With the Youth Exchange Environment Friendly, we learnt how to be environment friendly, starting from ourselves and then spreading it to others.

And we also learnt how to cooperate and motivate each other in the making of campaigns for the protection of the environment!


THE VENUE: LIEPAJA, 24/10/2018 – 01/11/2018

This is the second time we went to Liepaja. The first was in April 2016 for the Youth Exchange Unity in Diversity.

So, for a brief introduction about Liepaja, you can read the description we made in Unity in Diversity!


 Youth Exchange: Juvenile Non Formal Learning  

As per Unity in Diversity, Environment Friendly was a Youth Exchange project funded by the EU Erasmus+ Programme (Italian, English). As reported in the Erasmus+ Programme Guide (Italian, English), “Youth Exchanges allow groups of young people from at least two different countries to meet and live together for up to 21 days. During a Youth Exchange, participants, supported by group leaders, jointly carry out a work programme (a mix of workshops, exercises, debates, role-plays, simulations, outdoor activities, etc.) usually designed and prepared by them before the Exchange. Youth Exchanges allow young people to develop competences, become aware of socially relevant topics/thematic areas, discover new cultures, habits and life-styles, mainly through peer-learning and strengthen values like solidarity, democracy, friendship. The learning process in Youth Exchanges is triggered by methods of non-formal education. The rather short duration makes the involvement of young people with fewer opportunities appropriate; as such a Youth Exchange offers an international mobility experience in the safety of a group with the possibility of having an adequate number of group leaders to take care of the participants.”


  OUR ITALIAN TEAM


The Italian team was composed by five participants.

From the left to the right of the photo we have Roberta from Sardinia, Giacomo from Florence, Riccardo from Canavaccio near Urbino and Beatrice and Davide from Pesaro. Then there is also Ksenia from Moscow, who made the photo for us.


PROJECT TIME ACTIVITIES

The activities took place throughout 7 days, from 25/10 to 31/10 2018 and the arrival and departure dates were on 24/10 and 01/11 respectively. Hereunder, you can find a brief resume about all the performed activities!



DAY 2 – Knowing each other

Every day some of the participants was asked to take care about the accomodation of the room for the activities and to prepare a brief summary of the activities of the day.

For day 2, which is the first day of the activities, the summary was prepared by Piotr from Poland. Here it is!

It was the first day of our youth exchange, Environment Friendly”. 
We started the day with amazing energizing activities, which made us full of Energy. We also got to know many people, their names and where they come from. Our trainers have done a good job of ice-breaking games. We felt so comfortable with the people right after the first activity.
The Russian group facilitated the process of becoming us working as a one team. They started with some trust games, where everyone was able to feel support from the rest of the team. Then in the same groups we created 10 creative tasks to be accomplished by some other group. After every team made a creative presentation of the tasks, which made us laugh a lot).
Polish group prepared the workshop about hopes, fears and expectations. They gave participants three different colours post-it and asked to fill them with what do they fear about the youth exchange, how can they contribute in it and what do they hope for by participate in it.

After analysing what we have all wrote on the papers, we divided participants in two groups. One was discussing about features they don’t like in people, the other group – about the things they like.

Afterwards we made the rules for this exchange from the things we like in people and from those which we don’t like, we created the list of how not to behave.
Erasmus +, Youthpass session was held by Check Republic Team in the form of TV Show quick quiz. Participants were divided into 7 international groups, each team with a personal number and a “push-button”. In case, if the team knew the answer, they have to push on their number. The main topics for the questions were: Erasmus+ programs, who and how many times they could do these programs, 8 key competences and advantages that Youthpass is giving.
Afterwards we had an intercultural night – there were 4 countries to present their history, culture, foods and drinks. Greece, Turkey, Ukraine and Poland shared the best things about their countries and we all had great night.”

DAY 3 – Talking about environment and waste management in participant Countries and city game 

The second day was one of the more intense in terms of knowledge and data provided to and by participants. These information was mainly related to the environment and to waste mangement in participant Countries .

The first activity was facilitated by the Latvian organization. Guntis, the team leader from Latvia, gave us an overall presentation of the story of trash, describing the different existing kinds of trash and how they can be reduced and recycled.

As per the first activity, also the second one was facilitated by the Latvian team. During the activity, each national team presented the situation of waste in its Country. For example our Italian team described the percentage of source separated collection of waste in Italy in year 2016, which was 52,5%. We also described the percentage of source separated collection of waste for North Italy, Center Italy, South Italy and Sardinia, which were 64,2%, 48,6%, 37,6% and 60,2% respectively. Then we added some more information about the percentage of source separated collection of each kind of waste, such as the organic fraction of municipal solid waste.

After lunch the third activity “international solutions” was facilitated by the Ukraine team. Each participant organization presented good examples of virtuous management of waste or more generally, environmental friendly good practices. Some of the participant organizations also described their own environmental friendly activities. Our team cited some Italian companies which are good examples of circular economy.

Then in late afternoon we had the “city game”. We went out the hotel to take photos of four sculptures which are present in the near street Kurmajas prospekts and we had to understand what do they represent.

So, by asking information to the citizens and making some web search, we understood that these sculptures, together with a bigger one near the sea, represent some subjects which are recalled in the city anthem.

If you want more information about the anthem or want to hear the song, you can go to the following links:

Then at the end of the day we had the workshop on toothpaste. Vitaly, the main youth worker of the project, taught us how to prepare a home made toothpaste (and also a deodorant) using coconut oil, baking soda, starch and essential oil. You can find more information for the following pictures!

DAY 4 – ecological footprint, starting with campaigns

Also for day 4, which was the third day of activities, we have a summary from Piotr from Poland. Here it is!

We started our day with a very efficient activity dedicated to ecological footprint. At first we were energized by Ukrainian team and then learned some statistics via the portal ecologicalfootprint.org about our countries. We worked in our national teams and then presented information for other countries, so we could make some conclusions about the environmental situation of our homelands.

After a short brake we had three more sections connected with the campaign which were organised by Poland,Italy and Kurdistan teams. We started with trying to find the most successful and effective campaigns of our countries and showed videos to each other. We had thought about what does campaign mean and how we can plan it.

After lunch we had been discussing in mixed groups our projects connected with environmental safety. To make a realistic prognosis and to define target groups of campaign, we pretended that we were at the interview with our future members of target groups.

Also our aim was to find the most appropriate answers to the main questions:

What do we want to change?

Who can make this change?

What can make them realize this change?

How will we say this?

Groups made posters and even presentations of their solutions and we helped each other to conclude to which moments attention should be paid. That is how our session was closed.

DAY 5 – Cleaning the beach and free time to visit the city

For day 5, that is the fourth day of activities, the summary of the activities was prepared by Victoria from Ukraine. Here it is!

It was a great day. Firstly , we went to beach to clean the rubbish, and we felt how we can be an environment friendly. Everybody had their responsibilities.
Another part of our day was dedicated to free cultural visits. Some of us went to museum of Liepāja , another went to the wonderful clean beach again. Also we visited the ” Koncertzale Lielais Zintars”. A few of us visited a prison. It was a useful time of us to discover a city.
At dinner we tasted delicious Latvia dishes. Then, we are going to have an amazing cultural night. Russia , Crech Republic and Italy will show their dances, traditional dishes and cultures.
It was an awasome day.

DAY 6 – Workshops by participants and making videos for campaigns

For day 6, that is the fifth day of activities, the summary of the activities was prepared by Ana from Poland. Here it is!

I want to tell you a story, a story about the 5th day in Liepaja. For now it was the coldest day.

After breakfast we had a session where our participants showed us presentation about the most relevant topics: ‘menstrual cups’, ‘garbage is a killer’, ‘propaganda video making’, Kseniia showed us capoeira basics and Nadia helped us to get rid of our tention.
Then we went out and we started record our videos. We really enjoyed and had unforgetable time together.
Later some volunteers from our international team had a chance to be a part of workshop in Amber Museum. We ended our day with Tshirts painting. We can’t wait for our videos premiere.
Cheers guys!

DAY 7 – Going to the kindergarten and presentation of the videos of the campaign

Day 7, that is the sixth day of avtivities, was dedicated to an environmental friendly activitiy in the kindergarten and to presenting our videos for the campaigns.

During the morning we went to the local kindergarten, where we were really welcomed by the director, the teachers and the children. After presenting ourselves, we were divided into groups and started to collect leaves with children. Some of them speak English, some other Russian and other simply understood us by gesture and mimicing. After collecting leaves, we played some really funny games together with the help of teachers. I really enjoyed the morning. Before leaving, the director newly expressed her gratitude for the visit and gave us a pen from the kindergarten and we all made a photo together!

In the afternoon, our international groups presented the videos we prepared for the campaigns. If you are curious to know more about them, you can find them at the following links!

  1. Environmentally hypocritical (YOUTUBE) https://youtu.be/NfXK3aXlWYE
  2. Environmentally hypocritical (FACEBOOK) https://www.facebook.com/100004493163384/videos/1080826865410409/?id=100004493163384
  3. Fit’n’Clean promo video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NgGNK8utCI&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1iO3cN0P28QltH-h4ZPgpkayyKVoHkSfqUBilO8IJTgViJnRe1XstlTs0
  4. Impakt Environment Friendly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcT_de_5DQQ&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR00eH6eBx0hHGlfm-K_WyNnNUWvodiv3ApAqzBV7eZ_vYLxOOhIcOfE14w
  5. Don’t Pollute the Environment (YOUTUBE) https://youtu.be/5Bft1B2Laoc
  6. Don’t Pollute the Environment (FACEBOOK) https://www.facebook.com/SentinelleDellenergia/videos/188775632035592/

After lunch, I went out from the hotel with Guntis, in order to bring for recycling some empty glass bottles, and with the money earned from the recycling, I made some present for my secret friend, that is some locally produced organic sweets. During the search for the present we could buy, we arrived at “Boulangerie”, a very unique bakery in Liepaja which can delight you with really tasty bread and other baked products. Boulangerie can also serve you tipical Italian coffee, which is not so common to find in Liepaja. The owner of the shop also offered me one bread and I really appreciated that. Then with the presents for my secret friend we returned back to the hotel for the afternoon activities.

In the afternoon, our international groups presented the videos we prepared for the campaigns. If you are curious to know more about them, you can find them at the following links!

  1. Environmentally hypocritical (YOUTUBE) https://youtu.be/NfXK3aXlWYE
  2. Environmentally hypocritical (FACEBOOK) https://www.facebook.com/100004493163384/videos/1080826865410409/?id=100004493163384
  3. Fit’n’Clean promo video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NgGNK8utCI&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1iO3cN0P28QltH-h4ZPgpkayyKVoHkSfqUBilO8IJTgViJnRe1XstlTs0
  4. Impakt Environment Friendly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcT_de_5DQQ&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR00eH6eBx0hHGlfm-K_WyNnNUWvodiv3ApAqzBV7eZ_vYLxOOhIcOfE14w
  5. Don’t Pollute the Environment (YOUTUBE) https://youtu.be/5Bft1B2Laoc
  6. Don’t Pollute the Environment (FACEBOOK) https://www.facebook.com/SentinelleDellenergia/videos/188775632035592/

DAY 8 – My personal sustainable environmental plan and upcycled gifts

Day 8 was the last day of activities. In the morning, we finalized our campaigns and said what are we going to do at home in order to promote environmental friendly behaviours.

Then in the afternoon we prepared upcycled gifts using discarded materials and decorations and we gave them to our secret friends. The secret friend is a game which is often performed in youth exchanges. It starts in the first days of activities, when every participant writes her or his name in a sheet of paper and put it in a common basket. Then each one of us has to get one paper in order to know who is her or his secret friend. From that moment and until the end of the youth exchange we can make every sort of present or favours to our secret friend, directly or with the help of other participants, trying to avoid that our secret friend understands to be our secret friend!

So, after having prepared the upcycled gifts, we gave them to our secret friend.

After that, it was time for the final evaluation and for the delivery of the Youthpasses. For the final evaluation, we draw a suitcase and inside it we wrote what we were bringing home from the youth exchange, It was an intimate moment in which we expressed our feelings and thoughts about the experience we had. After that, we received our Youthpasses.

Final considerations

Environment friendly was my fourth Youth Exchange (indeed it is better to say the third, considering that the first one was a seminar activity). In my first time with youth exchanges I went to Armenia and I was really unprepared to what I could get from the experience. I was interested about the topic, that is social entrepreneurship and so I decided to participate.

Then, once I was there, I understood that the first objective of youth exchanges isn’t that of giving specialistic and professional knowledge about the topic, which nonetheless is still taught through games and non formal learning acivities, but rather to promote intercultural exchange and dialogue, also taking as a reference the eight key competences of Erasmus Plus programme (for the key competences, see https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32006H0962&from=EN).

Personally I am not properly expansive and talkative, so it is not easy for me to make great conversations and talk a lot with all the participants in order to better know each other and share our experiences and ideas. Moreover, I don’t consider myself properly a youthleader, even if this was the investment by which I took part to the youth exchange. Nonetheless, I recognize that I made some small improvements with respects to the previous youth exchanges and I really enjoyed to meet motivated and engaging participants.

And now, what about the future with youth exchanges? I don’t know if I will participate to other Youth Exchanges, it is possible. Yet I would also like and prefer more to try to participate to other EU funded projects in the field of research or promotion of environmental friendly activities and renewable energies and energy efficiency.