What is the "Young Eco Facilitators for the Sustainable Future" project about?

The idea of the strategic partnership came across in 2016 based on the demands on all of our local levels and internationally, as we wanted to enable young people to think consciously and apply a proactive approach in their everyday lives.

Human and Nature: The right relationship can enhance humans well-being

There is little or no contact with nature in the lives' of young people, what is more, the only educational contact to nature is the so called "forest camp", or "camp school". We believe that it is a great non-formal learning process for the youngsters to get first hand experience with nature, and not only see animals, and plants in school books, but gaining their own experiences by touching and feeling the nature by spending some quality time in a national park, or other natural environments.

"This project aims to prolong this experience and give the youngsters an opportunity to keep and practice this open mindset in their every day lives."

Learning through direct contact with nature can be one of the most mind-opening experiences.

To reach our goal, we have planned this multi level project, in which our aim is to educate those adults who are in direct contact with youngsters, who work with them either professionally or in their free time. We would like to enrich adults with new methods and approaches so that they can work with youngsters more effectively.

"This could be reached by strengthening the adults' facilitation and coaching competencies through the horizontal topics of 
human-ecology, sustainable development and environmental consciousness."

The previous experiences are that even though there are plenty of people who do facilitation, but only a few have the actual skills, experience and knowledge on how real facilitation works. This project aims to change this, by training 40 international youth leaders on the topic of facilitation and coaching. In the youth field, and in the non formal education as it is, facilitation is one of the most important roles in order to make the activity flow perfect.

The other aim of the project is that these adults, who gain these skills and methods about the environmental consciousness approach, could be so called mediators to the indirect target group, the youngsters and involve them in activities by organizing local local activities for them.

Organizing local activities for the youngsters is a key component of the project

These local activities also help participants to practice their new skills of facilitation, and give them a chance to explain to the youngsters why it is good to think a bit before we act, or think a bit about the global consequences about our daily decisions. 

This message is important, to make youngsters aware at a young age that our daily routine, our actions, even if they are small, everything has some global impact, and we are only one part of the whole, global world.

Our everyday actions have a global impact, even if we don't realize this.

It is a very important goal of the project to raise awareness even at such an early age as elementary school to live our life more environmental consciously, to think about the consequences of our daily actions, to think beyond the products we purchase, and to think about why and what we do, and what the consequences are on the global system.

The uniqueness of the Young Eco Facilitators project is that it will provide adults not only the facilitation methods, or knowledge about environmental issues, but uses a holistic approach, and teaches a holistic approach to the adults.

By training these 40 young adults, our aim is to create an international group of young facilitators who are able to work and cooperate on local and international levels, joining the work of each of the partner organisations in each of the countries.

Who are the partner organizations?

Leader of the partnership: SZATYOR ASSOCIATION 

Szatyor Association is a place and a community for ‘green thinkers and doers’. Our mission is to bring environmental conscious living closer to citizens committed for small or big changes positively impacting our environment`s current state. We believe that we all have the opportunities and choices for eco-conscious life, here at Szatyor  we provide knowledge, information, practices to discover more in this regard.

Our association is based in Budapest and recently started a pilot project in Etyek. Apart from running a shop as our social entrepreneurship providing local, seasonal and organically produced food alternatives, we organize trainings, farmers's visits, experience sharings, common natural food preserving and cooking, natural cosmetics workshops. Get to know who is growing your food, learn how to bake bread and pass on your yeast starter to others, make yourself natural and toxic-free cosmetics and above all, tune yourself into green living.

After close to 10 years experinces on this green field, we got to the conclusion that group facilitation can add so much in sharing and learning. Therefore we've made all the necessary steps to bring together a partnership of great trainers, facilitators and colleauges to learn about how facilitation -as group process support- can provide significant impact eco and system thinking. 
We hope that the facilitators' skills will be basic ones for sharing and learning processes for communities in the future, now we lay down the first stones for a more ecologically conscious approach – all together.

Partner organization: MEDRA ASSOCIATION

MEDRA is an association based in Asturias. It was born when a group of friends with common interest gather in the same place, after being travelling around the world. Medra is an educational project whose mainly objectives are: rural development, to preserve biodiversity and to promote enterpreneurship initiatives in rural areas. Also we want to encourage alternatives ways of life, health and new projects in the countryside. 

Along the last years, we have developed projects related with environmental education, fairtrade, agroecology, ecobuilding, ecofeminism and natural health. Eventually, in all the programs we get involved, we try to give a special significance to women and young people involvement and also people with social difficulties. 

Our experience in the topics related with this project are: 
Agroecology: We have been working in organic agriculture since 2010. Some of the projects are: school gardening for children, where we teach children to grow and take care of vegetables. Using the school garden we also learn about history, art, science and other subjects. We have participated in the design and maintenance of urban gardens in Aller and Lena municipalities. Since 2009, we also take part in Biltar, a seed saving group that try to preserve organic local seeds in Asturias, as well as, teach about how to obtain and preserve traditional horticulture seeds. 

Living in nature: In 2010 one of our organization members started to create a life project in finca Ru'Castiello, located in Piñeres de Aller (Asturias). Ru'Castiello is a beautiful Cantabric forest where the people build and live in yurts (mongolian tent covered with felt and used for living). Also, in Ru'Castiello, they grow and produce part of their food and they work building yurts to be sold around Spain and other parts of Europe. After few months, other members of our organization, started to collaborate in this project, learning about Ecobuilding, Agroecology and life in the woods. 
The common jobs we develop in Ru'Castiello are: to take care of the veggie garden, to fix and build yurts, to collect and make firewood, to clean the forest around... Ru'Castiello energy comes from solar panels and water supplies come from the Piñeres river, so we are almost selfsuficient. This is the main experience we can contribute about living in nature. Also, some of the Medra team, have spent some months living in another communities or projects in the countryside. For example, Lu Fanjul spent 2 years in Escanda, a mainly women community in Ronzón (Asturias). Here, they grow their own food and they have several projects that cover their necessities, the main one is a children summer camp, where the children learn English through nature experiences. 

Deep Ecology: One of the members of Medra organisation has a special interest in deep ecology since she heard about it. Estefanía has collaborate in courses about Holistic Science and Nature Connection in Asturias. In this courses, she was leading activities that create a more sensorial and meditative approach to mother earth. She has been cofacilitating workshops like the Council of all beings, from Joanna Macy. She wants to keep learning about Ecopsicology and Deep Ecology to share with more and more people these interesting therapy.

Partner organization: ATA

The Youth Association from Transylvania -ATA- has been founded at the end of 2011. We aim to help develop, promote and represent the general interests of the communities in Transylvania by having social, cultural, sporting, educational, recreational and professional training activities, and thus promoting the active involvement of youth in the perpetuation of ethnic, national and European values. 

Our Motto: 
To show Europe to Transylvania and Transylvania to Europe!

For a better context our immediate community is the small town of Cristuru Secuiesc with 10000 souls which has a lot of rural elements. It is surrounded by many villages where 25000 people live. 96 % of these belong to the Hungarian and Rroma minority. We collaborate with 3 high schools, 1 vocational school, 9 primary and secondary schools, 7 NGO's, a family type orphanage, a center for the disabled youth, etc. Our wider community is Transylvania (1/3 of Romania with a population of 7 million) as we are implementing some mobility projects in regions different than ours and because we are selecting youth to go to outgoing mobility projects from Transylvania, not just from our region.

Our strategic plan for the 2018-2023 period:
- We need to start to put into effect the original plan of our NGO, to truly become the Youth Association from TRANSYLVANIA, by establishing branches that more effectively empower, include and train our target groups

- We should enlarge our employed and volunteering staff so that we have more capacities and knowledge to start doing larger, not one off projects, but more strategically planned ones through which we can not only guide and follow positive changes in the mentality of our target groups, but also support those institutions dealing with education in our region (kindergartens, schools, high-schools, VETs and NGOs.

- We need to continue working on the existing main pillars of our areas of expertise, which focus on 
- SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – by getting our target groups involved in rural tourism, ecological, food sovereignty and eco footprint related projects
- INCLUSION – by including ethnic minorities, youth from rural areas, deaf youth and other disadvantaged groups in ALL of our projects
- ENTREPRENEURSHIP – by empowering our target groups to have better job skills and start-up ideas they can plan and implement
- EMOTIONAL MANAGEMENT – For supporting the schools and their students in the region, mainly with trainings on the topic and strategic partnerships
- INNOVATION – For the betterment of youth work and formal education.

Partner organization: TANDEM,N.O.

TANDEM, n.o. founded in 2009 is a training and development organization, which through its work with individuals, communities and organizations aims to strengthen their self-esteem and sense of responsibility.

From the components, which are essential for the world's harmonious functioning, as its own main point of interest TANDEM highlights human identity. This is approached through work done in three main areas of human identity by programs and services of developing, supporting and empowering these individuals. Our three target groups are individuals, communities and organisations. We put a special emphasis on working with the Hungarian minority living in Slovakia, thus providing essential service in the field of self-knowledge, career orientation and organisational development in their mother tongue. 

The main objectives of the organisation can be put into three very distinctive groups:

The first area is personality development. Over the past years we have developed a very complex model of personality development, in which we offer different services, like self-knowledge trainings. This can happen individually, or in organized groups. Another service in this area, are personality development programs on festivals, designed to suite the festival surroundings. A very good example of such a program is The Gombaszög summer camp's program, where we offer among others presentations by well-known presenters, small group activities, outdoor activities, labyrinth meditation, individual counselling and psychodrama workshops.

The second area is organization and community development. We offer organization development trainings and counselling for other non-profit organisations. A good example of such activities is our long cooperation with the organisation of the Diákhálózat (Student network),aiming  at developing in the following topics: leadership coaching, strategic planning, project management, future planning and team building, just to name a few. In this area we also work on our own community development projects which consist of researches and community events. A good example of such service is our project called Életmesék in which with the help of young volunteers we collect stories from old people living among us. These stories are then edited and published in book form, thus having a chance of survival. This way we want to strengthen cross-generational dialogues and also the involvement of the older and younger generation at the same time.

The third area is career guidance and counselling. We offer individual counselling, group activities and future planning trainings for high school students, career planning seminar for university students. One of our innovative programmes in this area is a whole day festival-like career guidance program, called „Mesterségem CíMERRE?”. This program won the award for the best service in the area of career guidance competition „National price for career guidance 2013“ organised by Euroguidance Slovakia. Members of the organisation TANDEM n.o. presented the programme also in Prague and on international conference in Zagreb. The program is an all day activity, which can be divided into two main parts. 

To read more about the people involved in the project, please click on the Training page.

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