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Five inspiring initiatives exemplifying digital youth work

Since 2017 Centre for Digital Youth Care has been part of the Erasmus+ -project “Digital Youth Work”, where we work with our international partners to gather initiatives which aim to integrate digital tools and possibilities into youth work.

The first 18 of these initiatives are already online on the project website and in this blog post we will be showcasing five of our international partners’ best contributions to the project (in a non-prioritized order), hoping that other youth workers will use them as a source of inspiration.

1. The photo-story: Personal accounts leading to a new understanding

(Subtitles should be on by default, if not, go to Youtube settings)

The first of these initiatives hails from Ireland, where the organization “Youth Work Ireland Tipperary” is giving young refugees an opportunity to tell their personal stories, using photos and video. This choice of medium is deliberate, because even though they are refugees, many of them are very experienced when it comes to using smartphones, tablets and the like.

This means that the main task of the initiative, is to teach storytelling techniques to the refugees, which they can then combine with their own technical know-how, in order to convey their stories in ways, which give non-refugees a glimpse of their lives, be it through exhibitions, or other kinds of educational material. This process makes the refugees feel more self confident, and it gives non-refugees a greater understanding of the lives of other young people, either in the country which the refugees have fled from, or in the new country which they have fled to.

For more information see project homepage.

2. Digital workshops getting young people involved in city planning

A very ambitious, different, but also exciting project comes to us from Germany, where local authorities have invited young people to participate in city planning, using different digital tools (such as Minecraft) – an approach which the young find to be fare more motivating than the standardized political approach regarding such matters.

The initiative offers young people an opportunity to to engage and make their wishes known, by approaching the matter in a playful and experimenting manner, using formats which they ae very comfortable with.

Once the process is completed, the young people are given a chance to present their results to the local decision makers, meaning that in effect, the initiative helps to shape the young into democratic citizens, as well as giving them a sense of having a real say, as far as the future of their local area is concerned.

For more information see project homepage.

3. Instawalks: Forging new friendships and encouraging the young to view their home cities with fresh eyes

While the previously mentioned Irish initiative, is using photography and other kinds of media to convey a new understanding of differing backgrounds and living conditions, an Austrian initiative is encouraging young people to take a new and fresh look at their own otherwise well-known surroundings.

The concept is simple: Armed with their smartphones and Instagram profiles (and accompanied by youth workers) the young join each other on walks, where they explore and photograph their home towns or other local areas, using a previously agreed theme as a starting point, while the whole shared experience also gives the young people a chance to form new friendships.

Lastly, the initiative also serves as a natural excuse to discuss which guidelines it would be a good idea to consider, when uploading photos.

For more information see project homepage.

4. Digidabble: Digital Toys creating shared experiences and learning spanning multiple generations

(Subtitles should be on by default, if not, go to Youtube settings)

In recent years, Denmark  has had to rethink and expand the way in which many of the public spaces are used, in order for the facilities to remain relevant to the local communities.  The same is the case in Scotland, where the initiative “Digidabble” joins forces with other local youth work initiatives and seeks to increase people’s awareness, concerning all the digital activities which are offered by local libraries.

Together, they host events, where all the activities on offer are gathered under one roof (most of these activities are digital, but things like board games are also included) and young and old alike, are invited to come by, so they can play and explore together, while learning from each other.

Furthermore, the events have the added effect of increasing many of the young people’s self confidence, while also making them engaged in the local communities, because – be it  as guests or as volunteers – they have the opportunity to guide others and to show them a world in which they are truly the experts.

For more information see project homepage.

5. YAD Street Team: Young people actively fighting back against substance abuse

Last – but by no means least – there is the Finish initiative “Youth Against Drugs – Street Team”, which seek to engage young people in activities aimed at actively combatting the substance abuse among their peers.

The activities are carried out locally, as follows: The young person chooses a task from the online catalogue of assignments ( e.g. distributing materials, or giving a talk at their local school). Any necessary material tied to the task is then mailed to the “activist”, and once the task has been completed, the activist then reports back (electronically) to a youth worker, who gives feedback and awards points, which the person can then cash in to get various rewards.

Besides combating substance abuse, this initiative also make the young people engage with their local communities, while also meeting each other and forming new friendships, as they contribute to a common course.

In Finland, all this is coordinated, using a nation-wide online platform. Of course, this is not an approach which will be feasible to everyone. Even so, more locally confined, scaled down versions of such a project may be possible, and as such, it is our hope that the initiative can still provide valuable inspiration.

For more information see project homepage.

This work by CDYC (CPDP) was developed in the project “Digitally Agile Youth Work” with funding from Erasmus+. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at our webpage www.cfdp.dk.

The full collection includes materials from partners from Scotland, Ireland, Finland, Austria, Germany and Denmark. This can be found at www.digitalyouthwork.eu

 

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