The second training of the project F.I.R.E – “From Idea to Reality and Excution”, which we conducted together with our colleagues from Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and India, has ended.
Seven hot days in the City of Peace – Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), where 20 youth workers and leaders step by step got engaged on the topic of project planning and management. Starting from an analysis of the problems in each of the participating countries, then we went through the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the team and personally to each of the participants, planning of specific activities and risk management. By alternating simulations, brainstorming, introducing new material, and working on a practical task (filling in an application form with a project proposal), the participants had the opportunity to follow the process of real project planning and assignment of tasks among the members of the team.
By using non-formal learning methods, participants developed knowledge and new competences on the principle of learning by doing. For some, it was quite difficult, but based on the believe that “the first battle was the battle with the white sheet” and helping teams in countries to plan together project activities, we had a number of project proposals that were ready to be implemented. Surely some of the tools that we incorporated, such as SWOT analysis, Tree of Problems and Tree of Solutions, and the SMART goals, were new to the participants, but on the other hand, the different examples and sessions that we used them in helped with consolidation and knowing how to implement them.
Several interesting things happened in addition to our program: Intercultural evening sessions. Our hosts from Tanzania chose the movie Bongo Flava after which we discussed the “quick money” goal and the different temptations that stand in front young people today. The talent show evening that we also had started with a fashion show, organized by one of our Tanzanian colleagues who presented his shirt, which opened the subject of entrepreneurship. We had a visit to the largest university in Dar es Salaam, where we met with students from the Department of Arts and participants in the previous project which we worked together “Art and Culture for Unity”. We were very glad to hear the stories about the little successes they have achieved and the beginning of a new project, “born” in the framework of our joint work. With a bit (noble) envy in the eyes, we observed the Art Space Nafacy where young artists hired ateliers for symbolic rent and developed their skills to work with the public and implement their projects. We met with our former volunteer, Stacy Oswald, whose dream to develop in the fashion industry is already a part of her life.
“A few very pleasant surprises happened in this training,” Pepa Peneva, one of the trainers, shared.
Seeing the growth of the Tanzanian youths who were our volunteers in Bulgaria through two successive projects (Art for social change (2014-2016) and Art and culture for unity 2017 -2018) made me a very happy person. Even back then in Bulgaria I registered the potential that these young people carry, but to see them now in real action, applying the lessons they learned, to house and to take care of the group and everything to go in a wonderful way is more than satisfying! I see the real meaning of working with young people, and I also liked how my colleague, Dr. Kedmon Mapana, had delegated to them the responsibilities they were doing brilliantly, I fully understand the challenge that he himself took, and I am glad that he believed in these young people, entrusting them with the task of being the host in our training.
Another surprise that happened that made me extremely motivated, Pepa continues, was seeing the Indian participants who did not participate in our first training, talking to Agata from Tanzania late in the evening and photographing her notes from our first training. Self-learning and learning from one another is something that largely depends not on us as trainers, but on the participants themselves. Apparently, we were able to intrigue the others, we had interesting and useful tools that we shared with each other and we will certainly apply it in practice. I have worked with colleagues and volunteers from different countries. But here I found a real “thirst” for knowledge and development in the people, and that is what inspires and motivates me to continue working.”
Currently, the Bulgarian team involved in the training is preparing a project proposal to apply for funding under Telus Internation Bulgaria. The lessons that they learned during the training are being implemented. After analyzing the problems in one of the suburbs of Sofia and assessing the potential and opportunities, one of our members suggested the idea of engaging his neighbors and fellow residents in real actions, planning activities like collective cleaning of the neighborhood and constructing interesting art installations in places where local people spend their free time. If planning is made wise, if you take into account the strengths and weaknesses of both the environment and the team, you will surely find interesting and reasonable solutions.
After this training course, here in Open Space Foundation, we have not only new knowledge but new team members as well, with which we will plan and work on projects together. We look forward to the results of this project proposal and we are even more motivated to look for the new solutions and opportunities that stand in front of us. The Open Space team is constantly expanding and we are eager to see its development.
The project is implementing with the support of program “Erasum+” of European Union, Key Action 2: Capacity building in the field of youth
in a artnership of organziations from Bulgaria, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and India.