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  • Writer's pictureNika Bakhsoliani

Sustain Your Way - youth exchange

In the end of July, from 23th to 31th, a group from Youth For Peace And Equality (Ekuna Gogoberishvili, Tornike Tsinaridze, Monika Kehl, Avtandil Vardiashvili) participated in a youth exchange called “Sustain Your Way” in the city of Kobuleti and Anaklia, Georgia. The main task of the project was to promote ecologically friendly and sustainable lifestyle, to become aware of the environment and find solutions to improving the situation in participating countries by providing participants with different tools and soft skills for empowerment.

The project gathered 32 participants from Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, Estonia and Georgia. The first day of exchange started with ice-breaking activities and name games, following small workshops of presenting the whole program of activities. Participants were introduced to the strategy of exchange, where the lead role of organising activities was not only given to group leaders, but to participants also. The second day started with presentations of each country group about current environmental situation in their countries. Through the disscusion participants understood that there is a lot of common issues, that needs attention and improvement.In the second part of the day participants started preparation for the “Trip”- two day hiking and camping .The whole group splitted in three teams-Technical, Provision and Planning teams.Each group had its own task-provision team was responsible for cooking and medication, the technical team was in charge of whole equipment, while the programme team developed the route for the hike and planned schdule for the activities at the period of staying in the forest. ​

The third day started with a journey to a camping place, wonderful national park of Mtirala, in a high mountain region of the arrival technical and planning team set out the camp, while provision team was mainly oriented on food preparation.After setting down and having some break, the whole group went hiking on a steepy paths of the park. The route was not easy, but as a reward in the end of it participants found themselves by the astonishning waterfall, where some of them even had an “ice shower”.Conclusion of the day was a bonfire session, where everyone shared their thought and emotions about the tough, but full of adventures day. The fourth day was full of sessions , dedicated for self-empowerment and where oriented on experiential learning principles, like “Kolb’s” theory. Group discussed meaning of footprint on environment and had session about recycling and waste control.

The fifth day was physically tough. The group left the National Park and headed to the Anaklia -the plays where world’s longest electronic music festival was taking place. There participants worked out the practical implementation of the whole knowledge that they get previously- flashmob perfomance with the use of garbage. Also in programme was planned the session about ecology for the visitors of the festival. ​

The sixth day was full of the performance- in the middle of the festival territory participants out of the sudden started flashmob with use of plastic bottles and invited all people to take part in. Later using moving performance they brought people who got interested in event to the social bar “Booksa”, where they made a lecture to make people aware of their influence on environment.The same evening the whole group took a night train to Tbilisi, where the last day was supposed to be. The seventh day was held in the office of YPE, where the participants came up with the idea of making brochures - a guide for being eco-friendly. After the final discussion the participants shared their emotions and future steps for the dissemination of gained knowledge.

The project was from the beginning based a lot on sharing our personal stories, the challenges we face in our lives and the changes we would like to make. We were sharing our ideas on the ways of familiarizing each other with concepts and approaches of working in a field of mobility for youth. It was all great mixture of non-formal education and experiential learning where one could gain some new skills in development of activities and programs for training at international, national or local level.

"Sustain Your Way" gave lots of new methods for dealing with challenges of evaluation the effectiveness of the different actions, activities programs undertaken and development of learning from the evaluation process to implement future projects.

#Erasmusplus #SustainYourWay #ypegeorgia #YouthExchange

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