One of the reasons we came to Palestine and chose to do the EVS in CDCE-I is because we also wanted to use our experience as trainers in Europe and contribute to the capacity building of young people that the organisation here works with. We had our small taste of this already before, but this time, we went all in and fully designed, prepared and delivered our own training!
We had free hands, but after learning a lot about the community and its’ needs, combined with our own knowledge and experience, the non-formal education training we designed was entitled: The role of youth in different environments – Europe and Palestine.What we did!
We started out by discussing the role of youth in society more on a conceptual level. This was done through an exercise where participants had to define themselves in relation to their parents, to their grandparents, to children and to Europeans. We followed up by another exercise (electioneering), where they had to place themselves on a scale from “agree” to “disagree” as answers to statements we read out. This exercise showed that “youth is a thing”, but young people still have different needs internally and disagree on many issues.
Outcomes shows how youth see themselves in correlation with other groups – how they are different from children, parents, elderly people/grandparents how they think they are different from young people in Europe.
We then moved on to stereotypes. In one exercise, the participants’ own bias was tested with the aim to show that stereotypes is something we all have, sometimes subconsciously. After this, participants had to define what stereotypes and assumptions they face as young people in Palestine. How do their teachers, parents and decision makers see them? A discussion followed on how these stereotypes can prevent their participation.
The next day we started with sharing stories from Europe. Participants learnt about youth unemployment in Spain and Roma discrimination in Slovakia – but more importantly – about several amazing initiatives done by young people around the continent! After this, they had to define the challenges they face themselves as Palestinian youth, especially in regards to education, employment and opportunities for spending free time. The last paper was open for any other challenges they want to point out, either the challenges related directly to youth, or challenges in the society in general.
At the end, and as a conclusion of the training, participants discussed what opportunities they have to work for change and created messages they want to spread and share.
The final evaluation showed that participants were happy with the training and found it beneficial. Some of them found it inspiring and could see how to use what they learnt in the future.
What we learnt!
For us, this whole experience was amazing. More than anything, this was a learning experience for us. We learned a lot; how to be flexible with the time, as here punctuality is not really a norm, how to use methods suitable for everyone, how to overcome language barriers and of course, how to do a training with young people who live under occupation. The influence of the environment they live in was pointed out many times at the training, but still did not limit participants to look beyond and find opportunities to address more specific challenges and think of possible actions. It was beautiful to see that in the end, youth is youth everywhere, and they share thoughts and mindsets regardless of their societal situation. Many times in the training, it was mentioned that what makes young people young is the spirit and energy they have, and this is why it is young people that need to fight for better societies – and we couldn’t agree more!