Fellowship in Boras, Sweden
7 fellows - youth workers and municipality representatives from the country of Georgia, Armenia and Moldova were recruited for the fellowship in Borås municipality. Participants shadowed the working cycle of KEKS and got involved in the activities conducted in the municipality of Borås. Fellows gained hand-in-hand experience with youth projects and youth policy implementation in this social welfare state. The second phase of the project #Triangle4youth created a space to discover and discuss intercultural aspects of the youth policy in order to bring European Dimension to youth work.
Participants were explained in details a structure of Borås municipality. There, they were specifically introduced to the Health and Leisure department, to which youth centers belong. Exchanging knowledge with the managers of Borås youth centers was very innovative in terms of different approaches they have with young people. Participants from the EaP countries explored the specifics of youth work in Sweden: if youth work their own countries is associated with is the elimination of social problems of youth, Swedish youth work is more concentrated on providing all young people with a safe, nice and inspiring environment.
Georgian, Armenian and Moldovan fellows discovered how effective, useful and helpful church can be in the life of youth. They visited Christian church in Borås, which welcomes young people of any background, sexual orientation, religious and spiritual beliefs. The pedagogues are trained as youth workers, and the institution involves psychologists for youngsters during their work. Highlight of the 3rd day was the meeting with a local politician, a head of the leisure and health committee, representative of the Swedish left wing party. Participants of the job shadowing found out, that the decisions they make is joint with other political parties and they almost never argue on the topics related to youth matters. Later, fellows visited KEKS in Gothenburg, which is a network of 46 municipality departments for youth work. Jonas Agdur, chairman of KEKS made a very informative, comprehensive presentation for them about youth work in Sweden and in KEKS, and about their research project on conditions for youth participation. Participants had a study visit to Arena 29, - a cultural house and a meeting place for young people between 16-25 years, planned and arranged by the young people themselves. Arena 29 has different types of facilities and tools to help youngsters express themselves creatively.
Youth workers and the public authority representatives found the digital system of KEKS especially exciting. It is a very useful tool for documentation and follow-up of youth activities. Participants from the country of Georgia think of implementing similar tool in Georgia. During the next day, the job shadowing took place at Norrbyhuset, a youth center in an area of the city which is mostly populated by the immigrants and Bryggehuset - DIY house for young people of the age 16-29, where all of the facilities are free for them. Fellows had a chance to meet some EVS volunteers in the youth centers. It was the first center with a library, which was very much enjoyed by youth workers. Besides, they mentioned that even though there are some conservative people in Borås, avoiding living in the area together with immigrants, municipality works hard to include them in the society.
The next stop was a youth centers where one of the most successful projects - summer job “Young Developers of municipality” was implemented. Participants watched one of its outcome: a short video “Community, Free from Violence”. The presentation was made by the youngsters who worked on it and the video during their summer job. As they learned, this summer programme offered by the municipality employs youngsters from 16 to 19 and helps them get
working experience and contribute to the development of their municipality. The Last day of the job shadowing was quite intense. First, participants met international coordinators of Borås Stad - Edina and Chiara and talked about possible ways for future cooperation. It was rather interesting, as the hosts learned a lot about working with Eastern Partnership countries as well.
Later on, they met Malin Yderhag, youth strategist, coordinator of youth council of Borås. She talked about the youth council, it’s organization and accomplishments and its opportunities ahead. Fellows discovered, that they actively cooperate with other cities of Sweden. The highlight of the day was newly built youth center in Mark, near Borås. It was the first youth center they visited that had special days and events to work with and include young people with disabilities. Some of the fellows attended small workshop and made their own handmade crafts.
The end of this fruitful day was culminated by a farewell intercultural evening at one of the youth centers, where participants presented their own traditional food, snacks, non-alcoholic drinks and some dances as well. Later they thanked the hosts and said good bye till the next meeting in Gori - a place where the fourth phase of the project #Triangle4youth is going to take place.