Category: NEWS

What do we mean by horizontal perspectives?

What do we mean by horizontal perspectives?

All projects funded by European Social Fund need to determine their relationship with horizontal perspectives. To make it more concrete, CONNEXT arranged a world café discussion in the Ghent partner meeting to clarify what could horizontal perspectives mean in view of ethnicity and gender.

First, the importance of cross sectorial training for professionals on horizontal perspectives to make sure that the professionals are not emphasising stereotypes was discussed. We should be careful when talking about cultural differences in general and instead try to identify the core of the topics we want to discuss. Perhaps it’s the gender spectrum and redefining gender roles that we should be talking about instead of cultural differences? How to we work with career counselling? Are we being gender sensitive when we talk about the possibilities for women and men when it comes to different education and jobs?

The group discussed also the importance of always thinking twice before separating groups for different activities. We need to make sure that we don’t create more segregation in our attempts to integrate. Separate groups could initially be beneficial to create trust, getting to know the group and identifying different needs, but the aim should eventually be to work towards integrating different groups.

A good example of working with integration and inclusion is through positive role models and mentors. By creating opportunities for people to meet and to get to know each other beyond gender, age and culture we combat prejudices and create a better understanding for each other’s differences as well as similarities. This also gives people a chance to start building networks that can be very useful when it comes to practicing the language, understanding society, finding jobs etc.

One practical example of how this could work was presented by one of the participants from DUO for a JOB. Their aim is erasing disparities and inequality in access to the labour market for young people with an immigrant background. DUO fully values the experience of our elders, breaks down age barriers, encourages inter-cultural and inter-generational activities through a mentorship programme. Simultaneously it combats stereotypes such as ageism and xenophobia, by recreating close social ties based on understanding and solidarity.

The use of ambassadors is another good example that could inspire and motivate people, as well as strengthening the ambassadors themselves.

 

Text: Marie Andersson, Karlstad municipality, Sweden

Picture: World Café Community Foundation/ Avril Orloff

Ready – steady – S_U+G®!

Ready – steady – S_U+G®!

It’s necessary to experience it before you know it. This was very clear with S_U+G Serious Urban Game® methodology, because oral or written descriptions just didn’t help curious CONNEXT partners to understand what S_U+G® is all about. In March 2019 the partners had a chance in Ghent to play two games developed by [ew32], namely Business Angels and #Work – and to understand it all.

Welcome to get acquainted with impressions from the S_U+G® training in a film. (The article continues under the film.)

The reaction of training participants on S_U+G® was enthusiastic. Many felt it was exactly what they needed when working with immigrants. One participant stated in the evaluation: “By knowing and playing this new method, I’ve got new oxygen in order to empower youngsters and groups.” S_U+G® was considered a suitable method also with vulnerable groups: “It’s important for me to make my students feel secure, safe and have confidence and have fun while learning. Using this method I am sure they will.”

Others felt playing a game was a journey to themselves: “The creative aspect in the game was an eye-opener for me. Through the game I discovered a creative part in myself.” It is true that S_U+G® gives an opportunity to apply many different approaches, as documentation of missions can include for example photographs, voice, films and written documentation. For example in Business Angels game real life entrepreneurs were interviewed and business logos were created on a pavement by drawing with colourful chalk.

The S_U+G® methodology can be used to support immigrants to get acquainted with different places, organisations and people in their new home country. It can also be a tool to promote the practicing of new language skills. Best of all, it is meaningful to use S_U+G® in pairs or small groups, which means that nobody needs to carry out tasks or explore the surroundings on their own.

During CONNEXT for inclusion project new S_U+G® games will be developed and trainers trained in three countries, Belgium/ Flanders (Ghent), Finland (Helsinki) and Sweden (Karlstad).

Text: Mai Salmenkangas, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Finland (quotes from training evaluation material)

Picture: Screen shot from CONNEXT film produced by [ew32]

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

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!