Learning Project Management: training (and snow-battles) for youth workers in Georgia

People from Armenia, Italy, Azerbaijan, Germany, Turkey, Spain, Ukraine and Georgia: twenty six participants to realise a training course to enhance competences of management staff of youth NGOs in project management and to get to know the youth context in different parts of Europe.

By using a set of non-formal educational methods such as group work, role plays, exercises and trainee-led workshops, the participants are expected to improve their soft skills in intercultural team work and communication, decision-making, their competences in project management and their understanding for the challenges young people face in Europe.

This is the project on paper: now let’s go to see what the project is in concrete!

Long trips, strange travel companions, annoying delays, trains, buses, planes, and then buses again and so on but finally, we are here in Bakuriani, a small city on the inner mountains of Georgia and a famous ski resort (in fact snow is all around but not here in the village). Fortunately the hotel is pleasantly and “woodly” warm, ‘cause outside it’s freezing! In dribs and drabs all the participants and the staff members arrived: we put ourselves up in the rooms and we tried to become presentable, after the long trip (some of us were successful in this, but some other not at all… clearly I was part of these last ones…). At least, after a good night’s sleep we can start. Let’s go with the first day!

Welcome night
Welcome night

DAY 1
Smiles, curiosity and positivity are in the air and the first hours have been committed to funny “games” to introduce ourselves to the group and to know something about the others. For sure this will be a great group, I feel that we can work usefully and that we’ll be satisfied.

Pelin from Turkey
Pelin from Turkey

“I like this kind of games, I’ve already partecipated to other 3 projects and I think it’s a perfect way to break your barriers, to make people don’t feel shy, to make them feel relaxed and comfortable. And what about the drawings?! It was so funny! I mean, for sure they were not masterpieces but the point is that they are funny. They would not be so beautiful if they’re not funny! It’s strange, if you watch those portraits it looks like we know each other since a life…” says Pelin, from Turkey.

So, now we are ready to take a rapid look to the details of the program and then we start to share with the group the expectations and the fears we have about this seminary and the contributions we are going to give. At first the guys are working in groups and then individually, writing 3 expectations for person on a post-it and putting them on a poster in a position that will be changed day by day, following the expectations’ development. By this way it should be easier at the end of the seminary to understand if the objectives will be reached.

Expectations and fears
Expectations and fears
The group
The group

We are almost arrived at the end of the daily program, so in the plan we have some funny activities in order to create feeling and connection in the group: the most amazing it was the “eggs game”. The participants have been divided in groups and they every group have a kind of mission: to save an egg from a 5 meters fall. How should they do that? They have a pen, some cardboard, some adhesive tape, some paper and some minutes to decide what to do with those materials and then other minutes to create (now without speaking) the “safe machine” for their egg. We enjoy so much! 🙂 Take a look to the diligence they have during the session! And to their faces when the eggs are thrown down from the balcony! It looked like we were throwing down their own son!

Preparing the strategy
Ready and “packed” to go!
Will it survive?
Will it survive?

Last but not least we have the self-evaluation moment: we create five groups and their members will be the same in every day and at the end of the session they will make reflection on the for suggested topics, which are like, dislike, learning and suggestions. This is the best way to monitor the progresses both because by this way the participants can increase their self-criticism, and even because in this context the trainers can’t give a classic kind of evaluation, I mean the one the teachers are used to give to their students. This kind of activity could look easier than how it really is! Well, at the end of the process we’ll see the results. For now I can assure you that they are really focused on it and they are debating so much!

THE INTERCULTURAL NIGHT

Traditional food and clothes
Traditional food and clothes
intercultural night
intercultural night

How to explain it… A CRAZY NIGHT!!! It looked like being in a lot of different countries at the same moment, it was amazing! Assaying foods, eating sweets, tasting wines and liquors, smoking with narghilè, dancing typical dances and so on… A special thanks to:

  • Spain, for funny games and “macarena”, and even for chorizo!
  • Turkey, for narghilè and specially… for the bottle of Raki
  • Germany, for the Christmas sweets… so sweets…
  • Armenia, for the quiz and for the cognac  🙂
  • Ukraine, for the beautiful garments and specially… for vodka!
  • Azerbaijan, for their informative material and for their tasty sweets 🙂
  • Italy, for their funny “gesture dictionary” and for the delicious taralli
  • Georgia, for their great homemade wine 🙂
A toast!
A toast!

By dancing, chatting and laughing we’ve had the opportunity to know a bit better each other and to create a relaxed atmosphere to stay together and to work in cooperation: it means so much for a group and now I really trust that next days will be productive and positive!

Tania

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