Economic and social times are changing, globally and in Europe. Communities are in transition, and not only through migration. Citizens are obliged to become more self-sufficient. These are changes and challenges not easily accepted and dealt with.
Successful initiatives depend on factors such as trust, sharing emotions, recognising and accepting differences. If cohesion and progress are the objectives, then storytelling delivers the tools and also creates engagement and compassion. Stories of shared values, shared plans and more equality provide the best examples for all that. The most successful narrative expressing this is democracy where everyone has a voice and a choice.
With the project ‘Raising Strong and Resilient Communities’ the consortium wants to develop a set of educational tools that can be used in adult education (with a focus on non-formal adult education) focussing on active citizenship and participation. These tools are based on existing and the further expansion of developed approaches, theories and methods of storytelling.
These tools are:
- a teacher/ trainer manual
- structured courses for adult educators
- a collection of videos/ audio recordings to showcase best practices and function as instruction videos.
The tools will be developed around the development of competences of cooperation and communication in differing communities, between various ‘divides’, such as intergenerational, intercultural, etc in order for learners to actively engage in local community work.
The partnership’s primary target group is the non formal educators and educational organisations, who preferably have a local focus and are active in the field of strengthening local communities. These include social workers, volunteer organisations, non-formal trainers, street coaches, NGO’s, etc.
The partnership’s secondary target groups are the learners of these people and organisations, the local community citizens that can use these tools in the community work and activity plans (for the present and future) they are, and want to be involved in.
The innovative aspect of this project is that it aims at training and facilitating community educators to work with concrete narrative methods (e.g. Participatory Narrative Inquiry, Participatory Learning in Action, Community & network Mapping), guidelines and courses to help communities coping with present AND imagined and feasible FUTURE situations.
On an individual basis that means changing the attitude, the negative discourse of the individual and the lingering in (dominating) stories of the past.
The project will thus support planning a future for communities with concrete actions taken for future-proofing, inspired and carried by a community story that will lead to participation, collaboration, and in the end to a positive change.
The most important aspect of this project will be that during the project the partners will work on concrete cases with nationally selected community workers / educators and their communities, and alongside testing our tools, we will develop effectively 'working' (and thus future-orientated) community stories.
That way the methods used, the manual and the courses will become education tools and starting point for educators, volunteers and (social/street) workers in diverse communities.
Target community in the Czech Republic – Unemployed people in age over 50 years
Czech DEX, s. r. o. in cooperation with local branches of the Labour Office in Liberec, the Labour Office in Jablonec nad Nisou, and also in cooperation with non-profit organizations „PLUS 50, o. s.“ and „Alternativa 50+, o. p. s.“ iniciated activities in the Czech Republic in a frame of RS&RC project. Activities are performed within a community of unemployed people in age 50 years and more.
As a part of this joint community project, which is focused on the usage of storytelling as a suitable method for strengthening and possible changes within a given community, which is solving common problem, will be realized. Several storytelling methods in a given community of unemployed people over 50 years will be tested, too.
People 50+ (50-65 years old) are increasingly facing problems with their employability. Not only are they seen as older and slower at work, with not enough IT and language skills, but also as people with not enough potential in comparison with younger people. Therefore, people 50+ are loosing jobs, cannot find new jobs in this age category as easily as others, and face many prejudices among employers. They can lack some basic skills (IT, languages) necessary today to get a job and get employed again. Therefore, people 50+ cannot simply change their job when they are dissatisfied at work, because of above stated challenges. Many times, their fears are high and they do not have other possibility than to keep the current job, if they are lucky enough to protect it.
Direct beneficiaries (e.g. educators / mentors / the partner organization itself and/or (other) interested organizations with adult educators / trainers / coaches / volunteer managers etc):
Czech DEX (the partner) has chosen to cooperate on this project (in addition to our own staff) with both formal and non-formal organizations to get the complex view and experience sharing with the community. From formal organizations, we will collaborate with local subsidiaries of Labour Office, whose people are frequently in contact with the community members. The local labour offices are Liberec, Jablonec nad Nisou, Semily and Česká Lípa (all in northern Czech Republic). From non-formal organizations that work closely with people in category 50+ regarding their employability, we will cooperate closely with PLUS 50, o.s. and ALTERNATIVA 50+, o.p.s.
Indirect beneficiaries (short characterization of the community members the partner and/or the direct beneficiaries want to facilitate):
Indirect beneficiaries of this project will be people of age between 50-65 years old in their last productive working period before going to pension. People of such age face problems with loosing job, fears of changing job in such an age, prejudices from employers and lack of some skills.