wir weit weg

wir weit weg is a project that promotes the international mobility and intercultural competence of young people whose school does not offer such possibilities. In addition, the participants get to know the extracurricular education opportunities on site and can gain their first experience in project management thanks to the participate approach. (more details on the project homepage)

Process

A group of 10 to 20 young people (between 13 and 16 years old) develops and organises an international youth exchange abroad and a return exchange in Germany (one week each). They work in weekly meetings under the guidance of two coaches (students with experience abroad who are trained as coaches). During the preparation the participants get to know different fields of extracurricular education (e.g. youth cultural work, maker spaces, environmental education, media education, etc.).

The project lasts one year. It starts after autumn holidays 2017 and ends in autumn 2018. The group meets with the coaches in the school’s rooms for about 90 to 120 minutes a week after lessons. In the second half of the project, the rhythm may be reduced to meetings every 2 weeks.

What does it mean to design and organise a youth exchange?

In an international youth exchange, young people from two or more countries meet for a period of one to three weeks. They participate all together in a workshop programme about a specific topic. In addition, the focus is on getting to know the other participants and gaining experience abroad. Generally, all groups spend the night together in an accommodation such as a hostel, youth education centre or similar institution, which also offers rooms for the workshops. Therefore, for us, developing and organising a youth exchange means: finding and selecting the destination and a partner group, developing the topic and the workshop programme, organising the trip and finding financial support.

Project phases 2017 -2018

October 2017  Getting to know each other as a group
November- December 2017 Where do we want to go? What do we want to do? How do we get there? How do we get it paid?
January 2018 Application for ERASMUS+
March – April 2018 Exercises on Intercultural Competence? What do we want to do during the exchange?
May – June 2018 After approval of the funding: Concrete preparation of the exchanges.
Summer 2018  Implementation of the exchange abroad
August – September 2018  Review of the exchange abroad and preparation of the exchange in Germany
October 2018 Exchange in Germany
October – November Review, invoicing, documentation

Parties involved

  • De 10 a 20 volunteer participants, between 13 to 16 years old.
  • Volunteer Coaches, trained young adults, mainly students; project coordination: KINDERVEREINIGUNG Leipzig e.V. – International Work;
  • Four secondary Schools. Two from Leipzig, one from Chemnitz and one from the district of Leipzig
  • Partner organisations in other European countries, depending on the decision of the young participants.

Role of the school

The school provides the rooms and a contact person for the coaches, with whom they can clarify organisational questions if necessary. There is no need for a teacher to be involved in the content. The school makes it possible for the project to be presented once in the 8th grade (13-14 years old). There is also an offer for the teaching staff for an educational day focused on working in intercultural contexts. The location school is important for the project because it creates a degree of commitment on the part of the participants that can rarely be created in the context of open youth work. We need it in the first phase of the project. Later, the young people simply join in out of enthusiasm. We are very happy when the school makes the project known in its networks. In the last phase of the project, it was proved to be a motivational aid that the participating pupils were released from lessons for a few days during the holiday season. However, this is not decisive for the success of the project.

Role of KINDERVEREINIGUNG Leipzig e.V. International work

The KINDERVEREINIGUNG Leipzig e.V. is the project sponsor. We take care of the application for the funds, the conception, the training of the coaches, the accompaniment of the groups and coaches during the entire duration of the project. In addition, there is public relations work for the total project on local/state and federal level.

Sponsor Finances

The project is funded between 2017 and 2019 by the KJP Innovation Fund of the BMFSFJ and between 2017 and 2018 by the Office for Youth, Family and Education of the City of Leipzig (AfJFB). These funds cover the coordination and expenses for coaches and material.

For the exchanges, applications are submitted to ERASMUS+, the European Commission’s mobility programme, or to the bilateral funding agencies or state funding programmes, as the case may be.

The history of the project wir weit weg

In Leipzig there was a predecessor project from 2014 to 2016. At three secondary schools, groups successfully developed their youth exchange under the guidance of coaches. The first round was supported by the AfJFB of the city of Leipzig. Unfortunately, the Office dispensed with the project specialised in international youth work and operational work in the field. However, the volunteer coaches and the independent organisations involved wanted the successful project to continue. In the course of a consulting scholarship from Startsocial, the group wir weit weg decided to organise under the umbrella of the KINDERVEREINIGUNG Leipzig e.V. (Children’s Association Leipzig). In June 2017 the funding of the project phase 2017 to 2019 was approved by the Innovation Fund of the Children and Youth Plan of the Federal Government.

supported by: