Uniting for Impact: DO U ACT Initiative Gathers Organizations

January 26th 2023 brought together people from Morocco, Croatia, Kosovo, Lebanon and the Netherlands all together in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Why did some people have to travel more than 4000 kilometers and meet other colleagues from different cultures? Why did some travel more than 4000 kilometers to connect with colleagues from other cultures? 

Young people all over the world are facing different challenges; therefore, two non-governmental organizations from the Balkan region, two from the Middle East, and one from Western Europe will collaborate over the next 24 months to develop innovative methods to engage, connect and empower young people to promote social inclusion and prevent climate challenges and lack of job prospects.

As we work together to engage, connect, and empower young people outside formal education, we will learn, evaluate, develop, and implement innovative non-formal education (NFE) formats.

After months of working together and meeting online, several of us finally met in person. Utrecht, a smaller Amsterdam, a lovely and chilly city at the time, helped us develop our action plan for the DOUACT project.

We began our discussion by choosing photographs representing ourselves and our project goal. Everyone picked their favorite pictures, which were spread out on the floor. Hope and motivation could be seen. The participants discussed why they chose the photographs they did and what they hoped to get out of this fantastic project.

Furthermore, the MasterPeace office in the Netherlands reintroduced the project, and other partners soon began the discussion with further questions about project implementation. After COVID-19, everyone was so excited to talk face to face, discuss the project in-depth, and finally have the opportunity to start a project without restrictions. 

Partners discussed their roles and duties, while MasterPeace presented their advanced non-formal education (NFE) formats. These NFEs are among the most effective tools for working with youth and empowering youth workers. LUMEN of Croatia also showed their NFE formats. They provided the participants with various resources and discussed their experiences working with young workers and young people in Croatia.

LDN from Lebanon presented their communication and dissemination planning. Their fantastic work in Lebanon enables them to support the implementation of the project in all other countries. Together we agreed on some tools and approaches we will use during the implementation of DOUACT. 

Following that, we learned more about cross-cultural team collaboration and communication. Collaborating is tough when all participants come from diverse cultures, countries, and continents. Participants had the opportunity to get to know each other culture by sharing their experiences on one topic that the groups selected. Some groups talked about the respect of older people in their culture and how we have been raised in our families and societies. We recognized that our cultures differed, but we also discovered certain similarities. We choose a partner to observe how a lack of communication may cause problems when we ask each other for something. It was difficult to express things to your partner when they couldn’t ask questions and had to sketch everything you said. It was a lot of fun, and we learned much about each other.

We spent the evening exploring the lovely city of Utrecht. 

Those two days went fast, but they helped us get to know each other better and understand the project and our duties. In the following months, we will work hard in our communities while implementing the project. We will meet many youth workers and young people. The most important thing is that we will impact our societies, connecting young people, empowering them through promoting social inclusion, preventing climate dilemmas, and expanding job opportunities. 

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