By: IYNF Secretariat
The cycle of the year “Flow of Activism” has come to a conclusion with its last activity Fruits of Activism in Brussels this November. The chosen location was Destelheide centre for young people, art and creativity on the edge of Brussels offering an almost country like seclusion with an artistic feel and architecture. It was a special activity because not only did it have continuity with projects and participants from previous two activities within the cycle, but also two days of the training were an open conference to the public. We hadn’t done that before and as challenging as it was, it provided a real chance to the participants to present their projects to the public and different kinds of stakeholders.
Most of the participants had been there for the whole cycle of the Flow of Activism and some had been to only one, but still found their place within the context of the complete cycle and got to present their part in the conference. Now in the third activity of the year together it was like greeting old friends with curiosity about their life and how their projects went.
Ana Teresa Santos and Osiris Hoepel joined forces to be trainers together again and lead the participants into reflection about their last months during the Seeds of Activism, allowing the fruits of their projects to become ripe and presentable in the conference. It was important to be able to assess what worked and what didn’t in the project management, share it and learn from one another. Some projects were successful beyond the expected borders of European Union, like, Sakura for Peace in Asia, while some were yet to be completed and were still on the way to fruition. And even better – a few projects after accomplishing their initial goal are planning to continue.
The conference wouldn’t be the same without the added value of our guests. We had different workshops, inspirational talks and debates by these amazing people:
- Ruba Hilal from International Falcon Movement – Socialist Educational International
- Andrea Casamenti from European Youth Forum
- Loiuse Lebichot and Mathilde Georgin from Belgian French-speaking Youth Forum
- Madeleina Kay Alba White Wolf aka #EUSuperGirl
- Antonio Cosco from LCOY Italia
- Janinka Lutze from EuroNatur
- Mattias Buysens from Climate Express
- Antoine Tifine from Federation of Young European Greens – FYEG
- Adam Rogalewski from EESC – European Economic and Social Committee
One of the participants Youssoupha Traore even gave an inspirational talk last minute. And two of the workshops were also hosted by participants – Christoforos Pavlakis, Anna Luize Berzina, Femke Lootens and Nora Ozolanta.
In this activity we were accompanied by our two EVS volunteers who are with us since spring and Frank, our new ESC (European Solidarity Corps) volunteer, with this activity being his first encounter with IYNF events. Here are their short reflections participating in this activity:
“Fruits of Activism was the fist IYNF activity I took part in and I enjoyed it the whole way through. The trainers and their methods were new and exciting. I now love the non formal approach on education because it is much more fun and engaging than the one used in school. Talking to each other about national differences in the breaks and having a great time while playing werewolf in the evenings were also one of my highlights. And not to forget the last day were we sang karaoke and played one of my favorite games the Hat-game. All in all Fruits of Activism was a great introduction to IYNF.”
Anna Luize Berzina
“After being there for all three activities, I can say firsthand that the continuity aspect is what made the cycle special. The idea of my project Sustainable Activism came to me through one brief activity in Patterns of Activism in march. Without having any grand plans to make it much bigger, I was rewarded with 2 people who liked the idea as well during Structures of Activism. Together we developed it, experienced it and presented it. I am grateful for this opportunity and how well it ties together with the objective of a EVS mini project. And I’m looking forward to future collaborations with the people I met during the Flow of Activism.”
“The last activity of 2019 -Fruits of Activism- was completed with lovely memories! We presented the last status of the projects which we created in Structures of Activism. We saw how much we progressed, what were the struggles, how it ended, etc. My dear co-worker and I were excited and a bit stressed for our presentation, but in this preparation process we had a lot of fun, as well as discovered ourselves. So in this activity, we learned how to overcome stress; also, our lovely trainers gave us some pieces of information about how to present our works. In the end, we did a great job as a group! I am looking forward to meeting again all lovely friends!”
After a week together and especially two intense days of taking part in workshops, presenting the projects, networking and debating, last day was dedicated to creating an Almanac of the conference and to reflect on this experience individually and collectively. While the physical collaboration has ended within this context, participants have to be accountable for the funding they received from IYNF during Structures of Activism and deliver reports on how their projects were realized. Same as if they would be funded by bigger grants equipping them with the skills to manage their future projects financially.
All the work during the day aside – the evening after the second day of the conference people had the chance to visit Brussels city centre. But on the last day of the training the conference hall was open to us to sing karaoke on the big screen, play games and have deep conversations only Destelheide knows.
This project is kindly supported by the the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.