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​Mediterranean Youth Development Empowerment Action Lab (MYDEAL)

- a long-term research initiative -

- since January 2024 -


In the dynamic and diverse Mediterranean especially in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the youth face unique developmental challenges that require innovative and multi-dimensional solutions. The Mediterranean region, characterized by its rich history and cultural diversity, also showcases disparities in economic opportunities, educational access, and social stability. These disparities often leave the youth feeling marginalized and disenfranchised. This has resulted in a growing demand for programs that not only address these inequities but also harness the potential of young individuals to contribute to their communities. There is a need for a new empowerment approach which should be multidisciplinary and synergistic. In this regard, the Mediterranean Youth Development Empowerment Action Lab (MYDEAL) was launched as a continuous holistic response to youth challenges in the MENA region. MYDEAL aims to bridge the current youth disparities and challenges through a capacity-building framework to support empowerment, action, and experiential lifelong learning. The first and direct target group of participants of MYDEAL is youth workers (trainers, mentors, facilitators, managers, group leaders, etc) between 20 and 35 years old who are on the front lines of community engagement and development. By equipping youth workers with tools and methodologies, MYDEAL seeks to enhance their capabilities to foster youth participation in civic, economic, and social domains. MYDEAL is structured around a series of training sessions, and collaborative initiatives that incorporate best practices from Europe while being sensitive to the local context. A key component of MYDEAL is its focus on creating sustainable and scalable models of youth engagement that can be replicated across different countries. MYDEAL adopts a multidisciplinary approach to ensure that the youth not only participate in but also lead initiatives that promote inclusive growth and development. Through its innovative approach and commitment to actionable outcomes, MYDEAL aspires to transform youth work practices and create a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of young people. The first edition of MYDEAL in 2024 is a pilot project which we aim to transform into a long-term sustainable project that serves as a Think Tank for all involved organisations and interested partners. The goal of the pilot phase is to engage, mobilize and encourage 20 youth workers from the Mediterranean region.

Project support:

Supported by a network of international and regional partners, and funded through a combination of grants and co-funding from local stakeholders as well as individual and private funding and crowd-funding, MYDEAL creates a vibrant platform for the service and support of youth. Current activities include (1) a Mobility for Action and a Mobility for Knowledge funded by Anna Lindh Foundation, (2) an ERASMUS+ Capacity Building Project in the field of youth funded by the European Commission, (3) three ERASMUS+ youth mobilities and mobilities for youth workers funded by several ERASMUS+ National Agencies, (4) volunteering partnerships through European Solidarity Corps funded by several ERASMUS+ National Agencies, (5) a young professional talent development program supported by ACCELERAS KG, (6) a capacity building program funded by the Arab Organisation of Diplomacy, as well as (7) research internships funded by two universities from Algeria and Qatar.

Research focus for 2024:
A. Youth work and Non-formal education in North Africa.
B. Digital Skills in youth work in North Africa.
C. Role of Youth Work in Conflict areas, Libya and Jordan.

Training focus for 2024:

A. Gamification for Environmental Sustainability 
B. Transformatory and Emancipatory Approaches for Youth Work


A. Pathway to Civic Participation


The MYDEAL project offers a transformative learning experience designed specifically for youth workers committed to understanding and solving the unique challenges faced by young people in the Mediterranean and MENA regions. This comprehensive program combines research, collaboration, and practical application in a transnational context, with a significant component being a residential exchange in Vienna lasting between two and eight weeks. This learning experience emphasizes research-oriented, collaborative, and practical learning, tailored to address specific regional challenges, and cultivate a network of skilled youth workers equipped to influence policy and practice.


Core Activities:

1. Research Training: Participants begin their journey with an online training module focused on contemporary research methodologies pertinent to social sciences and youth studies. This e-learning covers qualitative and quantitative methods, data analysis, ethical considerations in research, and effective communication of findings.


2. Transnational Collaboration: Recognizing the value of diverse perspectives, MYDEAL facilitates a collaborative environment where youth workers from various countries can exchange ideas, share best practices, and develop joint strategies for addressing youth issues. This phase is enriched by the diverse cultural backgrounds of the participants, fostering a deeper understanding and innovative approaches to common challenges.


3. Transnational Fellowship: At the heart of the MYDEAL learning experience is the residential exchange program in Vienna, which serves as a hub for both academic and practical engagement. During their stay, participants are involved in:


   - Job Shadowing: Participants will have the opportunity to shadow professionals and leaders in NGOs, social corporates, startups, and private organizations that focus on youth development and policy implementation. This real-world exposure helps translate academic learning into practical understanding.

   - Study Visits: Participants take part in visits to successful projects and institutions that are at the forefront of youth work and policy impact in Vienna and potentially broader Austria. These visits provide concrete examples of successful interventions and policies in action.

  - Workshops and Seminars: These sessions are led by experts in youth development, social policy, and regional studies, providing insights into the specific socio-economic and cultural dynamics of the MENA region. Some of these are part of other on-going initiatives such as projects in the framework of ERASMUS+ and some are ad-hoc designed mobilities for knowledge through the ALFINMOTION program by the Anna Lindh Foundation.

   - Hands-on Research: Participants apply their skills in real-time by conducting field research, interviews, and surveys. They work on thematic studies focusing on youth unemployment, civic engagement, gender issues, and digital transformation among youth.

- Development of Policy Briefs and Action Plans: Leveraging their research findings, participants draft policy briefs and design comprehensive action plans aimed at addressing the identified issues. These documents are intended to guide local governments and NGOs in implementing effective youth policies.


4. Capstone Projects: Towards the end of their stay, participants are tasked with designing a capstone project that encapsulates their learning and research outcomes. These projects are presented to an audience of peers, academic mentors, and policymakers, offering a platform for feedback and future collaboration.


5. Networking and Professional Development: Throughout the program, participants engage in networking events with local and international experts, policymakers, and fellow researchers. These interactions not only enrich their understanding and perspective but also enhance their professional networks and career opportunities.


6. Evaluation and Follow-up: Post-exchange, participants receive an evaluation of their performance and contributions. They are encouraged to maintain contact with their cohort and MYDEAL organizers to continue their collaborative efforts and track the impact of their implemented action plans.


MYDEAL seeks dynamic and committed individuals who are passionate about fostering youth development and civic engagement across the Mediterranean and MENA regions. Participants selected for the MYDEAL project are expected to return to their communities as empowered leaders, equipped with new tools, insights, and connections to make a substantial impact on youth development and civic engagement. Ideal candidates for this transformative program will meet the following criteria:


Competence Requirements:

1. Facilitating Learning: Experience or a strong interest in guiding and enhancing learning experiences for others, particularly in informal or community settings.

2. Designing Programs: Skills in crafting educational or training programs tailored to diverse needs and contexts.

3. Civic Engagement: Active involvement in community or civic activities, with a keen interest in promoting civic participation among youth.

4. Citizenship Competence: Understanding of and commitment to fostering active citizenship and community integration.

5. Personal, Social, and Learning-to-Learn Competence: Ability to self-manage, adapt, and continuously pursue personal and professional growth.


Demographic and Professional Background:

- Age: Ideally between 20 and 35 years old.

- Current Engagement: Actively working with or interested in engaging with young people at the local level.

- Civic Enhancement: Capacity and motivation to enhance civic participation within your peer group and the broader youth demographic.


Project Implementation Skills:

- Keen on designing and leading game-based learning projects that educate and engage communities.

- A desire to improve and expand your use of games as educational tools.


Interpersonal and Cooperative Skills:

- Willingness to act as a multiplier, implementing impactful local, regional, or international activities based on the learning from this program.

- Basic interpersonal skills to facilitate effective learning and contribute positively to group dynamics.

- Motivation to collaborate with other participants to maximize the overall impact of the program.


Values and Commitment:

- A strong commitment to European values and principles, including respect for diversity and inclusive practices.

- Commitment to full participation throughout all activities and sessions of the program.


Language Requirements:

- Proficient in English, with at least a B1+ level of comprehension and communication.

Selection of participants:

- All participants are selected and appointed by the partner organisations based on the needed qualifications and expectations.

Selected participants for 2024

Selected participants spend between one week to eight weeks in our program based on the learning agreement and the available synergized opportunities for training and research. Some parts of the program could however be remote and online, as preparatory or follow-up phases. MYDEAL is an ongoing project and activities take place at different times throughout the year. MYDEAL seeks to maximize learning outcomes by combining training and research activities and crossing them with existing projects or future planned initiaitves.

MYDEAL project.png

Future participation: interested youth workers should send their CVs and motivation letters to EMOTIC ( in order to be considered for upcoming initiatives and activities with the participating partners. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and only potentially qualified candidates will be invited for an interview and further assessment.

As the host and coordinator, EMOTiC collaborates with the partners to cover the cost of accommodation, travel, meals, visa, and other related expenses.

We opt for the most cost-effective travel and we arrange the accommodation in hostels or apartments based on the number of participating youth workers at the same time or at overlapping times. In case of accommodation in hostels, participants are asked to make th booking by themselves and they will be refunded upon arrival. Also, participants should buy their travel tickets directly and they will be refunded upon their return to their home country.

Successful candidates are however kindly encouraged to take initiative and contribute with an amount between 10 and 150 Euro to support the indirect costs needed for the implementation, if their financial situation allows and only after the completion of the participation.

Current participating Partners

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