The mobility within the framework of the project Europe Says No to Hate Speech took place between 11-19 July 2019 in Bodo, situated in the Timiș county, in the western part of Romania.
42 youngsters from 7 countries (Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Sweden, Norway, Greece) participated throughout the six days of activities based on non-formal education methodologies to learn, discuss and take action on a broad topic on hate speech.
The participants were accommodated in the shared dorms of Bodo Smart Camp, in mixed rooms with participants of the same gender from other countries. Bodo Smart Camp is a location with accommodation, dining, recreational and sports facilities, ideal for youth activities. It has an excellent position, located in a quiet village in the Timiș county, 65 km from Timișoara and 20 km from Lugoj with easy access from the A1 motorway. Amongst the facilities, the Camp has a generous courtyard for outdoor activities in which the participants can socialize, play games, participate in activities without the worry of being restricted by the space of a closed room. A synthetic football pitch can also be found inside the courtyard for football enthusiasts and not only. The venue holds a multifunctional hall equipped with technical equipment that can be used for trainings, conferences, social events, etc. with a capacity of up to 150 people, which is also the main room in which the activities were held. It also has another two training rooms with a capacity of 25 people which can be used individually during the workshops, a dining room, a kitchen and multiple bathrooms scattered through the Camp.
Because it is a shared space in which everyone lives together, eats together, shares the same bathrooms and rooms for the whole duration of the mobility, the participants interact with each other far more often, which means they have many more chances to learn and share experiences than in any other environment.
In the next couple of paragraphs, you will be briefly presented with some of the activities carried out throughout the days of the mobility by the participants.
The first day of activities officially started the mobility through an introduction into the theme of the project, in which the organizers talked about the Youth Exchange as part of the Erasmus+ programme and about the Youthpass as a certificate that the participants will get at the end of the mobility. Moreover, the participants were actively involved in the rule-making process, mainly because of the fact that the mobility was a Youth Exchange, but also because Bodo Smart Camp is a shared place where all have to agree on certain issues, such as quiet hours, participation in activities and punctuality, cleaning after oneself and in which language to speak when in mixted groups to integrate everyone evenly. Such rules enforce both a sense of responsibility and group unity, because everyone is involved and as hard as they work towards this goals, just as good the mobility as a whole, the stay in the accommodation and the unity of the group is going to be stronger and better on every level.
To better reinforce this sense of being part of something and getting everyone out of their comfort zone, the activities of the first days of the mobility are mainly focused on ice-breakers, get-to-know-each-other activities, name games and team-building games. Also, during the whole duration of the mobility we had the secret friend activity and energizers at the beginning of every session, which contributed a lot into creating a better cooperation between the participants and helped them making friendships and talking more to each other. They definitely had a lot of fun doing this and even though for some was harder to open in front of the group, they definitely had shown a boost in their confidence and it resulted in better teamwork also during the activities.
Throughout the next few days, the participants slowly got more and more acquainted to each other and easily advanced through the activities. By the third day of the mobility, they already had been introduced to the theme of the project, first of all learning about the “No Hate Speech Movement” in a presentation to discover what is all about. It was followed by a workshop on creating photo materials for supporting the campaign, while also learning some new definitions and terms on the theme of “No Hate Speech”.
The “We can” activity was a really interesting workshop that gave participants insights on some human rights that are often ignored, after which they gave some alternatives to hate speech while highlighting the importance of developing and implementing them from a human rights perspective. Also on the same page of debating and discussing on the theme from different perspectives, another activity provoked a lot of considerations about a person and his choice because of his beliefs. By being splitted into 5 mixed groups, the participants had actively discussed about the discriminated society, why is it discriminated against and what its effects are on the society. Switching to another theme in the same formula, the youngsters talked also about people being bullied, discriminated against or even injured.
Following the Activity Plan, some of the sessions with the participants also involved planning a local action. This meant discussing with them and learning on why to plan a local action, how to do it, what is the target group, what are the resources to work with and when and where to make it happen. The sessions meant separating the participants in mixed groups to work in, to be easier for everyone to give an input and to involve them in the brainstorming process. Also, all the participants were made aware from the start of the session and during it aswell why it is so important to know why we are doing this and how we should do it. They went through roles and responsabilities, involvement of the stakeholders and practical exercises to get a better understanding of it.
Daily evaluation is one of the most crucial activity that the participants have to go through during a mobility, as it has multiple roles that usually lead to a smoother progress regarding logistics but most importantly, learning. The daily evaluation was undergoing everyday in pairs of two using the “Learning Buddy” system, with the purpose of reflecting on the learning process that took place on that day. This way, the participants could summarize the activities of the day, talking about the most important things they learned and absorb better the informations gathered in from the activities. Also, the evaluation has another role, that of figuring out what there is needed in terms of logistics, so that they can communicate to the organizers what they needed if they had any requests regarding food or other necessities through the dailiy meetings with the group leaders.
The final evaluation of the mobility happened in the last day, where all the participants formed a circle, a „safe” zone in which they could freely express their feelings about the project, providing an overall feedback about how they felt and what they thought could be improved. The entire process was facilitated by the group leaders and by the organizers by also using dixit cards.
Each night, the participants from each country have organized a multicultural event in which they prepared a presentation of their origin country along with traditional food, sweets and drinks which they either brought with them or cooked during the preparation of the presentation for the other participants. Every night we had each of the 7 countries giving everyone insights about their most beautiful and interesting cities, involving everyone to play a quiz and learning traditional dances. Multicultural evenings are the most fun and interesting methods through which the participants can learn about the other’s countries and they are also a challenge for the host country to make it as amazing as possible for the others.
The village Bodo, which is about 60 km from Timișoara, dates since the 15th century and is a multicultural village, hosting many ethnical minorities. Despite having a full program and a tight schedule, participants had free time for themselves every day right after lunch and some before dinner. Free time was usually spent in national groups but also in mixed groups so that participants have interacted and had fun all together, sharing experiences, making fun memories and creating new friendships. Free time was spent visiting cultural landmarks, discovering the village and the city, partying, learning how to dance or playing board games.
The Erasmus+ Programme promotes the use of Youthpass as a certificate to validate the competences acquired by the participants during their experiences abroad. Our project made use of the Youthpass and every participant was handed his own at the end of the mobility.
We had an awarding session in which every participant received his Youthpass and took a photo to remember the moment. Also, important to mention is that before handing out the certificates, a session was organized in which the certificate and the key competences were presented as well as how it should be filled by the participants.