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Betzavta International: Learning the Language of Democracy
Date du début: 1 sept. 2015, Date de fin: 31 janv. 2016 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

The training course offered here is called Betzavta International: Learning the Language of Democracy. The Betzavta method is used to look at how democracy works (or does not work) in a small group and provides a space of self-reflection for every individual to think of their role in a group and in the larger society. Although Betzavta is gaining increasing international popularity due to its ability to connect with a wide range of important contemporary youth work topics (e.g. democratic decision making, conflict resolution, multiculturalism), international training offers in the field are still very rare. It was also deliberately chosen to implement the project in cooperation with EECA partner region + Russia as in most of the countries of the partner region a lack of democracy education practices can be clearly seen. A comparatively weakness of a civil society based on democratic values unfortunately still forms a characteristic of the post-soviet states and the capacity building of actors in the field with an innovative method will help to strengthen the existing initiatives in this area. The specific objectives of the proposed training are: * To provide youth workers and youth leaders from program and EECA partner countries with the chance to deeply reflect on their attitudes towards democracy through an experiential learning setting * To raise the competences of participants to make use of innovative methods and tools in their work with young people in the field of democracy education and therefore to improve the democratic skills and sensitivity of young people * To form a network of like-minded organisations, which are interested in the further cooperation and exchange on innovative forms of democracy and civic education * To develop follow-up project involving young people from a variety of background in the field of democracy and civic education 25 participants from 9 countries joined together in December 2015 in Aghveran, Armenia to experience this Betzavta training course. Participants were youth workers and youth leaders who have a strong interest in the topics of demoracy and civic education and are open for an in-depth personal reflection process. They were diverse in age, as well as economic opportunities, coming from different socio-economic backgrounds, both advantaged and disadvantaged ones. The group went through a series of interactive and engaging activities that set up a short task for them to do together or in small groups, and then evaluated and reflected on their participation in that task. The evaluation is unique to the Betzavta method, as it looks at the difference between the process and the result, as the trainers challenge the participants to find dilemmas in their behavior. For example, a common dilemma is wanting every individual in the group to be free, but also wanting equal participation. This encouraged people to take in both sides and empathise with every person's right to participate in their own way, as well as acknowledge the consequences of this participation. The result, in the short and longer term, was a greater sense of responsibility that comes from the bottom-up. Instead of being told what to do or simply following rules, participants begin to take initiative in their actions in order to create the kind of society that they want to live in. This is because they realize that maybe they have not fully practiced what they say, and they start to look more deeply at their own practices and how this affects others. The impact is that they are more aware of themselves, and therefore more aware of others. As they find and know themselves, they are able to clear out the borders between 'us' and 'them' and therefore be naturally more inclusive, as a way of being, instead of a 'doing'.



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