Active Citizens, Strong Region: Empowering NGOs for Democratic Participation in the Zasavje Region
PROJECT TYPE: Co-funded by the Proteus project, co-funded by the EU CERV programme
PROJECT PERIOD: 1. 11. 2023 – 31. 10. 2024
FINANCES: 24.923,10 EUR
ABOUT THE PROJECT: The project aims to increase the overall involvement of the non-governmental sector in Zasavje in civic participation and democratic processes. We have set two main objectives, namely to strengthen the NGO sector in Zasavje through networking, partnership building and cooperation with other sectors (decision makers), through capacity building for the implementation of initiatives, and to support NGOs in the development of key competences (training, information and awareness raising) for active involvement in civic engagement and democratic processes at local and regional level and in Zasavje.
The main activities are four training workshops (idea development, financing, advocacy and communication with different publics), networking of NGOs in Zasavje, implementation of a media campaign and preparation of a publication.
TOPICS: democratic processes, empowerment of NGOs, Zasavje
Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
Deciding together - active participation and transparency in participatory budgeting
PROJECT TYPE: Co-funded by the Imapct4values project, co-funded by the EU CERV programme
PROJECT PERIOD: 10.11.2023 – 9.3.2025
FINANCE: 30.000 EUR
ABOUT THE PROJECT: The aim of our project is to increase the visibility, usability and effectiveness of Participatory Budgeting in the Municipality of Trbovlje and to establish a mechanism to monitor the implementation of PB and the progress of the Municipality of Trbovlje in ensuring greater citizen participation.
In addition to the above, our key role is to raise awareness (media campaign) and educate citizens on the importance of their active role in decision-making on the use of public funds (public presentations, workshops for citizens and elected representatives in local communities). We are convinced that their greater involvement will also lead to greater trust between citizens and municipal authorities and to the strengthening of democratic processes at local level.
TOPICS: active participation, participatory budget, participation in democratic processes, Trbovlje municipality
Grow confidence in primary school children
This is a KA2 school cooperation project that is led by secondary school “Academician Mihail Arnaudov” from Bulgaria. The project’s vision is to grow primary school children’s confidence, teaching them to grow up enjoying a positive relationship towards themselves and realize their full potential.
This project aims to grow confidence in primary school children and use newfound confidence throughout their lives. Through the project, we will focus on the causes that lead to low self-esteem in students and eliminate them through various activities in school.This way, we will help students strengthen their emotional intelligence, confidence and overall well being. We will educate teachers to help students learn from mistakes and not fear failing. Students will be able to identify how their mindset can impact their learning.We will also organize workshops for parents on the importance of their children’s
emotional intelligence and teach them how to encourage emotionally intelligent behavior in their children.
The main activities we will implement are:
- Research where we can find good practices that affect the development of self-confidence and collection of them
- Development of a Manual of good practices
- Development of training content
- Development of workshops for parents
- Development of online educational resources
- Development of training tools
The results of the project will be:
- – The Manual of Good practices for growing primary school children’s self-confidence
- – Teacher training
- – Workshops for parents
- – Grow self-confidence online bite-size learning resource for teachers and parents
Education is the key to success
This is a one-year small scale partnership project (KA2), submitted by CEIG Vocational School from Romania, together with us, Bitness from Italy and Çarşamba from Turkey. The project runs from November 2022 – October 2023 and is co-funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme.
With the activities implemented in this project we want to create an 8-module easy to use program for teachers of students aged 14-18 with difficult backgrounds (migrants, refugees, low income, Roma, etc.). Each module will include 5 different activities for students (together 40) on different topics that teachers can easily include in their everyday work with students. We will support the use of the program by providing a LTT for the teachers in Italy.
- 1. Development of an 8-module program (40 different activities) for teachers of students aged 14-18 with difficult backgrounds.
- Implementation of the training for teachers to show them how to use the program.
The project will have the following result:
An 8-module program available online with 40 different activities for teachers of students aged 14-18 with difficult backgrounds:
- Modul 1: Get to know yourself, your talents, passions
- Modul 2: Growth mindset and positive pshycology
- Modul 3: Critical thinking and problem solving based learning
- Modul 4: Me and you (relationships, communication)
- Modul 5: Me and the worls (my contribution to the community, voluntary work, E+ possibilities)
- Modul 6: Make your idea a reality (project management)
- Modul 7: Digital skills
- Modul 8: Finances
Be the Change
This is a one-year small partnership project (KA2) submitted by the partner organization Zarika from Bulgaria, together with us and the ICAD Foundation from Poland. The project will run from February 2023 – the end of January 2024 and is co-funded by the EU Erasmus+ program.
With this project, we want to create an online educational source for youth workers in rural areas to use in supporting young people from these areas in the development of social ideas and social businesses. With this project, we are responding to the challenge of continuing rural-urban migration, which distorts the age, gender, and socio-economic balance by depleting the population of young, well-educated, and economically active people in rural areas we work in.
Activities in the project:
- Mapping and interviewing successful social business owners in partner countries and presenting their know-how.
- Implementation of online educational source Samcart on developing social ideas and social businesses for youth workers in rural areas.
- Implementation of the young people’s mobility as a pilot phase of the project content in Bulgaria.
- Three public presentations (multiplier events) of the project results in Slovenia and Poland, and the final conference in Bulgaria.
Results of the project:
- Mapping social businesses in rural areas in partner countries which include interviews with at least three social entrepreneurs per county on their “know-how”.
- Development of an online education source on developing social ideas and their transformation into (social) businesses.
ERASMUS+ ACCREDITATIONS IN THE YOUTH FIELD
Aspira successfully applied for Erasmus+ accreditation in the field of youth (for KA1) in the autumn Erasmus+ open call. The accreditation allows us to follow our strategy in the area of youth work, in particular working with youth workers and leaders, and to prepare the applications a little faster. Within the framework of this accreditation, we will be implementing mobilities for youth workers, focusing on training that promotes the concept of multiple intelligences.
The accreditation is valid for the entire program, from 23rd December 2022 to 31st December 2027.
Many challenges, such as social inequality, the insecurity of COVID or even new wars, can cause a sense of anxiety that young people cannot always keep up with these challenges.
Our vision within the strategic partnership project, Youth Loop, is to strengthen the resilience of young people, especially young people with fewer opportunities who are vulnerable, through activities related to the video production of short fiction films.
By using short fiction films, which can be a very attractive tool for developing a positive self-image, we aim to ensure that young people with fewer opportunities, as the final beneficiaries of the project, acquire a very useful tool for developing a strong resilience that can protect and empower them to face the challenges in their lives.
The organisations involved in the year-long project are Gombolyag Foundation, Youth Bridges Budapest, IR Media and Aspira.
The project is funded by ERASMUS+.
INTERNATIONAL TREINING FOR YOUTH WORKERS “INSIDE OUT”
At Aspira, we take a very strategic approach to the development of activities that strive for our vision, mission and values. We believe that the power of passion changes the world wherever and whenever. This means that we approach individuals holistically and we offer everyone a supportive environment where they can develop their passions, their talents. And we also stick to this in the development of activities – mobility for youth workers. The project follows our strategy to integrate the concept of a more intelligent model into all activities and our daily work with young people.
We want to support young people as individuals, each with their own talents, strengths, where everyone can develop and strengthen different intelligences, not just the IQ, which is the most exposed. In doing so, we draw on the research of the H. Gardner, who developed the concept of more intelligence, of which the human mind is composed. Gardner recognizes linguistic, mathematical-logical, visual-spatial, musical, interpersonal, inner personal, as a sense of nature and existential center.
TUKAJ IN ZDAJ! Razmišljaj globalno, deluj lokalno. (HERE AND NOW! Think globaly, act localy.)
There is a great need in our local / regional environment to address the issues of climate change and related migration, sustainability and global injustice. Despite the urgency of the problem, which we will all feel on our skin, we do not talk about it and so far was addressed.
The challenge of climate change is unimaginable and remote for most people, so we want to show how we feel about this change today and what each of us can do to contribute to improvement. The aim of the project is to raise the level of awareness of these topics in our environment and the role of each individual in achieving a better and more sustainable future for young people and our local communities. We will also present examples of good practices that are already working in the world.
KREATIVNI PREBOJ TRBOVELJ
Trbovlje is known as part of the “rdeči revirji”. Here, life was always demanding, which encouraged people to connect with each other and help each other, the so called “kamerašaft”. Networking between people also took place in various societies, intergenerational cooperation and knowledge transfer were established, and cultural activities were lively. In recent years, however, we have noticed that cultural and other societies are dying out and that the space for independent action is shrinking. This aspect is especially emphasized by young people working within the Mladinsko gledališče Svoboda Trbovlje, which is one of the few active associations with a large number of young members. Also in their cultural house, some sections that used to function (especially various choirs) have recently died out. The young people also pointed out the main need is to preserve the building of the “Dom Svoboda” in the ownership and management of the associations that operate in it. We also checked this need when addressing potential partners and they all found that there is no creative space in Trbovlje where we could work and co-create various activities on a daily basis, so we are addressing this topic with the project.
It is a one-year small partnership project (KA2), applied by the Kulturno rekreacijski center Hrastnik together with us and the Youth Club Active partners from Estonia. Project is starting in October 2022 and it is co-financed by the EU Erasmus + program.
The purpose of the project is to create 40 attractive public spaces for greater physical participation of young people and socializing in Hrastnik, Slovenia and Tallinn, Estonia, with the active participation of young people (13-16 years) in our local environment with the help of elements of gemification. In this way, we respond to the deteriorating physical and consequent mental health of young people after a pandemic.
The whole process of gemification (know how) will be also recorded in the manual.
Building trust for growth mindset for Socially Excluded Youth
It is a one-year small partnership project (KA2) registered in Belgium, with Aspira participating in it as a partner. The purpose of the project on how to support socially excluded young people is to strengthen the foundations of happiness and improve well-being among children. Partners come from Portugal, Belgium and of course Slovenia.
The aim of the project is to promote a growth mindset among socially excluded young people and to prove that adolescents’ abilities are not only fixed but changeable, depending on how much effort we put into achieving what an individual wants most from life.
The project will analyze and collect good practices, the availability of opportunities and curricula within the growth mentality within the participating organizations. Based on this data, we will develop the structure of educational content, educational goals and the topics and content. The content will be used to create a training program and supported by training material. After the training, we will conduct pilot training in the local environment.
With the project, we will influence socially excluded young people, and by the end of the project, socially excluded young people will know what a growth of mentality is and will be able to recognize examples in their lives. They will also feel more motivated to achieve their goals.
My story begins …
“My story begins” project is a one-year small partnership project prepared by Aspira in cooperation with partners from Slovenia (Solsticij, Institute for Cultural Activities, Ljubljana) and Spain (Espacio Rojo and Mad for Europe). Through this project, we unite the youth and cultural sectors in the development of a methodology for working with young people in the field of documentary film.
Our goals are:
- Develop and disseminate a methodology that will equip youth workers with knowledge of the documentary film process as a medium for working with young people.
- Involve young people directly in the whole process of making a documentary.
- Extend the positive effects of cross-sectoral cooperation, thus enabling their contribution to promoting solidarity.
The activities we are planning include the development of methodology and thus tools and knowledge on how to organize workshops for young people in the field of documentaries. We will conduct local / national workshops on documentary filmmaking, with the participation of 10 young people in each partner country (young people with fewer opportunities). We will conduct international training for 8 youth workers on the use of documentary film in youth work, based on our developed methodology, and implement the final dissemination events of the project in both countries.
- Methodology manual for conducting workshops on documentary filmmaking for young people.
- Two documentaries made by young people from Slovenia and Spain.
- A short documentary on a project that promotes cross-sectoral cooperation.
Closing event of the “My story begins…” project
Back to school, the foundation of happiness
Experiences from the previous period have taught us that learning requires a motivating factor and that only a satisfied and smiling child has an openness to new knowledge and strengthening their competencies. After a long period of online teaching and partial use of the living word, we believe it is necessary to find a new way that would make it easier for teachers and parents to make their children happy.
Teachers should be provided with instructions and training to motivate students, as well as instructions for selecting and implementing a happiness curriculum. Teachers usually focus only on students ’academic skills and do not pay attention to the importance of their social and emotional skills. With this, we conclude that teachers also need additional education and gaining new knowledge on how to make their students happy.
Parents of students are not teachers and often students do not have the support of their parents due to parental work, but also due to the inability of parents to help students in mastering school materials. Therefore, it is necessary for this project to provide support to parents in order to participate with the help of teachers in creating a curriculum of happiness for students.
Happiness - simple solution for complex problems
This project is a two-year cooperation partnership project (KA2) applied in Bulgaria and Aspira as a partner. The aim of the project is to consolidate the foundations of happiness and improve the well-being of students in secondary schools. Partners come from Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and of course Slovenia and Bulgaria.
Promoting well-being in schools can sometimes seem at odds with other priorities, such as academic standards. Unreasonably high expectations, a regime of constant testing, or an overemphasis on the importance of academic performance can actually undermine student well-being. Pupils need additional non-academic services with an emphasis on happiness to gain strength and positively reshape all their perceptions of well-being: intellectually, emotionally, socially, professionally, personally, as well as their vision of the future.
Digital Storytelling for Youth Mental Health
DYME is a two-year cooperation partnership project (KA2) applied in Hungary and Aspira as a partner. DYME project aims to use a digital storytelling approach to raise awareness and empower young people to cope with challenges and mental health issues, supporting them in building resilience among peers in their communities. Partners come from Portugal, the Netherlands, Slovakia and, of course, Slovenia and Hungary.
Through applying digital storytelling, featuring first-person stories at the country and local levels, the project will allow youth to share and learn from peers’ experiences. Thanks to the wide partnership of experts in youth work, digital marketing, and the creative industry, we will support young people in designing and delivering awareness campaigns and initiatives that will enable them to be actively engaged in health promotion. Youth-focused social networks initiatives will help us empower a wide range of young people to volunteer, exchange knowledge, and spread awareness. We will develop a bite-sized eLearning resource to offer young people a repository with easy access to information material on mental health addressing the challenges and offering solutions.
Women Empowerment is a one-year small scale project (KA2) applied in Poland and Aspira as a partner. The purpose of the project is to empower 18+ women from different backgrounds and to exchange good practices of women’s empowerment between partners. The project partners come from Poland, Italy and Slovenia.
Results of the project:
- Journal “Finding my Balance”
- EDU-LARP “In the Labyrint of the Goddess”
- 12 educational workshop scenarios
The activities we plan within the project are:
- December 2021 – May 2021 – 6 webinars for the exchange of good practices in working with 18+ women among the project partners.
- January – September 2022 – conducting 54 online English conversation workshops for beginner, intermediate and advanced groups of 18+ women participants. Workshops will be held twice a month. The purpose of the workshops is to empower participants in communication in a foreign language and knowledge of topics important in and for the EU. The workshops are also part of the participants’ preparations for international mobility to Poland, which will take place in September 2022.
- April – June 2022 – implementation of 9 local activities, i.e. workshops “Singular, Dual, Plural” in Slovenia, in which women will realize their potential, improve their communication and formulate an idea to improve (their) position in the community and also put it into practice.
- July – September 2022 – design of products for women’s empowerment 18+.
- September 2022 – International meeting of participating women (8 from each country) in Poland (7 days, including travel).
International youth worker’s mobility - networking High quality (net)work
The year 2021 brought us not only the beginning of a new financial perspective and new EU programs, but also a new reality in which all organizations in the field of youth and education found themselves and which will need to be adjusted due to covid-19. Numerous studies have shown what consequences the pandemic has left on young people around the world, including Europe. From 2020, young people were faced even more intensively by the following: 87% of the world’s youth population remained in closed schools, their mental health deteriorated (MSS-mental-health-of-youth-MSS-003-21.pdf), youth unemployment has risen, the number of young people among migrants and refugees is increasing (https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/sg_report_socio-economic_impact_of_covid19.pdf). Our organizations will also face many of these challenges in the coming months and years. The Covid crisis, whether we like it or not, has brought many changes and limitations that also affect our operations and activities on a daily basis. That is why we find it particularly important that organizations meet at this time (at the beginning of the new EU financial perspective), build long-term strong partnerships and work together to respond intensively to the challenges mentioned above.
Youth worker’s mobility - Kinetic youth - move to grow
“Kinetic youth-move to grow” is a mobility for youth workers under KA1. The main activity of the project is the training for youth workers in the field of dance and movement as a powerful tool in working with young people. The project aims to equip youth workers with competences to promote and develop kinetic and emotional intelligence in young people. We strongly believe that non-formal learning is active learning of individuals, that creative expression leads to critical thinking and that creativity is a very powerful tool for self-awareness and the amazing tool for discovering one’s authentic self, which is very necessary for young people during adolescence. Dance and movement provide a way of learning that develops communication skills, problem-solving techniques as well as creative and critical thinking skills as well as kinetic skills.
Youth worker’s mobility - BE smART!
Project BE smART! is a training for youth workers, which is dedicated to the development and strengthening of visual – spatial or. imaginative-creative intelligence with the help of 5 techniques and methods from art (drawing, painting, collage, architecture and sculpture) for young people that we work with or we get in touch. The human mind is made up of different intelligences. According to H. Gardner, these are linguistic, mathematical-logical, visual-spatial, musical, interpersonal, internal personal, as a sense of nature and existential center (https://isio.acs.si/doc/N-485-1.pdf). K. Geržan defines them as rational, social, emotional, spiritual, intuitive, imaginative-creative, physical-motor, aesthetic and intuition of irony (95 tez za izhod iz slepe ulice vzgoje in izobraževanja, 2019). With the project, we want to raise awareness of multi-intelligence and put the young person at the forefront, adapt methods and ways of working to their needs, strengthen their weaker intelligences and support the development of their strong intelligences.
KA227 - Partnerships for Creativity Youth+Art=Resilience
Youth + Art = Resilience project is a project within the ERASMUS + program, strategic partnerships in the field of creativity. The call was published in response to the crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the project, Aspira Institute wishes to build a bridge between the currently most vulnerable target group – young people (indirectly the youth sector) and the sector that gives the most inspiration for resilience (art and culture).
At the moment, young people face a high risk of social exclusion and are only a step away from being pushed into one of the categories of young people with fewer opportunities by the current situation. Some categories are obvious, such as economic barriers, social and health problems, but what happens to other young people who are marginalized, such as people with disabilities and young migrants? Do they face even more difficult situations than ever before? Although we cannot solve economic and health barriers at once, we can ensure faster recovery, strength and hope for young people by giving them the opportunity for resilience, giving them a voice and visibility in society.
Overcoming Fear of Failure
The project aims to solve the most significant issues that prevent young people from starting any endeavour – fear of failure, which has roots in shame culture. The project will equip youth workers, leaders and young adults with methods, tools, and guidance to be able to plan their future and apply it into reality without fear of failure. In a morally supported culture, called a guilt culture, “you know you are good or bad by what your conscience feels. In a shame culture, you know you are good or bad by what your community says about you, by whether it honours or excludes you. In the shame culture, social exclusion makes people feel they are bad”.(Crouch 2016, The shame culture – https://bit.ly/3cJZuB4 ) The omnipresence of social media has created a new sort of shame culture, since it’s a world of constant display and observation, where success equals inclusion and acceptance. Our internal research found interesting facts in the study “The effect of You Can Do It! Education in six schools on student perceptions of wellbeing, teaching, learning and relationships”, where researchers have developed and implemented a positive psychology program through a “Train the trainer” methods. The results indicated an overall positive effect on students’ attitudes and self-perceptions of different aspects of their wellbeing, fostering motivation and confidence.
The Aspira Institute is a partner in the strategic partnership project in the field of adult education, within the ERASMUS + program. The CreADtivity project “The Dynamics of Creativity in Vulnerable Adult Target Groups through Art ” is based on the development of creativity through art-related activities. Art in adults in a state of vulnerability is a proven successful tool for the development of creativity, with the help of which we also develop and strengthen competencies for better employability.