30.09.2014 – Avatars of Nograd – Project final evaluation (Hungary)
“AVATARS OF NÓGRÁD – Professional skills to increase quality, impact and recognition of rural youth work” project is a next step for Tihomir Georgiev in his professional development from experienced volunteer to a hi-profile skilled youth worker.
Egyesek Youth Association and AIESEC Bulgaria join to support Tihomir through this project for youth worker’s mobility. Tihomir already has 2 years of volunteer experience at AIESEC Bulgaria and EVS in outreach youth work in one of the poorest regions in Hungary, Nógrád, hosted by Creative Space, our local partner. By being present for another 6 months during AVATAR, Tihomir got the opportunity to continue and add to his EVS experience quality, visibility and sustainability. Among his responsibilities were leading, coordinating, creating content and evaluating non-formal learning in the after-school clubs of Nograd, where we do playful, action based, English speaking learning sessions to Roma and non Roma youth.
He also provided task-related support of the EVSers, shared best practices and know-how with them about the circumstances, opportunities and challenges in the local communities. He also took part in the organizing team doing the preparation, implementation and follow-up of the 2014 short-term EVS project “High Energy”. Tihomir’s presence increased the international context in the area, gave possibility to local experts to exchange best practices and supported the development of further long-term youth work strategy of Egyesek in the area.
The objectives of the project were:
– to improve the youth worker’s professional competences on-the-job, in practice, in the fields of improvement of employability, participation and inclusion; mentoring and task-related support of volunteers; intercultural work;
– to stimulate exchange and testing of best-practice and expertise among Tihomir Georgiev, Egyesek and AIESEC Bulgaria staff and volunteers in an intercultural learning environment;
– to improve the quality of outreach local youth work and local networking done by Egyesek in the Nógrád region;
– to strengthen partnership and exchange international networking practices between Egyesek and AIESEC Bulgaria.
All this was followed by incorporating innovative methods and tailor-made approach in order to stimulate local and international young people to increase their pro-activity, self-expression and employability.
Methods that Tihomir used under the supervision of Egyesek were learning by experience through application of drama and theater, dance, art, media and outdoor activities in the daily, weekly and monthly encounters with local children, youth, social workers and volunteers.
The youth worker shares some thoughts:
“Avatar project gave me a great opportunity to learn and explore while building up on my experience as an EVS volunteer in Nograd region in Hungary.
Among the most important things for me are the many friends I made and the chance to meet so many young people from around 20 countries throughout the whole project lifetime.
On local level of Nograd, I created friendships that will last and I am very happy for spending this time with the children from the communities of Endrefalva, Rimoc, Nagyloc, Szecseny, Nogradszakal. It is amazing how natural and intutive can the interaction be bеtween me and the local children and youth, even though we had no common language in the most cases. Most of the people in Nograd do not speak English or the level of it is quite basic. Also my Hungarian skills were not enough to have a conversation but all that was just a detail and had no influence in creating strong friendships. I find it great! Of course speaking a common language would help and make it easier but maybe it would also be a little less genuine as it is without a common language, becoming lost in all those linguistic cliches and descriptions.
Also I had chance to take more responsibilities and be a coordinator for EVS volunteers from 10 countries, take part in design, planning and organizing workshops for short-term EVS for the High Energy project (see links below).
Another thing is the opportunity to work the experienced staff of Egyesek Youth Association and become an equal part of the team of the organization. That also allowed me to feel better, safe and somehow home during the 6 months of the project.
I also would like to say that I practiced and developed and improved some of my skills that I put a focus on and are important to me like mentoring, facilitation, leading, trainership and cooperation. Actually if I have to list all skills that I somehow practiced it will become so long so I just give the ones that I find very important for me at this point and regarding this project.
Below I provide few pictures and a video which somehow represent my experience.
All those materials are from events in which I participated and all of them bring memories in me and are very special to me.
I really thank everyone who was involved in my project somehow – host organization staff, coordinator, EVSers, AIESEC Bulgaria and all local kids, youth, volunteers, social and youth workers, friends! I thank all of them for the trust, friendship and support that I received in different occasions!
And for the ones that are not sure yet or still wondering whether to go on a volunteering project, or to explore youth work and the opportunities Erasmus+ gives so many people across Europe and the neighboring countries – stop wondering and go!
I believe this is a precious experience and young people should challenge themselves because this learning is much more easy and fun than school. Actually, the learning in the context of youth non-formal and informal education is a perfect way to apply, build on or improve what people learn in school and university. It is also a great way to develop new competences, skill and gain new values.”
Project details: YiA, Action 4.3c Youth workers’ mobility, Duration: 6 months
Placement: Creative Space training centre, Holloko, Nograd
Host: Egyesek Youth Association
Sending org.: AIESEC Bulgaria
Funded by European Commission Youth in Action Programme.
Images from: Smokinya Informal Youth Group