ENGAGEMENT 1.0: Building a Sense of Initiative and Intervention

- Social Grassroots Conflict Transformation -

IMPRESSIONS ​FROM THIS TRAINING

Background:
Youth are the cornerstone of the presence and the future. Their social participation must be enhanced and their vital social role should be strengthened. Hence, our training "​Social Grassroots Conflict Transformation" for 25 local participants from Vienna was designed to train them on how to analyse community issues and design and implement initiatives to tackle a problem to achieve a positive change. Issues tackled were social, civic, political and other conflictual areas that affect the society. As a participant, they have chosen a specific issue to focus on and tackle during this training. The tackled issues covered topics such as social inclusion and integration, diversity and migration, cyber education, women empower meant and equality, mental health and social solidarity, racism, discrimination, justice, human rights, and youth empowerment. All these diverse topics were understood in the framework of visible and invisible violence. Therefore, this framework served as a method of finding solutions and developing transformation skills and tools to address these topics in a constructive way to achieve a positive change in the community and it served as a guide to analysing social conflicts.


Learning experience:
During this local training, 25 participants first learned about the framework of visible and invisible violence, including major concepts such as "violence", "conflict", "peace" and "transformation" to build a common understanding amongst all. Further, the participants were introduced to tools to analyse an existing conflict and think about possible solutions. As a next step, participants worked in small groups to design their own initiatives that address any topic that they wish to influence. Participants were supported during the training to design a comprehensive local initiative with an execution plan. All groups presented their initiatives (problem, solution and intervention) and got feedback. After the training, all groups have been further supported by the organising team to implement these newly designed initiatives as a follow-up to this training on the local level. The initiatives are a podcast on mental health, a networking event for young women, a photo competition that promotes diversity and a workshop on digital security for young people. 

Practicalities:
This training was 19 to 25 August 2021, in Vienna, Austria for youth between 18 and 35 years old who are based in Austria (both citizens and residents) with at least an English level of B1 and who were eager to learn new skills, methods and tools to improve their conflict transformation capacities and better engage in the civic society. Teamwork, cooperation and mutual respect were the core principles shared by all participants. The training was free of charge. It has been financed by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe. Thanks to this generous fund, we covered all the costs for the training, materials, content, meals, breaks, and transportation. For the successful participation, the participants had to first fill in an application form to apply, then commit to at least 80% of the training program, sign the learning agreement, and implement the follow-up initiatives.

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What do the participants say about the training?