START THE CHANGE – Creating a generation of change makers through intercultural education and volunteering

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Duration: January 15, 2020 – January 14, 2023
Implementers: Macedonian Civic Education Center (MCEC), INOVA+ (Portugal), FFE (Croatia), NEPC (Croatia), SIRIUS (Belgium)

Objective: Building the resilience of young people, which relates to all those factors that contribute to the development of a young person, regardless of their starting position and possible problems, into a healthy, self-confident, satisfied and tolerant person who builds quality relationships, develops their abilities and is actively and positively engaged in their community

Project summary: The project incorporates three clusters. The first cluster of the project investigates perspectives of young people and how they perceive their school community, their position in it as well as in what ways they are being heard and seen and in what ways they are not. The findings of their voice is the starting point for developing the second cluster of START THE CHANGE materials and training curriculums for teachers and parents in order to empower them to create positive changes in their schools and learning spaces together with young people. In the third cluster, the START THE CHANGE project seeks to motivate young people with the support of their teachers to create and lead volunteering initiatives that will contribute to solving the problems that were previously identified by young people.

In order to address the above-identified objectives, the project is focused on:

  1. Developing good practice by implementing the whole-school approach having in mind that it is equally important to work with students, parents and teachers but also to put the project in the context of the wider local community. The special focus is on developing civic competences, which enable a person to take part in civic life, based on the knowledge of social and political concepts.
  2. Developing inclusive social educational policiesby promoting participative decision-making processes and collaboration at grass root level with schools, local and national organizations, local, national and EU policy makers and international stakeholders. This approach is based on the collaborative process where a practice is making policies in order to develop sustainable solutions for standardizing the value of student voice and participation in the policy and at school level.

Expected results:
• Established cooperation between 15 schools and local CSOs in implementing intercultural and peacebuilding projects while reaching out to over 1000 young people;
• Motivated children and young people to be active, critical and brave in stating their opinion and fighting for what they believe in;
• Teachers and mentors help young people start up projects aimed at developing mutual appreciation;
• Engaged young people in socially-aware and peace-building projects.