where to become an ally. There are different possibilities to become an ally on several levels and within different spheres of influences. The aim of Social Justice Trainings is to enable and prepare participants to support discriminated people by using their social power or privileged status. During the LTTC the participants were accompanied in the process of becoming an ally especially in
the preparation, implementation and evaluation of their field phase activities. Especially the mentoring during the field phase and the exchange on the 2nd TC about their activities were important methods to make first steps to become an ally.

9.) Learning on the edge
Learning within Social Justice Trainings has a specific meaning. The notion of learning refers to zones where people feel comfortable or less comfortable. Everyone has zones of comfort about different topics or activities. Topics or activities we are familiar with or have lots of information about are solidly inside our comfort zone. Staying inside this comfort zone, we are not challenged and we may not be learning anything new – and we might hardly be able to motivate ourselves to combat oppression. But when we are on the edge of our comfort zone, we often are in best place to expand understanding, take in a new perspective and raise awareness.
In that sense it is an aim to enable the participants to recognize their learning edges by paying attention to internal reactions. Being on learning edge can be signalled by various feelings like annoyance, anger, anxiety, surprise, confusion or defensiveness.
This approach of Learning was applied as a mainstreaming aim of the course. The trainers accompanied processes where participants had the chance to touch and understand their learning edges and gave sufficient space for realizing own upcoming feelings.

10.) Theatre of the Oppressed
Methods like the “theatre of oppressed” were introduced for the treatment of topics referring to power and oppression. E.g. for the better understanding of daily dynamics of power and oppression and to develop alternative actions the participants played an all-day situation or conflict one of them lived and tried out different options and strategies of (re)action. So the variety of strategies and also some helpful actions get visible.

11.) Different styles of methods
Methods used within the Social Justice Training course were designed in a variety of styles and where chosen in accordance to the aim of single sessions. Whereas the first training focused on a comprehensive introduction of basic knowledge about Social
Justice it was quite rich performed with inputs and lectures. The second training was designed method-wise more diverse and the participants had more time to exchange and to work in small groups.
An indispensable part of Social Justice is self-reflection which was initiated mostly as individual work e.g. biographical work, questionnaires about self-allocation to oppressed or privileged groups. Exchange and dialogues between the participants about certain topics and issues were promoted by session in pairs or small groups. Some discussions were also introduced with the entire group (plenary discussion) when it seemed to be
reasonable to make a huge variety of different perspectives visible for all. Furthermore, the participants were guided with some questions to reflect the whole day after the sessions – for themselves and to enable them to fill out their youthpass.

Outcomes of the activity

This Long Term Training Course initiated many different benefits and outcomes for the
participants on several levels. Progress and developments took place in personal aspects
like rethinking own attitudes and prejudices and also on professional level of knowledge
the participants achieved comprehensive understanding about dynamics of power and
oppression, discrimination and privileges and ways to interrupt injustice on three crucial
levels (individual, institutional, cultural). At the same time every participant learned to
work within a diverse group and was challenged to act as inclusive as possible in order to
match diverse needs of group members.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

I was working as a full member of the trainers team, which consisted of 4 trainers. I was one of the 2 people who initiated this training course, and wrote the initial idea. Later, when the training course was kindly supported by four National Agencies, I also took part in the detailed elaboration of the plan and methods together with my trainer colleagues.

I worked on this training for 15 days as a full time trainer.

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