Empowering young people!

On 9 and 10 May, our project Civic Act hosted its first workshop in Rhodes, Greece.

The workshop aimed to empower young people, students attending the last years of high school, on civic engagement.

The workshop took place at the “Rodion Pedia” school and involved 18 high school students.

The students attending the first workshop held by Civic Act in Rhodes, Greece

On the first day of the workshop, team members Chrysi Chrysochou and Benjamin Wilhelm, presented the Civic Act project and held activities to involve the young attendees. The cohort learned about the processes of political decision making at the local, national and European level. Then, the team members presented four case studies of civic activism as the enlightenment of a formerly dodgy Athenian street and cases of young people promoting recycling, social entrepreneurship and working to raise the voice of homeless people.

In the second part of the workshop, the students were supported by the team members, who acted as facilitators, to developed their own ideas on how to improve their community. Divided into three groups, they held a brainstorming session where each student was invited to write down problems related to a specific topic on a post-it. The issues thus identified were presented by the students to the others who had the possibility to express their support up to three problems. Every participant then agreed on a “how might we be able to…” statement to pick one aspect and sketched six ideas of solutions. The participants presented their possible solutions to receive feedback and optimise them.
At the end of this brainstorming session, each group selected one idea to work on to develop a project. Specifically, they decided to focus on three main areas:

  • protect the environment
  • preserve the local fauna
  • reduce local unemployment rates

The first group wanted to revitalise the abandoned park of “Rodini”, which is one of the biggest parks located in the city centre of Rhodes. They (i) identified the main issues causing the closure of the park, (ii) started organising communcation channels with the local authorities and (iii) found some very interesting solutions in order to give life again to the area.

The second group proposed a viable solution on how to reduce the cost of maintaining an animal shelter. They focused on ways to promote dog adoption and found some clever solutions on fundraising in order to help the local animal shelter confront the increasing need for dog food and medication.

The third group aimed to tackle local unemployment during the winter. They worked on building an annual tourism plan for the island. They decided to work on promoting alternative activities in Rhodes during winter, as for example hiking, yoga classes on the beach, botanology, cooking classes and winter camping. Their goal is to keep hotels open during winter time and attract tour operators and airline companies in Rhodes 365 days per year thus to increase the labour demand.

Brainstorming session

On the second day, students were invited to turn their ideas into action. Each of the three groups developed a project plan to tackle the issues they had identified the day before.  The project plan was compiled with the support of the facilitators and set up the objectives, the target groups and the main activities they aim to carry out.

Outcome

After the completion of the two-day workshop, the students will work on their project ideas trying to implement what they have learned. Throughout the process, students will have the possibility to communicate with their facilitators in order to receive advices on how to effectively implement their project.

The workshops’ results will be presented during the FutureLab Europe Autumn Conference in September in Brussels.

Do you have questions or comments on the project?

Contact Benjamin Wilhelm, Chrysi Chrysochou and Giovanni Moro.

This event is part of FutureLab Europe’s Civic Act project.

About Civic Act

Concerned by young Europeans’ disengagement from politics, Civic Act will be organising workshops on civic activism in high schools in Greece and Portugal. Using a learning-by-doing methodology, Civic Act aims to educate and empower young people to solve local problems through active participation, promoting the importance of youth engagement in political and social life. …read more