Training Course 'Natural Empowerment'

16-22.05.2018 Misaktsieli, Georgia

On May 16, was the official start of the the training course "Natural Empowerment", the second international mobility activity of the long-term project "Youth Work-Community Building in Rural Areas" within Erasmus Plus Project.

During a week, 26 participants from Denmark, Armenia and Georgia, including the eight long-term fellows of the programme, worked together in Misaktsieli (Georgia) on the topic of youth work, community development and event management.

Educational and Cultural Bridges NGO was presented by 7 participants from Syunik region, a region which was chosen for this one year project.

Some sessions were dedicated to presenting the main characteristics of the two big activities that will come in the following months and for which this training course is preparing us: the international youth exchange in August and the Large Scale Event in the format of a Rural Festival in October. The dates, venue, number of participants, main objectives and programme elements of these two events were presented and explained to the group. Later on, participants divided themselves into two groups: those who will be focusing their work on preparing the YE in August and those who will be in charge of co-organizing the Rural Festival in October.

The second day of “Natural Empowerment” began with the presentation of the agenda for the day. We started off with the session dedicated to the issues of community development in rural areas. In order to do so, participants from Georgia, Denmark and Armenia tried to represent the whole picture of their own communities through community mapping.

The third day of our training course “Natural Empowerment” has been one of the most special ones so far. It was finally time for the whole group to discover the local realities where we will make all the magical change happen. So exciting! And because all good things need a little effort, we had to wake up a bit earlier than usual and start our trip at 9 am. Our destination? The fascinating David Gareja Monastery and the incomparable village of Udabno (Georgian word for "dessert"), where different activities were awaiting us.

On the 4rd day we saw the post-production movies made about former rural initiatives that the team and DRONI have been involved in. There was a movie about the Gremi rural fest, the first Udabno Rural festival, the Arabuli Art House in Chirdili village, and finally some of the course participants presented some former initiatives that they have taken part in and wanted to share to inspire all of us, here we saw a clip about a raspberry festival held in Ashotavan, Armenia and “Rethink Activism” in Aarhus, Denmark. All of them were very inspiring in different ways.

On the last day of the training sessions were dedicated to working in the groups, which are responsible for planning the upcoming Youth Exchange next August and the festival in October, respectively. Throughout the day the groups started to get some structure and overview into their planning and managed to settle the first prototype of programmes for the coming events.

Responsibility areas have been resolved in order to be able to follow up the work in the time coming. It is a major puzzle to plan events including many people, but the tools that we have obtained doing the training course helped along the way and make it easier to comprehend the many parts of the entirety.

In the end, the Georgian style BBQ party was held for everyone to celebrate ourselves and the new friendships that have been formed throughout. The mood was ecstatic and we all look forward to the interesting time coming with the planning of the events to come.

Special thank you to Greta Gevorgyan, our fellow for preparing this Article.