This is a reference for Karen Pong

ESC for Young Refugees

The training activity took place
in Athens, Greece
organised by European Solidarity Corps via INEDIVIM - Hellenic National Agency
March 2021 - June 2021
Reference person

Nerijus Kriauciunas

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Aims & objectives

This course aimed to develop the capacity and competences of youth workers who work with young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers (YMRA) in order to foster inclusion in local communities through the European Solidarity Corps programme, based on non-formal education.


- To exchange information and realities in the different countries of the participants.
- To get a deeper understanding of the diversity of this topic.
- To deepen understanding of the legal framework and terminology related and relevant in working with YMRA.
- To explore the role(s) of a youth worker in the inclusion process of YMRA.
- To share good practices, tools, methods on specific topics related to working with YMRA.
- To work on the possibilities that ESC offers to inclusive projects.
- To exchange ideas on how ESC can contribute through all its aspects to support young refugees.

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

The course targeted youth workers who work with young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Overall, 22 participants took part in the course, they were from 11 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Turkey).

The international team of facilitators who created the content of this course were:
- Karen N. Pong is a freelance trainer and educator with significant experience in non-formal educational activities and she focuses on a broad spectrum of topics: human rights, peace education, peace-building, conflict transformation/resolution /management, human trafficking/people smuggling, gender based-violence, migrants and refugees, discrimination, women's rights, intercultural learning, youth empowerment and capacity building. Karen works as an Interpreter and cultural mediator in Reception Centres for asylum seekers, migrants and refugees in Greece (IOM, EASO). She is a founding member of the Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (YPAN) and a member of Voices of Young Refugees in Europe (VYRE).

- Gerald Dowden is a freelance consultant trainer with substantial intercultural experience, personally and professionally. In London, he exists in a multi-ethnic context, working with people from many different cultural and linguistic backgrounds - he thrives on this vital exchange. As a trainer, Gerald specialises in generic youth work training, diversity and identity, participation and citizenship, international youth exchange work, detached youth work, English-language for youth work and competence-based training and assessment.

- Nerijus Kriauciunas is a full-time freelance trainer. Have extensive experience working for National Agencies in Networking training activities (Appetiser, BiTriMulti, ATOQ) and organisations. Last several years involved in delivering impactful online training opportunities. Have grass-root youth work experience till now. Passionate and involved in using digital Open Badges for the recognition of learning. Involved in developing EduTech solutions tailored to the youth work sector.

Training methods used & main activities

The training course was based on non-formal education methodology and comprised of the following:
a) Six Units on the HOP web platform (asynchronous learning), spread over a 14-day period made available at certain moments as the course developed. The Units provided an individual learning and developmental foundation, which was explored collectively and interactively in Zoom sessions, with the aim of creating a point of departure for future practical initiatives, both within the ESC programme and beyond. To complete these units, participants managed their time and pace according to their individual needs.
b) Five Zoom interactive sessions (synchronous learning). Hellenic National Agency representatives participated in the opening and closing Zoom sessions, which was a whole-group activity. There was also external guest input during 3 Zoom sessions to share ESC best practices and experiences with the participants.
Participants worked in small group during the zoom workshops and were encouraged to share and exchange knowledge and information in the activities provided in the Units.

Outcomes of the activity

Through this activity, participants:
1. Learned about European Solidarity Corps and its activities;
2. Discovered and explored the various ways that ESC projects can benefit young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers (YMRA) in Europe; they learned
3. Learned about the rights and processes affected YMRA in their communities and in Europe at large - including the legal instruments and policies of the European Union
4. Explored and exchanged realities of youth workers working with YMRA in their communities
5. Developed or reinforced their competences in intercultural communication and mediation and also human rights education.

The success of the training was determined through the evaluation feedback collected from the participants. A positive outcome of the course is illustrated by the fact that more than half of the participants indicated that they would be likely to develop future ESC projects beneficial to YMRA.
The feedback comments from the evaluation further illustrated the diversity of situations for participants. The networking opportunities were clearly important, with new partnerships and sharing identified. The acquisition of the NFL methodology and effective tools was another success for some. Cultural sensitivity and better communication with YMRA were areas of development. Integrating learning within participants’ organisations was also highlighted, with time factors and resources also, inevitably, reported as serious considerations.

The training can be access via the HOP Platform here

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

The team of trainers cooperated efficiently throughout this event and we were able to complete the entire training in a timely manner and within the expected timeframe.
I contributed to the prep meetings and team meeting during the training. I designed the unit content of several units (drafting the texts for the units and creating animations using tools like Jamboard, Canva, Mentimeter and uploading them onto HOP). I secured a guest speaker from the European Commission and coordinated the contribution of guest inputs. I facilitated parts of the zoom workshops and the evaluation. I drafted parts of the final report.

I worked on this training for 14 days days as a full time trainer.

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