Social Economy Lab, revitalizing small towns and v..
Social Economy Lab, revitalizing small towns and villages!
Date du début: 1 févr. 2016,
Date de fin: 31 juil. 2016
There are some fundamental problems faced by Europe in general and small towns in particular, such as high unemployment rates that lead to the migration of young people to big cities or even abroad. A recent development to address these problems is the concept of social enterprise. In our strategy as organization we have decided to focus more on the area of Social Economy and Social Entrepreneurship as a means to promote environmentally and community friendly, locally produced goods and services. We have decided to start with a training course that would allow us to share and learn more with our peers interested in developing ways to engage young people in entrepreneurial and social economy activities. Thus, Social Economy Lab project was built.
Social Economy Lab was a project built around a 5 days training course aimed at improving the competences of youth workers in entrepreneurial education of young people and in approaching social entrepreneurship within their community work, as an alternative solution to social, environmental and economical problems of small towns and villages. The training course took place between 2 and 8 April 2016 in Aiud, Romania. Participants in the project were 23 youth workers (trainers, mentors, project managers, project designers) from 10 organizations based in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and Turkey. They were actively involved in the work with youth in their communities, willing to get more active in the field of entrepreneurial education, and had an intense with the communities that they are part of.
The objectives we had for our project were:
1. Generating a better understanding among the participating youth workers regarding their role in providing entrepreneurial learning and in bringing to life youngsters’ interest in social entrepreneurship;
2. Facilitating the exchange of methods, tools and practices useful in the development and support of social entrepreneurship among young people and developing participants’ skills in using them;
3. Developing a sense of responsibility among the participants regarding the different ways in which young people can actively participate in the local economy.
During the project participants were involved in a preparatory phase of the training course by mapping out their specific and community-based needs. During the training itself we had a range of workshops, case study analyses, group reflections and group work, sharing space, experimental laboratories, field-trips and activities with members of the community. All activities during the training course were based on non-formal education approach. Following their return to local communities they were given the opportunity to put into practice what they have gained during the training course in the planned follow-up activities and share with their local communities within the framework of this project, as well as beyond it.
The main results that we have as a result of this project are:
- 23 youth workers better equipped to work with young people and increase their entrepreneurial competences in the field of social entrepreneurship,
- a number of "prototypes" of social enterprises that is aimed to guide, support and further inspire young people in participating countries to set up their own social enterprise.
- a toolkit built by and with the participants in this project for the wider community of youth workers who wish to engage in entrepreneurial education for young people.
As far as the young people and local communities are concerned, beneficiaries such as unemployed youngsters hve been offered the opportunity to get involved and take matters into own hands. The projects in the process of implementation by the partner organizations are setting an example for the local community. They are targeting the increase in employment, social inclusion, and the number of young entrepreneurs in the community. Following the project and the common efforts we have deployed together with our partners, we are confident that this will not only bring benefits to the employees, but to the local society, by offering a social value to the goods and services produced. And, as an ultimate goal, by creating sustainable development opportunities for young people in their own communities and preventing them from migration to cities or from unemployment-related health and behavioral problems.
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