From the 9th to 13th of May 2022, the Erasmus+ project “nEU Citizenship” took place in the Alpochori village, at the Municipality of Dorida, Greece. This physical training is the first out of seven events under the KA1 Erasmus+ program, which is being co-funded by the Erasmus+ of the European Union and the Youth and Lifelong Learning Foundation (INEDIVIM).
The main aim of this 5-day training mobility was for young members of the Greek community to reassess what “civic engagement” actually stands for in the Greek and European contexts through the lens of sustainability.
The first day of the training was introductory. Through non-formal activities participants not only had the opportunity to get to know each other better but also to become aware of the mission of both hosting organisations. Marilena Maragkou, Co-founder and Programme Coordinator of Youthmakers’ Hub Co-Founder and Stefanos Papadosifos, Ecogenia’s Program Development Manager, recounted the background of each organisation respectively. The goal was for every member to realise what led Youthmakers Hub and Ecogenia to co-create “nEU Citizenship” and which was the purpose of this particular event of the program.
The reference point of the training’s second day was “Civic Engagement”. In the first place, there was a presentation regarding the definition of the term and its interpretation in the Greek context. Meanwhile, in an open discussion session Konstantinos Karalariotis, Youthmakers’ Hub Program Development Manager, held, participants were asked to work individually, with one another and as teams:
- to debate about what does it mean to be civically engaged
- to mark the benefits of civic engagement in an individual and collective level
- to contemplate why some fellow citizens may not participate in the public affairs
- to address the needs of our societies
- to propound solutions
- to advance these proposals into practice
The third day was dedicated to sustainability. Specifically, Melina Dunham, Ecogenia’s Development & Program Strategist & Stefanos Papadosifos, Ecogenia’s Program Development Manager, provided participants participants provided with an overview of the theoretical framework of sustainable development, so as to get familiar with present respective initiatives like the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and European Unions’ Green Deal. In this case several non-formal & interactive educational means were applied. Meanwhile, Youthmakers Hub’s Marketing Manager, Maria-Eirini Barkatsa and Communications Lead, Georgia-Anna Chondrou, facilitated a presentation-workshop on Communication & Pitching, during which participants were asked to exercise their oral presentation skills.
The main goal of the fourth day was to explore the causes and repercussions of climate change and ponder over how we can involve ourselves in expediting sustainability. Via a digital training session, our guests, Andreas G. Stefanidis, Academy of Entrepreneurship President, Christiana Gardikioti, Founder of Meraki People Initiative, Maria-Juliana Byck, Community Engagement Media Manager & Erika Spagakou, Co-Founder of Ecogenia, imparted their insights on Greece’s sustainable development ventures and provided participants with technical know-how.
On the final day of the training, participants were asked to seize upon their gained knowledge and skills in order to case study Alpochori, the village where the program was held, and co-envisage an ideal, sustainable but at the same time applicable initiative that could enhance the living conditions of the local population. At last, time was spent on summarising and reflecting on the “nEU Citizenship” program so as to evaluate the individual and joint impact of it.