As the first face-to-face activity included in our annual work plan, the international seminar represented its main phase. It took place between 25th and 30th July, in Macedonia and it gathered 30 participants, 13 boys and 17 girls from 10 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Macedonia, Turkey). The seminar made participants reflect on their personal, organisational and national realities about climate change, focusing on the effects that they can see in their countries, the measures that are taken in each country and what can be done at personal level. It placed the participants in a culturally diverse environment and asked them to reflect on how the topic is seen in their family and friends groups, in their organizations, by their authorities and by the citizens of their countries.
The seminar followed the traditional SEE-JUDGE-ACT methodology of MIJARC (see more about this methodology here). The first day started with some introductory sessions covering the logistical issues, the agenda, MIJARC presentation and getting to know each other. Next, the two working groups were described:
Group 1 – changes in the ecosystem – led by Veronika Nordhus
Group2 – social injustice and climate changes – led by Magdalena Rapeshovska
The participants were asked to choose their group. Then the programme continued with a short presentation of the online training course, the previous activity of our work plan. This was done through a competition between six teams that had to go through six different work stations, each station focusing on one unit of the training course. The afternoon was dedicated to exchanging realities about climate change. Group 1 explored this through a role-play game “Who’s most at risk”, in which participants received role cards and had to answer questions which made them reflect on their level of vulnerability. Group 2 played a game “Cross the river” in which they had to reflect on the inter-connections of the elements of an eco-system in order for the entire team to cross the river. The second session of the afternoon was a plenary session which started with the projection of the movie “5 ways to kill a man“. Next, the participants split in two groups and had a guided discussion about the movie focusing on several questions such as: What are the most interesting pictures in the film and what do they mean? Can you personally relate to what is happening in the movie?
The second day was dedicated to the SEE part. Group 1 played an interesting simulation game with three teams, involving country cards, continents and the task to carry a balloon full of water on that continent following special rules. After the simulation, the group analysed the different country cards and the challenge to raise the life standard and the wish to consume more without raising the ecological footprint. Group 2 started with the “Web of life” game, which reflected how everything is connected and how destroying one element results in the destruction of the entire web. Next they continued split in three teams who had to research and present to the others the causes of climate change: 1. Internal factors 2.External factors 3. Human factors.
The third day was dedicated to field visits and meeting with an expert on migration and refugees. The field visit took the participants to the Ancient Megalithic Observatory of Kokino and it was led by a geography teachers from a high school in Kumanovo. The idea of the visit was to reflect on the influence of man on his living environment, the adaptations that he had made as well as the effects of the geological and climate factors to this site. In the afternoon, the participants met Aleksandra Davidovska, an activist who started working as a volunteer when the migration crisis in Macedonia began and ended up working for an international organisation on the topic of migration and refugees. Her input was intense and provided a great correlation with the lectures in the online TC that focused on climate change-caused migration.
The last day focused on the ACT part and the participants spent all day creating tools and putting their ideas into practice. They can up with many nice outputs which included:
- Position Paper – which summarises the conclusions of the entire seminar and gives the guiding points of the approach that young people should have during the summer camp and their local campaigns
- a video message – to encourage the participants at the summer camp to act for real changes
- Clue Game – to have fun while discovering the main facts about climate change
- a flash mob idea – to be done in every movement
How was it?
The post-seminar evaluation showed that most of the objectives were achieved: 90% of the participants said that they got the chance to exchange about the realities in their country concerning the sustainable practices to prevent climate change. More than 50% considered that they developed their creativity and critical thinking. 80% appreciated that they were able to create a common position of all the participants on the topics addressed by the seminar, identifying commitments and demands for the follow-up of the activity and more than 60% considered they developed practical tools and examples on how to help and raise awareness on the issue of climate change.
Who prepared everything?
The Think Tank, of course! The Think Tank was the team who prepared the contents of the seminar and facilitated the sessions. There were all young volunteers who responded to a call of interest launched by MIJARC Europe in the network of its member movement. The Think Tank members were: Veronika Nordhus (Germany, member of the European Team), Jeroen Decorte (Belgium, member of the European Team), Magdalena Rapeshovska (Macedonia), David Vermeulen (Belgium), Bledi Cami (Turkey) and Daniela Ordowski (Germany). The Think Tank was supported by the Secretariat of MIJARC Europe, represented by Alexandra Solomon (Romanian, living in Belgium) and by Florina Potirniche (Romania).
Inspired by our successful training course on youth unemployment and answering the request of several member organisations to offer training courses and contribute to the training of their members, MIJARC Europe decided to organize its first online training course.
Why this title?
We initially wanted to offer the course on Moodle an open source software. This is why the course was called “In the mood(le) for climate change”, playing with the name of the platform and the expression “to be in the mood” which means feeling like doing something or fancying something. However, when testing the course on this platform it turned out it was a bit difficult for users to interact and build content on it so we switched to a platform that was easier to use and required minimum computer knowledge. That’s why the name changed into “In the mood for climate change?” which is a good question we should all ask ourselves: are we really in the mood for experiencing the consequences of climate change?
How did it all start?
With a team meeting, of course, a meeting during which the team approved the activities for the current year following the topic that was voted by the general assembly: climate change and sustainable development. We included the training course in our annual work plan and after some months we received the good news that out work plan had been approved for financing. That is when the entire adventure began: send the call for trainers, read CVs and motivation letters, have interviews and finally select the team of two trainers: Thomas Gits and Florina Potirniche, who together made a great team of knowledge on climate change and sustainable development, training experience and e-learning tools savvy. Then, as they started working on the contents and structure, our team launched the call for participants. Finally, on 2nd May, we published our first learning unit on teachable.com and from then on we spent eight challenging but really rewarding weeks of online interactions with the trainers, the lectures, the participants, videos, articles, games, photos and interesting online sources.
What is teachable.com?
Teachable.com is a free online learning platform on which anyone can start an online course and offer it to participants for free or for a certain fee.
What was the course all about?
The course had a total of eight units, each spanning on one week with an active involvement of 3 hours, which meant that each week participants had to spend about three hours online to go through the lecture, fulfill the weekly tasks and take the unit quiz. Our participants were free to organize their time and decide for themselves when they wanted to work on the quiz. Each unit was published on the first day of the week and it remained available for the entire duration of the course. The first unit was an introduction unit in which we described how the course works, what are its objectives, how it is structured, what is the curriculum and answered participants’ questions. We also included in this unit a pre-course self-assessment questionnaire, with 19 questions, asking participants to evaluate their level for each of the competences the course was targeting. This gave us a reference point for evaluating the learning impact after the end of the course. In the second unit we wanted participants to get to know each other so we adapted the famous “Human Bingo” game to our online environment. We asked everybody to go on the website www.ifitweremyhome.com and compare their country to at least five other countries. Then they had to shoot a 1-minute video presenting themselves and three insights they got from the website. In the end, we made a quiz with questions about who said what in their video. It was a really fun unit and the engagement of the participants was great. It made the course feel more alive and it improved the dynamics of the group. The next unit offered an introduction into climate change and why it is happening. It help participants understand how the Earth functions and why it is warming up. In unit 4, the knowledge acquired was consolidated with information on why human being should care about climate change looking at how it will affect us and they way we live. The next unit took participants on a journey around the world, exploring see, land and air and the most vulnerable regions of the world in order to understand the effects of climate change and understand that just because we are not feeling it ourselves it does not mean that it is not happening. The next unit shifted the focus on the individual, exploring what role each of us plays in climate change and what we can change in our lifestyle and the way we do things in order to reduce our carbon and climate footprint. Unit 7 shed some light on how climate decision are taken at world level and how they influence national measures and policy. The participants got the chance to explore the SDGs, the results of the COP21, how human rights are related to climate change and what the Council of Europe is doing on the topic. Finally, the last unit included a final quiz, an interactive board for feedback and the after course self-assessment quiz.
The last unit brought some extremely rewarding moments for the entire team as we were finally able to have a real measure of the learning impact and to hear from the participants how they saw the course and whether it was a useful experience for them or not.
The course was implemented by a team of two trainers who worked closely with the European coordinators and the European Team. Before being launched the training was tested with four volunteers and with the members of the Think Tank for the seminar. There were 24 participants enrolled in the course, 16 girls and 8 boys, from 11 different countries. They were all aged between 18 and 30 years old and came from MIJARC movements. The course was and still is open for everybody.
Was it useful?
As the course was the first activity of the work plan it was of crucial importance but it turned out that the idea was extremely well-received in our member movements and in their local groups. People were extremely interested in this kind of learning and the news that we were having an online TC on climate change reached even MIJARC World. This is why we benefited from the participation of one young man from Kenya. The course was important because it introduced our annual topic to all our members and it gave a solid basis to build on. Also, the idea was immediately taken up on by two of our member movements, KLJ-Belgium and APSD-Agenda 21, who contacted us to help them understand the platform better and help them use it for their own activities. The testimonials written by the participants after finishing the course show how the course was useful for them:
I thought the course was really interesting. I learned a lot about climate change in general and I learned some new things I could use in my lessons in high school. It was good the way it was, maybe we could have had some more interactive activities. Thank you for all the hard work!
This course is something I was really interested in. One unit was not really for me but it was great to know more about it. It was very good to work with a lot of feedback to every units and to mix the training course with questions and videos. This course will be a huge advantage in the discussions and work during the Seminar and Summer camp. When I couldn’t understand some words, I translated them and it was good to know the most important words related to climate change before we met face to face. Thanks Florina and Thomas for the energy you both put in the training course.
This course was very interesting. I really learned a lot of things I didn’t know. I knew climate change was a problem, but I didn’t know it was so urgent to take action. Now I am more aware of my own ecological footprint and I really liked the information. The variation was very fun: videos, tests, reading material, pictures. Thank you for letting me be a part of this!
I have learned a lot in this more or less intensive training course. Now I am more aware of the urgency of Climate Change. The course was really well structured and rich in variety. In one lesson there were too many videos for my taste, but all in all I am very happy to be a part of it and to get the opportunity to attend the seminar in Macedonia. Thank you Florina and Thomas for your excellent work. Looking forward to seeing you in three weeks.
I learned a lot about climate change from this training. My interest increased and I am very motivated to do more to save our world. Thank you so much!
Hediye Şura Çan
After the end of the course, the two trainers worked together on a Training Manual that was based on the content of the course, but was adapted to using it during face-to-face meetings.
So, did we convince you to learn more about climate change? If so, you can still join our course on http://imcc.teachable.com/p/imcc, or you can use the offline Training Manual that was created in order to be used in offline training course. Don’t forget to let us know how it was by writing on our Facebook and Twitter page!
The online training course “In the mood for climate change” was one of the activities included in the annual work plan of MIJARC Europe which was co-financed by the Council of Europe through the European Youth Foundation.
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With support of Erasmus+ and Katholisher Fonds MIJARC Europe and KLJB Germany together with KLJ Belgium, YMDRAB Bulgaria, EiR Poland, GUG Malta and APSD Agenda 21 Romania organised a summer camp “Better together – we care about rural areas”. It took take place in Passau, Germany from 24th to 31st August.
Rural areas cover 90% of EU’s territory and account for approximately 50% of its population. Today, in rural areas of the EU there are approximately 13 million young people aged between 15 and 24. Unfortunately, the life in the villages is less attractive for the youngsters due to lack of good job opportunities, careers, transport, education, health, entertainment and amusements. The lack of these necessities is forcing young people to migrate to large cities, foreign countries or continents and therefore leaving behind aging populations and depopulated areas. This in turn leads to closure of schools, hospitals and shops in the villages. Thus, rural areas become even more unattractive for young people and young people migrate to seek better employment, education and life, which weakens rural development.
– to analyse and exchange the realities in the communities and best practices on the topic;
– to experience intercultural learning by exchanging realities, opinions and values with other rural young people from Europe;
– to raise awareness about realities in rural areas in Europe and rural development;
– to empower young people to take an active role in the development of rural areas;
– to raise awareness about differences and similarities in rural areas in Europe;
– to increase the involvement of young people in the social life in local communities and develop projects, based on an intercultural approach.
Do you want to find out more?
During the summer camp, the participants had the chance to decide on which tools would be more useful for them to disseminate the results of this activity.
As a result an A 4-page flyer with the summary of the activities, crossword created by the participants and several photos of the event (a printing version of the flyer is also available) was created.
If you want more info, please contact us through office-europe(at)mijarc.info
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Thanks to the support of the Council of Europe through the European Youth Foundation and The Arkleton Trust Fellowship, MIJARC Europe organized a seminar from the 28th July to the 2nd August 2014 on the topic of sustainable agriculture.
This project is entitled: “Eating, Producing and Deciding: our choice and our voice for the future agriculture in Europe” and it took place in Marconne in the North of France.
Why this topic?
Agriculture is historically one of the main topics within MIJARC. A few decades ago, in France’s, Germany’s, Belgium’s, Spain’s, and surely in many other countries’ rural areas, some priests have put their faith into action by going to meet the farmers, and especially the young ones, to “improve” their social condition. For many of them, the situation was the same as for many centuries backwards: hard work, small wage and poorness.
Nowadays, the agricultural landscape has totally changed. Not especially in the hard work and the small wage, but in the place it takes: the number of farmers exponentially decreased, merging lot of small farms into few big ones, and thus making it even more difficult – especially for young people – to take over a farm or settle as farmer.
Parallel to this, due to many factors, the work in itself changed: First, the use of chemicals along with the intensification and mechanisation of the cultures brought the consumers into the debate: what do I eat? Is it healthy, hazardous? Is it sustainably produced, environment-friendly speaking?
Besides this, the globalisation of the economy brought the concern to the policy-makers: how can we regulate this world-scaled marketing of food? In Europe, the choice has been done through the long process of creation of the European Union, investing public money into this vital sector (the so-called Common Agricultural Policy – CAP).
This topic is today’s reality of agriculture in Europe.
What was discussed during this seminar?
In this context, we spent the 4 days seminar among a diversity-full European youth group to:
1) observe this context: namely the place of the youth in farming, training facilities, consumption behaviour and taking into account young people’s mind in the process of policy making; (SEE)
2) judge it, through field visits and expertises; (JUDGE)
3) propose actions and remedies to what we will find out (ACT)
During the SEE part the participants worked in two groups:
Group 1: The production and consumption behaviours
Today’s agriculture is part of the global market and at the two endings of the branch, the producers and the consumers, impact on it a lot. By considering the behaviours of these 2 major actors, the group was trying to specify what is the agriculture model of tomorrow. This axe led to three subtopics:
– the production behaviour: what are the possibilities, constraints and challenges for the producer who is at the very start of the chain? How should the agriculture of tomorrow look like to feed the planet by ensuring a sustainable development?
– the consumption behaviour: which choices is the consumer faced with when buying? What are the solutions to deal with the problematic of local food in a global market? We will discuss about the influence of the consumers: by your decisions during the shopping you are able to change things. Also you will learn about new alternative ways of selling agricultural products. We will lastly speak about the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms of selling.
– the food sovereignty: how can a people be at the decision-making of its food-related issues? How should the agriculture of tomorrow be organised at the world level to ensure quality and quantity of food in a sustainable way?
Group 2: The place of Youth in Agriculture
In every sector, in every project, young ideas and new power are essential to avoid conducting to death. But in agriculture, the place of youth doesn’t always go without saying! The group focused on the access to farming for young people, tackling 3 subtopics:
– the image of agriculture among young people (the “psychological barrier” to farming) : especially in the growing Eastern Europe, but also in the rest of the continent, youth are often relating agriculture to dark rurality and absence of horizons in life. But may know that it is something else in fact! How can we change this?
– the access to land for young people (the “financial and social barrier” to farming) : the property of land has become a big challenge, and youth especially suffer from this reality. Because they come from a non-farming family, or because they are at the beginning of their life and do not have enough financial resources to purchase land. Moreover, the farming model of big farms leads to more and more concentration of land and hardly allows someone to start a new farm. Even if this is to ponder for each region, the question is : is it possible to settle as a young farmer today, and if yes what are the factors that lead to a successful settling?
– the training facilities for young people (the “educational barrier” to farming) : lack of facilities for training may also be a obstacle for young people to settle as a farmer. Moreover, the training content is maybe not diversified enough to allow every kind of farming model to develop. How is the situation and how can we move on?
Coordinating Team of the Seminar:
Think Tank (group of volunteers who engaged in research about the topics and facilitation of the working groups):
Severin Kessler (Germany), Marina Grigorova (Bulgaria) , François Bausson (France), Jeroen Decorte (Belgium), Jan Vanwijnsberghe(Belgium), Olivier Dugrain (France).
Publications and outcomes
The Think Tank members and the Secretariat of MIJARC Europe were also responsible for the creation of a complete Report of the seminar, featuring the description of the activities, links to videos, games and presentations and illustrated with photos from the event.
You can find the videos on MIJARC Europe You Tube channel:
Each day the participants were asked to describe the activities and share their feelings about them. The MIJARC Europe Secretariat has collected the opinions in the Report written by the participants.
By the end of the seminar the participants have created a Newspaper with press releases on the topics discussed during the seminar.
Daily posts were published on MIJARC Europe Facebook Page.
The participants were encouraged to publish articles in their local/regional/national media. We will post hereby the links as soon as they’ll be available.