Implementation period: February 2007 – January 2009
Funding: The EU programme “Youth – Operation 5 – Support measures”
Role of organization: EQ was one of seven participating organizations (from 5 countries). The project leader was ARSIS-Thessaloniki (Greece)
Our research revealed that many youth organizations in Bulgaria were simply “going through the motions” and a significant copycat tendency prevailed. Organizations adhered to prevailing trends and reacted to topical issues often recycling models developed by multinational charities that had filtered down to grassroot level. This deprived youth work of educational and social relevance.
The main goal was reinforcement of informal education and social interaction among young people in community centres and youth clubs. The project was designed to help move away from ad hoc youth activity and to give youth work, especially that undertaken with underprivileged young people, shape and purpose.
- Comparative analysis of the practice in the 5 countries based on desk research and studies visits to “youth centres” or the closest equivalent in each respective country
- Team meetings in Helsinki & Thessaloniki
- Presentation of project findings to stakeholders in each country
- Development of modules in non-formal education
- Modules for exchange among partners and broader dissemination
- Book containing modules and implementation tips
EQ was asked to work in the area of European institutions and organizations. Helping young Bulgarians understand Europe as a political or ()multi-)cultural entity involves lots of “-isms” – particularism vs universalism, individualism vs collectivism, nationalism vs internationalism, traditionalism s modernism. Big words but the ideas were made easy to grasp in the context of a highly interactive workshop delivered to teenagers from schools in Ruse, Shoumen and Teteven.
There is wide variation across Europe in the understanding of the broad, informal educational role of youth centres and the manner in which they complement formal education. In Bulgaria, there appeared to be heavy dependence on large organizations to define themes and to provide loose workshop formulae and educational approaches that were dutifully replicated. This led to a disturbing level of homogeneity.