Let’s Digitalise Youth Organisations

[info]The E-booklet of ‘Let’s Digitalise Youth Organisations’ may be found HERE. It focuses on the topic of digitalising youth organisations. The contents are based on the activities of the training course and the ideas of its participants.[/info]
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Youth Worker Mobility

Erasmus+ training course “Let’s Digitalise Youth Organisations” (acronym LDYO) took place in Kaunas, Lithuania on August 8-15, 2016. Project’s mission was to grow digital communication professionals, who could effectively communicate with youth and help NGOs be more visible in the EU. You can have a look at the project’s recap in a short video here:

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Inspiration for the Project

Nowadays we are witnessing a social media revolution – e.g. Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year, Instgram has about 400 million monthly users, while Snapchat has 100 million daily ones! At the same time apps such as Pokemon GO storm the whole world in just an eyeblink. As Erik Qualman from a movie Social Media Revolution 2016 said – “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?”. At the same time we’re facing huge technology progress leading to effective ways for communication. However, there is still an evident knowledge gap among youth workers on how to successfully use digital communication tools in their work. Therefore, youth organisations from Lithuania, Romania, Poland, Italy, and Latvia have united for this project, which aims to solve outdated communication within youth organisations and make their work more effective through the use of innovative digital tools.

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Objectives of the Project

The main goal of the project was to grow digital communication professionals, who could effectively communicate with youth and help NGOs be more visible in EU. To reach it, the main objectives of the project were: (1) teach youth workers how to effectively use digital communication tools in youth organisations (YOs); (2) develop new ideas for better digital communication in YOs; (3) share the knowledge how to reach a clear and appealing image of a YOs through digital tools; (4) set the most effective ways for cooperation between YOs through digital tools; (5) connect digital tool theoretical and practical learning methods through NFE methods. At the same time the project intended to promote the concept of effective digital communication amongst youth workers and young people in Europe as well as the general public. The project also aimed to help the participants grow professionally, keep them active, involve them in multi-cultural discussions, develop a number of skills and competences, and create partnerships across Europe.

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Project’s Participants

27 youth workers coming from 5 different countries (Lithuania, Italy, Poland, Romania and Latvia) had the chance to take part in numerous workshops and activities related to the topic. Since most of them were young leaders of student associations, youth NGOs, volunteers of local youth councils and similarly involved into youth work, they could also successfully share their knowledge between each other. Their view on the project is best represented by one of theirs quote:

[blockquote cite=”LDYO participant”]The project could not have been better! I learned so much in such an entertaining way![/blockquote]

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Activities

In order to achieve these objectives, a range of non-formal education methods were developed by all the partner organizations. Main activities identified benefits of digital communication, taught the competences needed, and created the means of spreading information about the concept to the public. Involvement, creativity and initiative of all the participants was encouraged throughout the activities, which included: 1) interactive workshops on different digital communication tools (e.g. social media; cloud service and file sharing; digital art & sports; website / blog creations, etc.) 2) digital tools usage practice in youth organisations (participants created their own organisations), 3) discussions in non-formal environment (World Cafe), 4) meeting social media professional Mantvydas Leknickas and visiting Blaster Start-up Hub, 5) creative country presentations, 6) application of digital art and sport as NFE methods, 7) analyses of relevant video materials, 8) quizzes, 9) specialized group exercises, 10) digital feedbacks, self-reflections, evaluations, etc. You can find all the materials created and used for project activities on the right. In order to facilitate integration and co-operation of the participants (11) cultural evenings, ice-breaking and socializing activities were also organised. Since the project goal was to reach the public and disseminate the results effectively: 11) special videos, photos, website, and an e-booklet for digital tools usage were also created.

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As mentioned before, the participants also had an opportunity to talk with social media expert Mantvydas Leknickas, who has ran social media by storm (has more than 50,000 followers on FB) and is running successful marketing agency Cocos (http://www.cocos.lt/). The event with M.Leknickas was available for public to join and was also streamed online on Facebook with about 4,000 people reached and 400 views of the videos. Videos (Part 1 & 2):

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The participants also vistied startup hub Blaster, where they met IT specialists and got broader knowledge about digital tools used by professionals. The discussion was mostly about digital tools for companies. At the same time the participants got to try out Virtual reality! This visit was full of interesting questions and smelled like Popcorns! You can read more about it in their blog herehttp://bit.ly/2b0Sfpa

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According to participant evaluations, one of the best activities of the project was the creation of a LipDub video. The video was done to exercise video creation for youth organisations. Now the experience can be put into practice further in participants’ home countries. You can find the video here: 

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Apart from many other activities related to the topic, youth workers could also get into the Pokemon world by catching them in Kaunas! This is one of the best digital ways to get to know a new city and may be actively used in youth organisations. Afterwards, discussions were made on how to integrate such games into youth organisations.

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In addition, one of the youth workers tasks was to create youth organisations and run digital media campaigns for them. You can see their organisations descriptions on the right in the files related to youth organisations’ creation.  Also, you can find the FB pages that they created and promoted during the project in order to put the things learned into practice:

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During the project participants also had a chance to create their own blog posts. This perfectly allowed them to put the things learned during the project into practice. You can find the blog posts / webpages here:

  1. Italy – Italian team’s created blog
  2. Lithuania – Digitalize Youth NGOs with Erasmus+
  3. Romania – Digitalise Romania!
  4. Latvia – Latvians Digitalizing their NGO
  5. Poland – Poland and their digitalising strategies

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Here you can also find some of the posters created by the participants during the project:

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To sum up, the project not only taught youth workers how to successfully use digital tools for communication in their work, but also helped youth organisations across Europe reach youth easier. Whie learning, participants created a lot of entertaining digital materials that will help other youth workers and youth across Europe get to know more about digital tools and their usage in NGOs. As a result, long-term benefits are still expected to be achieved: youth organizations’ volunteering and good deeds initiatives would be easier accessible by youth.

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Information About the Project on the Web / Media:

1. Start-up Hub Blaster about the project.

2. Participant’s Profile pictures on Facebook.

3. Created organisations on Facebook: #1; ; #3; #4.

4. Interview with M.Leknickas: Part 1Part 2.

5. Romanian blog page about the project. 

6. Kaunas regional media about us. 

7. Italian organisation on the project: #1; #2.

8. European youth portal about the project. 

9. Polish organisation about the project: #1; #2; 

10. Italian Blog about the project.

11. Latvian organisation about the project: #1.

12. Romanian organisation about the project: #1; #2; #3; #4; #5.

13. E-booklet on Salto Youth ToolBox.

14. Polish organisation about the project: #1; #2.

15. Official Erasmus+ Dissemination Platform on the Project.

The list is constantly being updated.

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Poster of the project:

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Project’s schedule, activities & material:

  1. Schedule of the Training Course.
  2. Info pack of the Training Course with all the information for project participants.
  3. Teambuilding game, where one has to complete certain fun small tasks with different people.
  4. Current knowledge assessment, which was done in the beginning of the project.
  5. Open discussion with a social media expert M.Leknickas, which was open to public and streamed online (Part 1; Part 2).
  6. Free time activity – Killer (by a kiss) Game.
  7. Free time activity – Gossip Box, where participants could write anonymous gossips of the project.
  8. Free time activity – Project’s Nominations where participants nominated each other.
  9. World Cafe Activity – list of topics & answers for non-formal discussions;
  10. Reflections that were made in a digital way for participants to provide feedback each day.
  11. Interactive activity for creating youth organisations in mixed country teams.
  12. Digital Tools for youth work & volunteering workshop.
  13. Creativity Seminar to help participants think out-of-the-box.
  14. Introductory workshop on digital tools.
  15. Videos related to the topic that were shown in a non-formal video afternoon for the participants.
  16. Fun team quiz created for the evening activities of the training course (could be used in any other similar project).
  17. Session to introduce video creation for beginners (includes an Erasmus+ example).
  18. Reimbursement sheet for participants to fill in their travel details (could be used in any other similar projects).
  19. Learning Agreement that the participants sign before the project (could be used in any other similar projects).

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Project’s Participants:

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