How e-mazing is your organisation?
2-7 maggio 2016
Naturefriends House De Berk, Belgium
Monday, 2nd May
May 2nd, was the day on which the IYNF training called “How E-mazing is your organization?” started. Around 33 people from 16 countries, European and non European got together as a unique team, local groups of Naturefriends and IYNF partner organizations alike, as well as some newcomers.
The first evening was meant to let participants to get to know each other through different games.
We made a group of two, started to find a location in which they could find their mission, which was written on a piece of paper. This game allowed the members to talk to each other and get to know each other while discovering different corners of the Naturefriends house.
Around 20.30 when an eco-friendly dinner was over, people went out into the open space again and played a game, in which they had to cooperate with each other to get out of trouble! The island game: giving the members some pieces of wood and asking members to escape from the sinking island just by passing through the woods, which took a lot of effort and creativity for some.
Tuesday, 3rd of May
After the arrival of the participants and the “getting to know each other” games we had the first fully working day in Essen. We started the day with some warm up activities and games to energize the group. According to the agenda, in the morning session we had an introduction to the weekly program and our expectations related to it. We started to get into the topic of e-participation with a brainstorming and later through working in groups we had the chance to learn more about its meaning and today’s usage. After an enjoyable lunch the afternoon session started with a very interesting presentation about a local NGO, called ‘Ringland’ whose mission is to improve the traffic conditions in Antwerp, which is affecting strongly the quality of life in that Belgian city.
The rest of the session was about NGO marketing, or what kind of skills we can “buy” from the other participants or “sell” to them, which means sharing and exchanging personal experiences about certain topics. After the delicious dinner and a bit of rest, we finished the day with the presentation of the organizations participating in the project (who are they, what do they do) and we closed the evening with thematic drinks and food, where we had the chance to taste traditional drinks from different countries.
“Web of life ” was one of the highlights of the day, with the purpose of giving the members a more conceptual idea on how our planet relies on every single metabolism and how everything is connected.
Wednesday, 4th of May
The third day of “How e-mazing is your organization” started with a session called “Fighters for Rights”. In this activity, participants received an envelope with photos and pieces of cut text, which had to be put together to read the stories of more or less well-known people, who in history and nowadays have been fighting for human rights. While personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Edward Snowden were relatively easy to identify, however there were also some who were unknown to most participants, like Aaron Schwartz, a young activist focussing on hacking and online piracy. The result of the activities was that even though all of the represented activists had to face difficulties, most participants agreed that nevertheless it is worthy to fight for your opinion. The next point of the agenda was called “Good Practice” and the task for the participants was to visit in small groups, websites of projects on civic participation, as well as to present these to the whole group. After the lunch break the afternoon was dedicated to “the World of IYNF” where the staff and other members of IYNF presented project opportunities, possibilities for funding and ways to get involved, for example as e-volunteering, EVS or internships. It was an interesting day full of input and therefore, participants were happy to be able to enjoy the free evening in the Naturefriends House and its surroundings.
Thursday, 5th of May
The day started with a nice energizer called “hello neighbour”, helping members to run and refresh their bodies.
The next session was focused on discussing our online identities, following up by “Google Knows”, a group activity whose aim was to find some important definitions related to e-participation using Google. Afterwards Thomas conducted a debate about different online topics, which included controversial and thought provoking topics.
The next step was the webinar with Jane Cravens on virtual volunteering and how to recruit and manage e-volunteers.
The last session of the day was the “Ecomaps Game”, a role playing game, in which participants had to portray different real life scenarios; the scope of the game was to show us how important it is to support local economies and how our everyday choices affect everything around us.
Friday, 6th of May
Naturefriends biked several kilometers, breathing the fresh air of one of Belgium’s biggest national parks – de zoom – kalmthoutse, located at the Belgian-Dutch border. There’s also a brief stop by a museum to learn more about the fauna of that unique region.
At a certain moment, participants were asked to write down their impressions and learning points from the entire project.
Paria Bagheri Moghaddam