From the 19th to 23rd of September 2022, the Erasmus+project “nEU Citizenship” took place in Chania, Crete, Greece. This physical training was the second out of seven events under the KA1 Erasmus+ program, 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 delve into the issue of “civic engagement” and to adjust it at the Greek and European levels from the perspective of sustainability. The training applied the same content and structure as the one in Dorida, but it was adapted to the local context of Chania.
The first day of the training was introductory. Through non-formal activities (energizers, icebreakers), participants not only had the opportunity to get to know each other better but also to get informed about the mission of both hosting organizations. Marilena Maragkou, Co-founder and Programme Coordinator of Youthmakers’ Hub and Stefanos Papadosifos, Ecogenia’s Program Development Manager, reflected on their respective organizations’ founding and early stages. The goal was for every member to realize what led Youthmakers Hub and Ecogenia to co-create “nEU Citizenship” and the purpose of this particular EU-funded program.
The main focus of the second day was to adapt “civic engagement” to the Greek context through non-formal education practices. Marilena Maragkou presented Erasmus+ opportunities (Youth exchanges, Training Courses, ESCs). Meanwhile, in an open discussion session Angelos Orfanidis, Ecogenia’s Communication Coordinator, helped the participants become familiar with the advocacy process, whereas Melina Dunham, Development Manager of Ecogenia, presented virtually a TED talk on sustainable development. The participants could:
- Find tangible examples of active citizenship in Greece and the EU
- Understand better the whole process of applying for an ESC project as an informal group of young people
- Adapt the procedure of advocacy at the local level of Chania
- Trace back the reasons why Greece is a straggler in terms of sustainability
The third day was dedicated to a better understanding of the terms of climate change and misinformation. Eleni Antoniadou, Ecogenia‘s Education Program Coordinator, motivated the cohorts to play the Climate Fresk Game. Through several conversations, they concluded the causes and effects of climate change. In addition, divided into groups, the cohorts found solutions to the UN SDGs and got informed about the European Green Deal. Afterward, the communication coordinator, Angelos Orfanidis, provided theoretical information and examples of the misinformation phenomenon.
On the fourth day, experts on climate and environment shared their knowledge and experience. Specifically, Stella Apostolaki, Apostolos Voulgarakis, Panagiotis Chatzirakis, and Chris Vrettos answered various questions regarding eliminating disinformation about the climate. The main topics of the panel were wildfires, renewable energy, water, and waste management. Then, MEP Petros Kokalis joined our advocacy workshop, commenting on the European function and perspective regarding climate. Youthmakers Hub‘s Communications Lead, Georgia-Anna Chondrou, facilitated a workshop on Communication & Pitching, during which participants were asked to exercise their oral presentation skills.
On the event’s last day, cohorts worked in groups and brainstormed ideas on how they would change the city of Chania if they had an unlimited budget. In their pitching, they proposed many ideas and solutions that could be implemented in Chania and make the city more sustainable and functional. At last, time was dedicated to a team conversation on the results of the program’s first week and the impacts that it will have during the following days.