Where on Earth is Hayastan?

The famous words of Neville Chamberlain about “a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing” ought to haunt us today more than ever. Events in faraway places matter to us all directly and we need to overcome our ignorance. We especially need to give young people the opportunity to connect with and learn from each other. And we also have to remember that no matter where we live, our own country is also far away in the eyes of someone else.

Indeed, we don’t even have to talk of countries: recent events in Paris and elsewhere remind us that the next street or neighbourhood may be just as distant in our minds, and the people living there no less unknown.
The challenge and the great benefit of international youth work is to enable contact, learning and respect between young people in a way that can simply never be achieved in the classroom or online. Moreover, this benefit can be brought back home and applied directly to our relations with people across the street. In an age of extremes, governments need to wake up to the possibilities in this simple and cost-effective solution.

These thoughts are provoked by my visit to Armenia this week. Here is a country which is certainly far away and of which I knew nothing, or at least very little – as I am sure do most British people. I didn’t even know the name its own people call it. I have had a glimpse, even if not more than that, into a unique culture, a curious language, proud national identity, a tragic history, and a geography which has placed the Armenians not only at the very crossroads of trade and cultural interchange for thousands of years, but also in a critical position between regions of present day conflict and upheaval, where closed borders are the hard and chronic symptoms of closed minds.

What more appropriate location could there be to bring together representatives of youth and education organisations from all over Europe, who share a belief in the importance of intercultural understanding, and the power of international projects to give young people the skills, experience and confidence to achieve this regardless of their social, economic, educational or cultural circumstances.

The European Network of Youth Centres www.eycn.org is founded on principles of equal opportunity and inclusion, lifelong learning, innovation, and high operating standards. Momentum World is now the UK representative in this group.

At a time when UK public opinion and political rhetoric are becoming increasingly Eurosceptic, Momentum World is proud to be working with free thinking partners all over our shared Europe, in pursuit of open borders and open minds.

Thank you Hayastan.

New opportunity for UK Youth Workers

GALA (Global Actors in Local Actions) is a project that aims to develop global education methods at youth centres and in turn support youth workers and organisations implement this thinking into aspects of their work with young people. It is suitable for youth workers aged 21 or over.
This training course aims to support organizations in their activities within global education, offer participants new tools for their everyday work and offer a space for exchange of ideas and project proposals. There are participants attending from Poland, Italy, Austria, Turkey, UK, Slovakia, Spain and Finland. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet people from different countries, share best practice, and develop ideas for future links and projects.

The training course is being held at the beautiful Villa Elba youth centre, a global education development centre situated in a forest on the west coast of Finland near the small town of Kokkola. At this time of the year the area is covered in snow and there may also be opportunities to view the Northern Lights from the centre.
A registration of £150 is payable to Momentum World. This includes the course fee, contribution to travel costs and and administration. No other costs are required apart from a small amount of pocket money (we suggest 100 euros). All travel, accommodation, food and activities are covered by the project. Momentum World will make the travel arrangements, communicate with the course organisers and ensure that participants are briefed and prepared.
If you are interested in this opportunity please email office@momentumworld.org by Thursday 22nd January. There are 3 places available, and these will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

New Year – New Start

We are pleased to announce that we have received notification that all four of our applications for the October round of Erasmus + Key Action 1 funding have been agreed. In practical terms, this means that the following projects will go ahead;

Centres of Excellence

Centres of Excellence is a multi measure project designed to improve competences of youth workers through the medium of outdoor education. The project will offer youth workers and potential young leaders the chance to participate in the start of a wider movement to multiply understanding of the benefits of outdoor education in the lives of young people and as a wider opportunity in youth employment. The project will involve four phases of youth worker training and one phase of job shadowing. Each phase will take part in a different partner country. In each country participants will be able to see the operation of different types of residential outdoor centres ranging from well established private centres through local authority supported centres to places which are still in development. There will also be opportunities to visit other relevant organisations to compare and contrast different levels of development and priorities e.g. the National Trust operation in the Lake District National Park in England, the Global Education School in Finland, the Kinderfreundhaus in Austria and the new environmental centre in Bulgaria. As well as building a portfolio of understanding about outdoor education, youth workers will be trained in production of film and written media to produce open source materials which will benefit a wider range of other youth workers and young people.Partners are from the UK, Austria, Finland and Bulgaria.

Partners for Inclusion

This is the first of a series of 3 training / partner-building events, aiming to share best practice and build an inclusion network covering the whole of Europe, leading to future partnerships and projects. This  event will be in the UK, for programme countries only. The other two events will be in other European locations (to be confirmed) for programme and partner countries. Countries involved in this first training course are UK, Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey.

One Step Ahead

This is the first of a number of similar training courses for project managers and group leaders, which develops best practice professional standards for organising youth exchanges and other projects with young people. This particular training event will be held in Cologne, Germany. It is a very practical course based around real life examples of activities, problems and risks, and gives participants knowledge, skills and confidence to lead high quality youth exchanges. The course will run several times, in different locations for programme and partner countries. Countries involved are UK, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain & Turkey.

S Factor 2. 

The project will bring together teachers and special needs workers from 8 countries for a training course about the way performance adds value to learning and development of young people in special education. The main focus will be on the use of video as an inclusive learning tool. Training will be provided on film making techniques for music videos. On return home, participants will produce music videos with their groups. These videos will all be viewed at showcase events in each country, and also judged competitively through a Eurovision style audience and panel voting system. Each country will then send one of their original participants plus a policy maker or senior education manager to a final public event in the UK in July 2015, where the winning films will be shown. Countries involved are UK, Austria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy & Slovenia.