Project “YOUth Ambassadors of Non-Formal Learning”
Organization: United Societies of Balkans
Facilitator: Vasilis Tsalos
Date and location: 29.05.2020 – online
List of questions for Focus Group
- Do you think for NFE is important age, gender, nationality?
Age could be important in the terms of experience that maybe someone has. The age limits for participation in NFL activities are not strictly established, but usually it is very effective to have a diverse level of ages in the group, in order that the ones who have more experience can help and engage the others. Gender does not matter at all, participants said. All the people have the same opportunities. Nationality as well does not count, but it would be great if participants can communicate at the same language.
- What does NFE mean to you? Can you define?
Participants shared some key words expressions, such as:
– Education for all
– An alternative way of learning
– Go out of your comfort zone
– Learn from others and cooperation with people from different backgrounds
– Develop and evaluate my soft skills and my competences
– An open space in which the freedom of expression exists
- Have you ever been a participant in an NFE program? If yes – in which one?
All the participants have been participated in NFL activities. 5 of them have been participants in Youth Exchanges and the 2 of them were the leaders of their group. Some of them have participated in local activities regarding in the frame of volunteering.
- Do you know something about Youth Law / Strategy / Action Plan, as well as other documents related to youth?
Actually, at some point they did not understand the question at the first time. Then, the facilitator explained it more and gave some concrete examples, and the only thing that they mentioned was the Youth pass certificate, as well as the age limits for participation in a mobility project.
- Have you ever participated in the youth decision-making process? If yes, in which one?
Two of them have participated in the decision-making process, but in the past when they were at school (in local conferences, student councils, etc.) They were not really interested on this topic, especially nowdays. They would like to improve the community in which they are living, by offering help and motivating other youngsters to take action. They also noted that volunteering activities benefit the community very effectively and more directly.
- Do you think that more support from the Government is needed to improve the status of young people and in the NFE sphere? If yes, what are the benefits of this, and what are the disadvantages?
Participants mentioned that the Government could be more included on the NFL process. In Greece, many young people do not now even the existence of it. They also said that the Government and the local authorities should be more involved on this kind of education, by trying to raise awareness about it and, first, to inform the young people what NFL is. In Greece, most of the schools so not apply any method based on non-formal learning. They even do not know what it is. Youngsters are informed about NFL only from non-governmental organizations or from youth groups.
As a solution, the participants suggested to include non-formal activities in school education. Government should take into consideration this and think about how can be achieved. One participant mentioned that as a first step, awareness campaigns would be very helpful.
- Do NFE activities help you for your personal development? If yes, how? If not, why?
All participants answered yes with smile. Some of them brought to their minds memories and experiences that they had during their participation in mobility projects. They pointed out the following:
– Communication and cooperation skills.
– Accepting the differences and the uniqueness of each person.
– Developing the intercultural dialogue.
– Learning more about human rights and democracy.
– Linguistic skills and improvement of their English, as it is the common communication code between participants.
– Organizational skills and working in teams.
- For you, why is it important to be involved in activities through non-formal education?
Non-formal education provides space for everyone, without taking into account their characteristics. It is important to take part in NFL activities because you can develop yourself in many aspects, as well as to be improved as a human. You are going deeply in the values of respect, solidarity, humanity, freedom. Moreover, participants noted that it is a challenge for every young person to be involved in NFE activities. Finally, you meet many people through this way and you gain many new and strong experiences that can help you in the future.