Author: connextadmin

Youth cycling and recycling in Ghent

Youth cycling and recycling in Ghent

The idea behind CONNEXT for inclusion project is to empower and motivate migrants and refugees. In order to get a good start, we wanted to share best practices and see how the project partners are working on the topic. So, after two days of theoretical brainstorming and S_U+G Serious Urban Game® training, we got on our feet and went to see how problems like social exclusion of youth and school dropouts are tackled in practice in Ghent.

Our first stop was the organization called vzw aPart . In their De Werf workshop we saw how youngsters’ sense of belonging can be increased by encouraging them to create their own space. This was carried out by letting them to furnish and decorate their own meeting place by using different recycled materials.

The same idea was also followed in our next location, an organization called Groep INTRO  . There the youngsters had refurbished and styled an old caravan to be their own “hang out” place. In the same compound they also had a bicycle repair shop and bicycle riding lessons were carried out on the yard.


While these organizations are implementing a whole bunch of other really important activities like group and individual tutoring, workshops and counselling too, the first mentioned examples are still small things that can have a big influence to an individual. For example, learning to ride a bicycle can significantly open young girl’s world. Not to mention what it can do to her self-esteem when she is able to move around more freely by using the popular mode of transportation of her new country.

So, let’s not forget that small things can lead to something big. All connections start with an encounter, which is a central element also in CONNEXT.

Text and pictures: Karoliina Zschauer-Lilja, Stadin ammatti – ja aikuisopisto (vocational education), Finland

Getting started in Sweden

Getting started in Sweden

In February there was a kick-off meeting for the core trainers in the Swedish CONNEXT for inclusion. There is representation of professionals from different parts of the municipality working with newly arrived migrants and refugees, both youngsters and adults, which is a good platform for cooperation and dissemination of the work in the project. Here is a short introduction of the Swedish core trainers:
Petra and Sofia, teachers from the adult education department working with Swedish for immigrants.

Jenny and Anna-Maria from Värmland Tilsammans where they will develop new methods for Swedish for adult’s education. Värmland Tillsammans is an ESF-project working with 10 municipalities aiming at facilitating labour market integration for newly arrived refugees or migrants who are far from the labour market.

Saleh from the labour market and social services administration, department for integration, social welfare and employment, Jobcenter, where he works in the labour market unit with newly arrived refugees and migrants in the projects Värmland Tillsammans and Insteg Karlstad.

Pontus from the labour market and social services administration, department for integration, social welfare and employment, Värmlands Framtid, where he works in a unit with support for young NEET’s.
Eva from the labour market and social services administration, department for newly arrived refugees where who works with networks as a way of supporting unaccompanied minors and newly arrived youngsters.

Daniel from the labour market and social services administration, department for newly arrived refugees where who works with supporting unaccompanied minors to become independent citizens.

In the picture you can see the core trainers, the project manager Marie and the steering group members Gunilla, Jennie, Kristian and Malin.


Text: Marie Andersson, Karlstad municipality, Sweden

Picture: CONNEXT for inclusion

The Swedish team
Kick-off CONNEXT Flanders

Kick-off CONNEXT Flanders

In the end of January [ew32] organised first two LearningLabs as part of CONNEXT for inclusion project. They marked the kick-off of the project in Belgium, Flanders. The LearningLabs were the first phase in the development of a new Serious Urban Game® that focuses on the topic ‘Trust in education’.  

LearningLabs are co-creative workshops in which input is asked from the target group. To get some insight in the relation between youth and education today we start by asking the opinion of the target group themselves. What do young people think about their education? What makes school fun or less fun for them? How do they like to be addressed by the teacher? Do they think their education is preparing them for their future?

Through activating methods we bring several theories into practice. Participants get to talk about motivation, involvement, different ways to communicate and ways to give and handle feedback. This way, while giving their opinion about school, they’re simultaneously evaluating these theories and whether these might help in improving their overall school experience. The central question is: how do they experience it?

The first two labs took place with two class groups that gave away not being satisfied with the school’s approach. The groups came up with different ‘superlikes’ and ‘superdislikes’ and formulated some advice towards the school and the teachers. Needless to say it wasn’t always fun to hear for the teachers… But feedback goes both ways. So the voice of the teachers must be heard in this workshop as well! It’s about gaining trust on all levels.

We’re currently planning the next labs so we can gather a lot more input. After these LearningLabs we’ll get started applying game-mechanics in a series of GameLabs. In those sessions we will attempt to gamify the input we received. The goal is to come up with a game that can help youth and teachers feeling more ‘at home’ at school.

Text and picture: Jolien De Ridder, [ew32], Belgium/ Flanders

Grand opening of CONNEXT

Grand opening of CONNEXT

What happens when people from three countries put their minds together to support migrants and refugees? Marvellous plans for game-based learning!

In November 2018 partners from Belgium (Flanders), Finland and Sweden gathered in Helsinki in order to plan, how to benefit internationally from S_U+G Serious Urban Game>® methodology and arrange trainings on it. This city race related methodology has been developed by Belgian [ew32] and it can be applied to various topics, always engaging the so called target group in the planning. One ready made game exists e.g. on the use of money and debts (see a clip).

The partners of CONNEXT for inclusion project are eagerly looking forward to apply the S_U+G® methodology e.g. in preventing early school dropout, in promoting access to the labour market and as a tool in career counselling. Belgian, Finnish and Swedish professionals working with immigrants are invited to join the development process in 2019–2021.

Stay tuned!

Steering group Helsinki