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Variety is the spice of life – try walking in my shoes Call for participants

27/12/2016

YEU is opening a call for 15 participants who will participate in realization of the one-year programme/workplan called “Variety is the spice of life – try walking in my shoes” supported by European Youth Foundation.

We live in ever-changing societies – at the same time world seems both so close but so distant and estranged at the same time. There is a need to connect among people, but at the same time, there is lack of understanding of the differences that exist among us: are we the same as we are always saying?

We in YEU believe that there is a need to enhance understanding about our cultures and identities. How independent we are from norms imposed by societies/communities in which we live in? Only in 20th century we started taking into consideration equality. After strong civil rights and women’s suffrage movements, societies started opening up to individual identities and the fact that personal identity has an aspect one can’t take over such as colour of your skin or gender. On the other hand, individual identity is influenced both by biological and environmental factors and culture is one of the most important one.

However, not all cultures are the same – individualist ones promote and support different values that the collectivist ones. Depending on culture, strength of individual identity and its traits varies across cultures.

European societies are different per se and are constantly being challenged in order to improve personal freedoms, concepts and values in the name of human rights. With the new wave of migrations, fear and uncertainty prevail among people as different cultures might mean changing the habits.

Only in 2015, over one million people arrived to Europe via Balkan route and Mediterranean Sea with three nationalities mostly represented: Syrian (49%), Afghan (21%) and Iraqi (8%) of which 58% men, 17% women and 25% children (source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees).

Being human, showing solidarity and accepting people in need should be priority for each one of us. The process that comes later – social cohesion – is the topic of this workplan. How to ensure intercultural dialogue especially from gender perspective if not by understanding and accepting the differences of your neighbours and of each individual as such? As stated in White paper on intercultural dialogue of Council of Europe: “Freedom to choose one’s own culture is fundamental; it is a central aspect of human rights. Intercultural dialogue is therefore important in managing multiple cultural affiliations in a multicultural environment. It is a mechanism to constantly achieve a new identity balance, responding to new openings and experiences and adding new layers to identity without relinquishing one’s roots. Intercultural dialogue helps us to avoid the pitfalls of identity policies and to remain open to the challenges of modern societies.” Freedom to choose your own gender practices is equally important in order to develop happy and healthy personality, not supressed by environment and justified with nature or tradition.

Workplan will be focusing on following issues:

- Defining new approaches, methodologies and activities in intercultural dialogue and gender diversity practices: YEU believes that if we want to contribute to process of better understanding and importance of personal freedoms we need to understand cultural and gender norms in different societies around Europe. We want to provide new approaches in order to help local communities implement new norms in practice.

- Promoting intercultural and gender perspective in youth work as a cross-cutting/transversal issue: YEU believes youth work should be inclusive and open for all, no matter of background or walks of life. Intercultural dialogue and understanding of gender diversity should be “standards” of youth work. Through cycle of life events, we want to raise various social issues, discuss them and offer new approaches

- Supporting acceptance and increasing visibility of Others: “Walking in my shoes” concept can help understanding different perspectives. If one can’t understand the position of those different than him/her, it is difficult to promote tolerance and co-existence in local communities as small micro-cosmoses of human relations.

Aim of the programme is to build capacities of youth workers to approach intercultural dialogue from gender perspective and contribute to peaceful and more tolerant local communities across Europe providing equal opportunities to all.

We want to raise variety of topics, find new approaches, systematize them and test them (both internationally and locally) and create a guidebook which can be helpful resource to youth workers and their organizations across Europe.

Objectives:
To examine how culture and gender norms affect development of personal identities in different societies, provision of equal opportunities and obtaining personal freedoms
To rethink and deconstruct current practices regarding cultural and gender norms by tackling them through “cycle of life” events (birth, adulthood, death)
To develop competences and encourage young people to use creative and innovative approaches for promotion of active democratic participation of youth of different cultural backgrounds and gender diversity on local and international level

Target groups:
Direct beneficiaries: youth workers, trainers and organizers active in youth organizations and/or local multicultural communities across Europe (15 from at least 10 countries). Indirect beneficiaries: young people from local multicultural communities

Activities:

Activity 1: Breaking the boxes

The main idea and the aim of the Activity 1 is to gather group of experienced youth workers from 15 countries who will examine the situation in Europe regarding understanding of intercultural dialogue and social cohesion from gender perspective and define new approaches, methodologies, exercises and activities which will prepare youth workers around Europe to build more tolerant and understanding societies.

We believe that both gender perspective and intercultural understanding are very important in achieving both equality and equity in societies around Europe. In some, women are still considered to have to be subordinated to a man as “that’s our tradition” while being LGBTIQ+ person is just impossible - as in these societies “such things” don’t exist or are considered to be “not normal”.

Objectives:

To list and “decode” the current cultural practices that have gender perspective - related to birth, adulthood and death with correlation to human rights
To prepare approaches, methodologies, activities and exercises allowing youth workers to put intercultural dialogue and gender perspective as cross-cutting/transversal issue

Result of the activity: set of approaches, methodologies, activities and exercises related to cultural norms and traditions decoded from gender perspective and related to personal and community level.

Topics to be covered with this activity: understanding the concepts: cultural and gender norms and how they relate to identity; patterns of culture: how cultural customs are being developed and how flexible they are; new approaches: developing new methodologies to decode cultural norms and make them more gender sensitive.

Place and dates: Stockholm, Sweden; 06-12th March 2017 (travel dates are not included)

Activity 2: Cycle of life: try walking in my shoes

Activity 2 is an Annual YEU Convention and it will gather 50 young people across Europe. Participants of Activity 1 and 3 will be facilitators of village groups in Convention.

With Activity 2 we will go deeper into the topics of intercultural dialogue from gender perspective and it will serve as both testing of previously developed approaches and their further development. During this activity we will discuss about and analyse intercultural societies, based on the previous research made by participants of Activity 1, through cultural traditions related to cycle of life events: birth; adulthood and death and will try to deconstruct them and approach them with a gender sensitive lenses. The aim of the activity is to take participants to a journey of a lifetime asking them: how do you celebrate birth, how do you grow up and how do you mourn. But there will be a twist: for each of the traditions presented, they will have to put the gender glasses. Apart from learning about other cultures’ traditions, we will be relating each one of them to certain human and social rights as well as discussing the gender roles: when do we start imposing gender boxes, do we accept those that are out of the boxes or we label them as the strange ones, not-normal, not-natural?

BIRTH:
• Cultural norms: when a child is born, what do you do? How do you celebrate? Do you impose religious choice to your child? Is physical punishment approved? (“A beating stick came out of heaven”) who are heroes in your bedtime stories?
• Gender norms: Is pink for girls and blue for boys? How about the toys?
• Rights based: is abortion allowed? How are single mothers seen in society? Do children always get father's surname? Can same sex couples have, adopt or raise children?
ADULTHOOD:
• Cultural norms: are you expected to get married - when and how? How many children you should have? Should you leave home? Will a woman keep its own surname? Is it a shame to have relationships before marriage? Is domestic and sex violence acceptable? Is community violence (towards Others) acceptable? Creating friendships, is it or should be biological-sex-based (women or men groups) or mixed groups are also acceptable? Where can you “hang-out” as set by your culture (male-coffee shops/ female- home)? Where are you expected to sit in religious buildings and where does your freedom “ends” based on religious and cultural expectations?
• Gender norms: Are you expected to work or stay at home (as a woman)? Is your clothing provoking by being short? Should you get education? If a woman, what does first period bring for you? If a LGBTIQ+ person, what sexual awareness brings you? If a heterosexual male - what is your role now? Entering adolescents, are you expected to act differently (men-masculine/ women-feminine)?
• Rights based: apart from getting political rights, do you also get autonomy depending on your gender? Is gender-based violence justified? Are same sex marriages/partnerships/parenthood allowed? Are you free to express yourself, participate or express your identity freely based on your sex or gender?
OLD AGE and DEATH:
• Cultural norms: are you the head of the family even in old age? How do you mourn the deceased ones (e.g mourn songs)? Are graves of your ancestors sacred? How are you expected to express your mourn based on your gender (cry)?
• Gender norms: if your partner dies, are you to remarry? If the “head” of the family/house passes over are you expected to take over based on your gender? What clothing are you expected to wear?
• Rights based: can you inherit your partner’s property? Are you free to decide for yourself from that point and on or someone else does based on the family line (brother “taking over” the leadership)?


Objectives:
To get to know other cultures through simulation of most important life events
To learn how to think outside of the gender boxes by breaking the stereotypes set by cultural and gender norms
To show that different and more equal world is possible by offering different solutions for current practices
To test the approaches and methodologies before and after Convention

As preparation and then follow up, local workshops will be held in local communities to test the new approaches. Workshops before the Convention will be held by participants of Activity 1 and 3 while the follow up ones will be held by participants of Activity 2. The idea of the workshops is to test the approaches and adjust them if needed in order to have them ready to use for Activity 3 and later Guidebook. There will be 30 local workshops held in total: 15 before and 15 after Convention.

Place and dates: Greece/Albania/FYRO Macedonia; 15-27th July 2017 (travel dates are not included)

Activity 3: Spice it up!

Activity 3: "Spice it up!" is an evaluation and follow up seminar foreseen as a closing activity of the workplan. As workplan will bring new approaches, methodologies and exercising, we believe that it is very important to evaluate the process that will involve 15 participants who will actively participate in all phases on the process.

Aim of the activity is to present the newly developed approaches on how to mainstream intercultural and gender perspective in youth work to NFE community, first of all, in order to improve and have them ready for publishing.
Activity 3 is part of the programme with the aim to:

1. learn more about gender equality measures on state level and efforts of NGOs in Vienna to bring gender issues to migrant communities in the city,
2. Test again the activities and get feedback from organizations working in a multicultural and migrant environment
3. Develop the guidebook “Variety is spice of life: try walking in my shoes”
4. Evaluate the process and plan the follow-up
Place and date: Vienna, Austria, 18-25th October 2017
The main outcome of the whole process will be guidebook “Variety is the spice of life: try walking in my shoes” with the main purpose to provide youth workers around Europe with new approaches and methodologies to intercultural and gender mainstreaming in everyday activities. We want to create a useful guidebook which will support development of more tolerant local communities in which personal identities are free to be developed no matter of cultural background or imposed gender norms and expected behaviour.

“Nobody has any right to tell or mock any individual for who or what they want to be or should be.” Our idea is to create a guidebook for youth workers who believe in the statement above and are willing to put their beliefs to practice.

We are looking for dedicated, experienced young people with certain level of experience regarding topics of the programme as well as knowledge and experience in facilitation of workshops, preparation of session outlines (basic) and understanding of non-formal education who can dedicate themselves to the whole process and contribute to development of new approaches to gender and intercultural dialogue.

If you are selected, your role will be following:

Activity 1:

· conducting a research in cooperation with their organization and in given country on cultural and gender norms in their local communities and societies related to cycle of life: birth, adulthood and death as well as social/marital/heritage rights related legislation
· Actively participate in development of new approaches, methodologies

Activity 2:

· taking the role of facilitators and co-creators of educational and pedagogical approach (mentored by the team) responsible for learning outcomes
· Responsible for realization of pre and post-Convention workshops in local communities

Activity 3:

· Evaluating the one year process
· Summing up the approaches, methodologies, exercises and activities and presenting them to NFE community and other stakeholders in Austrian society
· Finalizing the publication

Profile of participants of Activity 1 (and 3):
· Experienced in youth work on local level as following: trainers/facilitators/youth workers/resource persons/organizers
· Members of YEU Pool of Trainers and Organizers and members of YEU Working Group on gender in youth work will have priority but will not be a priori selected
· Dedicated to the whole process
· Participants coming from organizations (volunteers/staff/members) that can support them in the research and implementation of workshops will be highly prioritized.

Financial matters:

YEU will cover food and accommodation for the events you will be attending. Travel costs will be reimbursed up to 70% of costs up to the travel limit maximum set by YEU.

YEU will provide you with modest per diem for implementation of local workshops before and after Activity 2 (YEU Convention).

If you are interested, please apply here no later than 05/02/2017 23:59 (CET).


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YEU has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727066