Year 2021 has started with the first activity of the project Re-GROUP!
The international training course took place in Zoom platform on 15th-17th and 30th -31st of January 2021, uniting 33 youth workers, educators, social workers, librarians, and other professionals whose daily target group is youth and adolescents. Aim of the training course was to equip participants with the Youth Group methodology on violence prevention, developed by MARTA Centre. Five days were spent to repeat the basic principles of non-formal education and prevention work; study issues related to gender, stereotypes, and prejudices; learn about the types, manifestations, and characteristics of violence; experience methods for working with young people on (un)healthy relationships, addictions, sexuality, human trafficking and pornography, bullying, conflict resolution and emotion management. The training course was concluded by the topics of creation, leadership, and involvement of youth groups, leaving the training with the concrete to-do list on “how to start my youth group”.
The project “Re-GROUP”
The project “Re-GROUP” or “Reinforced and Upgraded Youth Group Methodology on Building Healthy Relationships” brings together professionals working with young people from Latvia, Spain, Bulgaria, and Romania. During the project, the Youth Group methodology for the prevention of violence among young people will be adapted and improved, a study on adolescent well-being and risks of violence in each project partner country and policy recommendations will be developed and shared.
After the training, I felt more competent and confident in my ability to provide young people with knowledge that can prevent potential problems and suffering. Romantic relationships at the age of 13-15 years without prior knowledge of what a healthy romantic relationship should be like can be a challenge and a ground for violence to grow. The target group of my daily work is mostly young people who have grown up in a disadvantaged family. As a result, young people have a distorted vision of what a healthy relationship should look like. Educating young people on how to recognize perpetrators and how to build healthy relationships is the most effective prevention of violence as a macro problem.
I gladly participated in the training and enjoyed the organization, punctuality and very tangible input provided by the trainers, which I highly appreciate when participating in the projects. It has been the most enjoyable project experience so far and I recommend participating in this project!
Paula Viļuma, Youth specialist/ Riga
Re-GROUP focuses on an exciting topic, due to its importance in society and its treatment with youngsters. This training was the perfect opportunity to learn more about it. But above all, to exchange opinions and experiences between partners and countries. MARTA Centre took care of every detail to make the most of it even though it was online. I found it especially interesting that we experienced on our skin some of the dynamics that we will work on during the workshops. Besides, we were able to ask about what topics we wanted to deepen our knowledge. I was especially struck by human trafficking, because of how different the countries that comprise the project, live the situation. The other topics were equally relevant: from what teenagers’ needs are, to how to talk with them about bullying, drugs or sex. Without a doubt, the training broadened our perspective and helped us enhancing our skills and knowledge.
Anna Sant, Communication Department of MUNDUS/Spain
When I got involved in the project, I already saw the importance of the project. I felt that there was a lack of important conversations and topics in my daily life. This training course was very interesting, exciting, and broadened my horizons. Even changed some of my views and values! Thou, participating was not easy at all. The topics covered in the training are important and at the same time difficult. Of course, I have already encountered some topics, because they either affected me personally or were related to my work in some way. I see the importance of talking about these things with young people as with other groups in society. Because I will say openly not everyone has talked to me about all the topics, nor was I interested in it myself. The training itself was, in my opinion, very well structured. Both in terms of theory and practical activities, and the great involvement of the participants themselves. And although training was hold online, the trainers knew how to create a sense of presence, making it one of the best online trainings in the last year. Reminiscent of the topics of gender, sexuality, emotions, relationships, and violence (emotional, physical …) are also the topics I encounter on a daily basis when working with young people. For me, unexplored and complex topics are specific things about violence (human trafficking, prostitution …). There are also many other topics that I have to explore and look at myself, but I am also eager to continue to understand the topics myself in the youth group, through forming discussions. After the training, I feel a little safer to start leading a group of young people. Of course, there are still some worries and anxieties, but you just must start! Daring to talk about important issues are so much needed!
Una Tomiņa, Youth specialists of Alūksne Youth Center/Latvia
Regarding the training course, I found it very well organized for a full time 5 days online meetings. Facilitators were professional, open minded and presented the topic very well. I was particularly interested in youth group methodology and how to implement it, how to approach sensitive topics with teenagers and how to deal for example with violence, prostitution, drug abuse etc…. I am interested to see how YGM will work in Spain and what will be the outcome. Estela Toporan, ESC volunteer -Youth department of MUNDUS/Spain
The project “Reinforced and upgraded youth group methodology on building healthy relationships” is financed with the support of European Commission’s “Erasmus+: Youth in Action” administered in Latvia by the Agency for International Programs for Youth. This publication reflects only the author’s views, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained there in.