„Act for Society“ Malawi-Germany Youth Exchange in Germany

The second youth exchange of the project „Act for Society“ took place in Germany on 05-20 August, 2019.

„No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. A society that cuts off from its youth serves its lifeline.“ Kofi Annan. The project has the aim to empower young people in the field of active participation, decision making and inclusion. The youngsters from Germany and Malawi learn together, gain skills and exchange ideas. They discuss the most burning issues of youth in their countries and think about possible solutions through creating own projects.

Objectives:

  • To equip young people with necessary skills and competencies for the personal and professional growth to be an active citizen, to be responsible for one’s immediate environment and society and active participation.
  • To identify problems which young people face and develop an approach to deal with them by sharing best practices and experience through examples of active participation in Germany and Malawi. And further working on personal or group projects which will bring solutions to the existing problems of young people in their communities and to create a positive change.
  • To get familiar with the existing realities in the field of human rights and active participation of young people in both countries, SDGs, to get inspiration and attitude for activism, change making and justice.

The working methods for this project are based on the principles of non-formal education meaning learner’s centered, skills based, experiential, interactive. We will create the safe space where everyone will feel comfortable and ready to share and to express opinion.

The programme included simulation exercises, reflections, guided discussions, group work, theoretical inputs, practical tasks on SDGs (group and individual), movies, brainstormings, study visits and meeting with experts, local authorities, getting to know each other activities, team building, theater, experiments, use of social media, evaluation and many others. After every exercise, game, other experience there was a debriefing where the participants reflected on their own learning and make conclusions.

Apart from the sessions and practical tasks the participants had the opportunity to learn the German culture, to visit places of interest.

The biggest highlight of the project was the reception at the mayor of Essen. On the 22d floor of the city hall above the roofs of Essen the mayor presented to the young participants the city, its history and current development. At the round table the participants could talk with the mayor Thomas Kufen about the issues of young people, sustainable development goals and the cooperation between Malawi and Germany. In Essen the participants could visit he cathedral, the old synagogue, Folkwang museum and the Unesco heritage site Zeche Zollverein.

Another highlight of the exchange was the visit to the deputy of the German Parliament Helge Lindh in his office in Wuppertal. The deputy discussed with the young people from both countries SDGs, the current issues of young people, their involvement in the democratic processes and decision making and the cooperation between our 2 countries. After the great discussion the participants made a ride by Schwebebahn together with the member of parliament. That was unique and unforgettable.

Among other visits were United Nations headquartes in Bonn, Cologne cathedral and jazz festival in Düsseldorf.

The participants also created the action plans and committments towards the sustainable development goals and their personal and group projects on the topics of active participation, democracy, gender equality, access for young people for the information.

Further links:

Crowdfunding campaign for supporting the project open till the end of September: https://www.gofundme.com/f/j34rq-act-for-society-jugendaustausch-mit-malawi

Article in the press of the city of Essen about the vist to the mayor Mr Thomas Kufen: https://www.essen.de/meldungen/pressemeldung_1320775.de.html?fbclid=IwAR21H13do6W8qqOc0s0owX7WkdLIsXSRVjBPxBzDCRbfY-eh3yxhP8SDkyc

Video of the project: Video

Our gratitude and appreciation: 

We want to express our gratitude towards all people who supported this project financially and in other possible ways.

Also big thanks to the member of the German Paliament Helge Lindh and the mayor of Essen Thomas Kufen for inviting the participants to their office and being the generous hosts.

And the biggest love and respect to the both teams from Germany and Malawi who contributed to the project the most. You were not just participants, you were all its leaders, you took the full responsibility for making this project meaningful, exciting and unforgettable for all of us. We started this exchange with the young people who were waiting for the things to be done by the leaders and we finished it with the responsible leaders who took initiative in all organizational parts, preparing and implementing activities on their own. As the Malawian team gave their best to the exchange in Malawi, so the German team did in Germany. It was incredible transformational process and we are very proud of the results.

The project is supported by Engagement Global with funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

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