Start the Change project coordinators from 7 partner organizations: INOVA+ (Portugal), Macedonian Civic Education Center – MCEC (North Macedonia), FFE (Croatia), NEPC (Croatia), SIRIUS (Belgium), Primary School Ivan Meštrović (Croatia) and Agrupamento de Escolas Josë Estëvâo (Portugal) met in Zagreb, Croatia on March 2 and March 3, 2020. During the two days, the representatives from the partner organizations discussed the project activities together in order to reach common understanding of the project design and policy focus while taking into consideration the issues and approaches of different countries.
In regard to education, teachers and students, the possibilities to implement the anticipated activities directly with schools were examined. Therefore, the partners identified the topic of the desired policy change that will be followed through all project activities – promotion of student voice. All partners agreed that the promotion of the student voice and participation, opens up the space for achieving intercultural understanding, appreciation of diversity, volunteering, solidarity and active citizenship in school communities.
The partners discussed in more details the first key activity which is the qualitative research with students using the focus group methodology. The aim of the research is to investigate the students’ perspective on the school and local community and in what ways they feel and do not feel accepted, heard and seen by adults and peers. Afterwards, these insights will assist the project experts in developing the educational material, curriculum and teacher training.
As the COVID-19 crisis affects different countries, the partners discussed the potential risk of implementing project activities directly with schools.
The kick-off meeting represented a chance for interested parties to unite and determine the future activities of the project aimed at building the resilience of young people and promoting the student voice and participation. More details about the Start the Change project and the kick-off meeting can be found here – https://startthechange.net/first-meeting-of-start-the-change-partners/