Unlock headspace

The project “Unlock headspace – Education for youth wellbeing, self-care and empowerment” intends to create innovation and improve the capacities of youth organizations and youth workers to foster youth participation.

While working on youth empowerment and value-based youth-led activism in local communities, it got obvious for all project partners that it is essential for young people to learn skills for creating community, a sense of belonging, while at the same time they need to have tools at hand ensuring that they feel self-confident, well and happy with their identity and role in society.
From our observations, there are a plenty of courses – and the partners themselves offer such courses – on e.g. community development or social transformation focussing on transmitting competences on how to build peaceful communities or how to trigger sustainable societal change. Unfortunately, there are much less educational opportunities that aim to provide young people with instruments or tools for taking care about their well-being, their inner state of peace and their well-being as individuals shaping the community in which they live.

However, it is a precondition for successful participation to of feel well, be healthy and confident. While this precondition is often articulated by youth workers and young people, also the 2019-2027 EU youth strategy puts a flashlight on wellbeing and health with the fifth of eleven Youth Goals. The youth strategy says explicitly “a significant and increasing number of young people across Europe are expressing their concern at the prevalence of mental health issues such as high stress, anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses amongst their peers. Young people cite the immense societal pressures they face today, and express a need for better youth mental health provision.” Without feeling well and healthy nobody engages in processes of community development.

Consequently, the project aims to strengthen the capacities of (youth) organisations in supporting young people`s health and personal well-being and contribute to young people`s empowerment as active citizens.

Accordingly, the project pursues the following distinct objectives:
– To strengthen the competences of youth workers in supporting young people`s personal well-being, mental and physical health and personal development to become active and responsible citizens
– To develop innovative, needs-based educational activities and materials for self-care, mindfulness and well-being of young people
– To intensify transnational cooperation between the project partners on self-care, mindfulness and well-being as preconditions for personal development of young people

What distinguishes our programme from others is its unique and innovative entry point. We have chosen Mindfulness and Embodiment as the training focus. Mindfulness and Embodiment are two strong pathways towards mental health, wellbeing, a greater self-awareness and sense of belonging.

As a result of this innovative training focus, the youth workers are expected to be enabled to apply tools and techniques encouraging self-reflection, self-worth, a sense of self-efficacy, and to foster emotional intelligence & agility among young people in order to support them in formulating their own values and be enabled to create new forms of cooperation and interaction on societal level.

The project consists of four educational activities.
Activity 1: E-learning course 1 – What is and how mindfulness and embodiment is connected to youth work
Activity 2: Training course 1 – Understanding mindfulness and embodiment as tools in youth work
Activity 3: E-learning course 2 – Creating educational activities for young people`s wellbeing and health
Activity 4: Training course 2 – Practicing mindfulness education for youth

Together those activities constitute a single educational programme designed to match the learning needs of the participants and partner organisations.

The educational approach is holistic in the sense that it focuses on:
Competence development, understood as the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes, to ensure that the learning process translates into changed behaviour
Different forms of learning (cognitive, emotional and tactile) to contribute to a learning process that responds to different learning styles.

The methods planned to be used during the training programme are based on non-fornal education and include, the following:
– Organized input session to transfer knowledge on specific topics mentioned above.
– Group work to gain awareness and knowledge of the current challenges of youth and youth work
– Exercises and workshops to work on gaining practical experience and competences in Mindfulness and Embodiment Theatre exercises to present outcomes of conceptual discussions
– Creative workshops to explore alternative ways to work on the topics related with social transformation and communitybuilding
– Role-plays to raise awareness on youth challenges at community level and in communication
– Sharing methods to explore realities and experiences
– Reflection groups to fine-tune and monitor the process
– Energizers, name games, icebreakers and team-building to cohesion the group and contribute to positive group dynamics.

The project involves a total of 24 youth educators and youth workers from Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova, Hungary, Spain, Germany and Italy in all project activities. The participants are supported by a project team consisting of 5 people (project coordinator, 2 trainers, project reporter, and project manager).

Profile of participants:
– Being involved in non-formal learning activities with young people at community level either as a volunteer, paid staff or freelancer
– Good understanding of the development challenges of young people in their community
– Basic understanding of concepts of youth empowerment, well-being and care
– Basic experience in leading educational activities with young people, at local or international level
– Interested in developing competences to work in the field of youth well-being and health, especially on mindfulness and embodiment
– Readiness to explore tools from Mindfulness and Embodiment and their application in youth work settings
– Ready to share and explore in a highly multicultural learning setting
– Should have a communicative level of English.

  • Programme and action:

    Erasmus+ KA1 training course

  • Dates:

    2020-2021

  • Venue:

    Lagodekhi, Georgia - Pécs, Hungary

  • Number of participants:

    58

  • Participating countries:
    • Armenia
    • Germany
    • Georgia
    • Hungary
    • Italy
    • Moldova
    • Spain
    • Ukraine