This year is special for the whole world, as we divide our daily lives into periods before and after the spread of COVID-19. We calculate morbidity statistics. We forecast the impact on the economy. We try to keep the same pace of life, we look for solutions, we enable smart technologies. Our lives during the quarantine period seem to be gaining momentum in an attempt to keep up the pace and achieve greater success.
And the non-governmental sector is making tremendous efforts in this crazy period not to stop activities, to adapt to new challenges and to respond to the current needs of society. The National Institute for Social Integration in Lithuania, in cooperation with the Civic Organization Development Center Pangeya Ultima in Ukraine, has been contributing to the development of a democratic society for the first year in a row, providing non-formal training for Lithuanian and Ukrainian youth, in which young people not only contribute to the development of civil society but also take concrete action to improve the quality of life in their communities.
Together with our partners, we are implementing a project funded by the Lithuanian-Ukrainian Youth Exchange Council in 2020, which was funded by the Department of Youth Affairs under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. The project “COVIDA’S can’t stop us” will include distance learning for Lithuanian and Ukrainian youth, which will develop young people’s skills to implement social responsibility (related to environmental protection, citizenship, help for people experiencing difficulties) through volunteering or developing entrepreneurial skills. During the 8-day training (4 academic hours each), we will discuss issues relevant to young people and their opportunities to engage in community activities for a better quality of life. We hope that by the end of the training, young people will have a clear and easy implementation plan for how to take care not only of their well-being during the pandemic year, but also how to improve the quality of life in their community.
We will start the training by analysing general topics related to the development of civil society. How to apply civic ideas in practical, everyday activities. We will discuss the principles of democracy and the possibility of expressing our will during elections. What challenges arise in a democratic election in society, and how each of us can contribute to managing the challenges. After discussing societal issues, we will gradually move to the local community in which we live. We will discuss communication methods in our community and between different social groups in the community. What influence does cultural identity have on communication and collaboration? One of the more interesting and fun moments of the training is that we will learn to learn with young people. By implementing this topic, we will seek to relax the cognitive abilities of the training participants and the possibility to use the information heard during the training flexibly and apply it in their daily life.
During the training, we will discuss the topic of cultural identity with the youth of Lithuania and Ukraine in a changing world. We will get to know different cultural norms. During the discussion, we will talk about what are our pecularities and how to benefit from them, learn to accept people from different cultures and help them adapt more easily to the new community. During this topic, young people will develop their cultural cognition skills and discuss practical ways to help people from different cultures adapt to the new community.
In both countries, there is a tendency for both the public and non-governmental sectors to make great efforts to develop citizenship and democracy, but often young people do not even imagine how to apply these principles in their daily activities. Therefore, we will discuss with young people personal career planning, which is understood more broadly than the choice of study or workplace. When making a career plan, young people will also look at adjacent areas of life that complement the career plan, help them achieve higher goals or provide more satisfaction with their activities. During the practical tasks, young people will develop their career plan by including areas of daily life that will contribute to the development of the community.
When it comes to career planning, we will also assess the entrepreneurial skills of each of the participants, encourage us to think about the concept of business: demand-supply. Only in this case we will encourage young people to identify community problems that can be addressed through small or social business models. Understanding the community’s problems globally, thinking not only about improving the daily lives of community members, but also about climate change and measures to prevent it. We will discuss the proven and failed models of social business, analyse the possible reasons for it and learn from others, create real steps for the implementation of a career plan.
One of the biggest challenges of this training is to find a balance between pursuing community goals and making your activities meaningful, and between developing a positive career plan and daily skills. Therefore, the training will provide young people with information, but will also focus on discussions and analysis of specific situations. Therefore, after discussing the career plan, introducing the principles of entrepreneurship, we will learn to plan a personal budget. Personal budget planning will not only follow the principle of personal gain, but also the economy of consumption, waste of food or waste of natural resources due to lack of responsibility or knowing.
A very important topic that will be addressed during the training is mental health. The impact of a pandemic on mental health in particular. The ability of young people to identify emotional problems will be developed, self-help methods will be discussed and individual, most effective methods of self-help will be sought. Young people from Lithuania and Ukraine will share contacts where you can get help when you are experiencing emotional or mental exhaustion or tension.
The training will take place remotely. This poses considerable challenges for both us organizing trainings and young participants in training. On the one hand, organizing online international trainings obliges us to step out of our comfort zone. Although all training providers are specialists in their field with many years of experience in organizing non-formal education for young people, when organizing training online, the information provided and the methods used need to be looked at more broadly and creatively. Look for new ways of conveying information. Try new ways to attract and retain attention. Remember to organize work on computer hygiene and follow recommendations that support both somatic and mental health of training participants. Training will focus not only on training the participants, but also the training providers themselves will learn a lot about how to effectively use IT tools to organize non-formal training. We will also introduce young people to the latest trends. When discussing the possibilities offered by IT, we will leave a large discussion space where young people will be able to teach each other undiscovered IT tricks and subtleties.
From December 6, we will start our online learning session, to which young people from Lithuania and Ukraine are invited to join. Don’t be afraid if you don’t always manage to say in English what you thought or you don’t always manage to understand what the other wanted to tell you. We are well aware of how sometimes it is difficult to say words aloud in another language when you do not have the ability to use English in practice. We, too, sometimes get stuck and laugh out loud when we forget the words we wanted to say even in our native language. We will be there to help you create a safe space for communication, make new friends and not only listen to boring lectures, but also share your knowledge and skills. We will learn from you too.
So don’t be afraid and don’t hesitate to register!
Registration link: https://forms.gle/uK2qMNMwY8Ekijw38
With confirming your participation in the training to the e-mail address you provided, we will send you information about logging in to the training.