Erasmus+ youth exchange “Gross National Happiness” (acronym GNH) took place in Kaunas, Lithuania on 7-13 May of 2016.
The project was aiming to promote alternative view to success measurement in personal life, education and society and governance. Our belief was that by paying more attention to happiness and quality of living, we could achieve much more than by rating everything in terms of revenues or by gains in gross domestic product (GDP).
Such view was inspired by actual real world example in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. This tiny country since 1970s has adopted a system of a similar name as this project (Gross National Happiness – GNH). The idea was that income/economy is not the only goal and other factors should be considered while taking decisions. These include: 1) work-life balance; 2) nature/environment; 3) community links; 4) culture; 5) health & psychological wellbeing, etc. Read more about it HERE.
We have also taken a lot of inspiration from education systems in Scandinavia (Denmark and Finland in particular). The countries top the global happiness ladder, as well as their students score the most in OECD’s (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development) standardised tests. For that reason, we have analysed their unique approach to schooling (Danish Hojskole for Denmark & no-homework for Finland) and discussed viable implementation elsewhere in the EU.
In general, GNH had the following goals: 1a) identify what mostly contributes & what is the most detrimental to happiness and quality of life; 1b) try the Scandinavian approach to education; 2) come up with guidelines that best describe the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ individual decisions or common policies; 3) develop an ‘impact-on-happiness’ measurement system for various decisions; 4) promote them further for the wider public across Europe.
You can take a look at some of the created measurement systems HERE.
With regards to alternative education, the participants have created a number of workshops themselves. These included: 1) musical workshop, titled ‘X-factor’; 2) interactive quiz; 3) Salsa dancing class; 4) Olympics of various created sports; and 5) acting improvisations. The idea was to illustrate that when doing what makes you happy, one can also learn and develop. Below you can find some of the participants’ testimonials on that experience:
[blockquote cite=”GNH participant”]Yes it was nice. I liked it a lot. You can lead people and be a person who will change something in their thinking. I like that I could make people happier.”[/blockquote]
[blockquote cite=”GNH participant”]I had awesome time in my workshop, I felt so good to be able to make people happy and teach them a little of the thing I love[/blockquote]
[image icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” align=”right”]https://activeyouth.lt/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/GNH-cover-photo.jpg[/image]Lastly, we should talk about the participants. There were 36 of them, coming from 6 different countries (Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Poland, UK and Bulgaria). It was a very diverse group of people, coming from a range of backgrounds. Such a sample surely contributed to the results of the project, as various views and opinions were included. After all, Erasmus+ youth exchanges are mostly about sharing knowledge with one another (trainers included).
A number of quality videos have also been created during the project. These were intended to show that work-life balance is important, as well as that money/income should not be the sole goal of life. The videos can be found HERE.