This is a reference for Anuschka Ruge

Equality starts with us! - Youth promoting inclusive societies and global citizenship and opposing violent extremism

The training activity took place
in EYC Budapest, Hungary
organised by International Union of Socialist Youth in Cooperation with the Council of Europe - Youth Department
22nd to 28th of April 2018

Aims & objectives

Aim: enable young people to invigorate their struggle for peaceful and just society, especially when it comes to protecting the human rights and advancing the social inclusion of young refugees

Objective 1: facilitate the participants in exploring the roots of discrimination and multiple discrimination and deconstructing them to develop means to promote social inclusion and human rights

Objective 2: empower the participants in their efforts to work with and for young refugees to help with their personal development and social inclusion

Objective 3: enable the participants to identify the main stakeholders in the society and develop their own methods and tools for reaching out to them to promote a peaceful, inclusive society and in particular the social inclusion of young refugees

Objective 4: assist young people and youth organizations to establish a platform for intercultural learning and joint international action aiming at the struggle for peaceful inclusive society and against all forms of discrimination
and violence

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

Participants: 22 pax from Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Lithuania, Montenegro, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom

Team: 5 people from Germany, Italy and Sweden.

Training methods used & main activities

The whole training was composed with a non-formal educational approach and included methods such as simulations, reflection groups and icebreakers. The activities were participant centred and driven to ensure a holistic learning experience using tools of human rights education. Further, we used approaches from the field of Visual Facilitation and Body Movement.

Outcomes of the activity

Conclusions of the study session included the multifacetness of each other’s identity and the power structures of discrimination. The first day the group worked solely on identity and was able through the methods used to reflect on their own identity and the labels they assigned to themselves. This exercise was huge learning point for the participants because they were confronted with having to decide which label they value the most and the realisation that all of these labels are fundamental to their identity. With the exercise ‘Where I am local’, the trainers tried to work with the participants to make them understand that the geographical or national identity of a person is more complex than his*, her*, their citizenship. They also showed the impacts that migration or displacement can have on your identity. This exercise was meant to build a bridge to the session on Refugees and IDPs. The participants were able to relate this insight to the stereotypical depiction of refugees in our societies. One of the speakers on the Stakeholder Panel enforced this by raising the point that a refugee is not just a refugee but also a person and someone with a profession and human qualities, they are people too.

The main learning points regarding the topic of discrimination was the insights the participants got in the first session of the second day. The exercise “Sticker Discrimination” opened the participants up to discuss the power structures that enforce discrimination and how willingly we align with these. Some participants stated that they went into the sessions believing they never discriminated someone and thought that they probably had never been discriminated. However, throughout the sessions they became aware of all the small everyday acts of discrimination. One participant raised the point that discrimination could be used in a positive way, but also realised the complexities it carries. In the discussion about the forms of discrimination the participants were introduced to theoretical frameworks around discrimination. Within the discrimination topic they also had new ideas on how to lower discrimination by holding others in society accountable.

The topic of refugees was tackled in an effective manner through a simulation based on the five stages of the refugees experience as defined by the UNHCR. Please find a detailed description of the exercise in the appendix as the trainers developed it for this study session. In the debriefing the participants were challenged to relate their experiences during the simulation to the situation in their home countries. In this session they got an insight into the vulnerability and hardship of refugees situations and that no one uproots their lives to go on a dangerous journey unless they really have to.

During the stakeholder session the participants learned about three different actors who carries impact on the refugee situation: a political actor, a civil society actor and a media actor. The participants learned about their different involvement in the narrative, their relationships, how they work together, how they advocate each other and how inseparable they are. They also learned through the panel discussion and throughout the session that there are concrete things we can all do to help refugees beyond policymaking.
The participants then learned about the situations of refugees in their home countries. The participant from Spain was the most affected as he found out that Spain only had accepted 1900 refugees and were not fulfilling their quota in addition that they were illegally turning people away that were fleeing from Africa through Gibraltar. The insights into their situations at home together with the lessons on discrimination and the insights from the expert panel were visible in their ideas for actions to take to help the social inclusion of refugees; you can see more details on this in the next section.

For many of the participants non-formal education and its approach was very new. Only a small part of the group contributed to the discussions and debates. They did not fully do the reflection work that was required of them, but this also meant that they learned that the learning outcomes of the group are dependent on the individual contribution to the learning. This became apparent when the group was not able to agree on what to do with the envisaged web platform, partly because only few people interacted in the discussion. In the end the idea of the platform was abandoned, as the participants did not think that they would have time to or would actually use it if it was implemented and they wanted to focus on their individual projects.

The session promoted the work for social inclusion for young refugees and anti-discrimination as directly linked to the CoEs programme for inclusive and peaceful societies.

95% of the participants rated their experience at the study session as positive or very positive. The highlights for the participants were the methodology implemented, the constant use of intercultural learning and self-reflection, the panel discussion on the third day of the study session and the usefulness of many activities, as especially the simulation game on the second day. Some of them would have liked more concrete follow-up actions, more focus on policy and a better time management during the activities. A great part of the participants developed a clear understanding on the topic and contributed actively to the activities and discussions by sharing their personal experiences. They left the training with many new ideas for future programs and projects in their own organisations, particularly trainings and seminars based on non-formal education and intercultural learning.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

I was the senior trainer in the team and developed the initial educational programme as the second trainer joined late. My co-trainer and I co-facilitated all sessions. I additionally developed methods specifically for this event and conducted a Graphic Recording of the Panel Discussion.

I worked on this training for 5 days as a full time trainer.

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