Erasmus+ Strategic partnership in the field of education, training and youth
February 2016 – January 2018
‘First ADR Kit’ strategic partnership is a cross-sector cooperation between organisations active in the fields of intercultural communication, conflict management, active citizenship and youth participation, aimed at developing comprehensive educational approach within the methodology of Alternative Dispute Resolution based on the principles of non-formal education and implementing it in the training of young leaders and professionals in partner countries.
The partnership will be implemented from February 2016 to January 2018 in five partner countries: Estonia, Italy, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom. The project
is financed by European Commission within Erasmus+ Key Action 2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices.
Target groups and needs analysis
Strategic partnership is directed to three main target groups:
- Youth leaders and young professionals;
- Youth trainers;
- Partner organisations.
Youth leaders and young professionals
One of the main issues addressed by the project is the lack of knowledge and competences among young professionals and youth entering the labour market in terms of conflict management, dispute resolution and maintaining long-lasting commercial and professional relations. The system of education in most of the European countries does not allow for sufficient focus on topics such as: communication, conciliation, identification of disputable issues, conflict management, negotiation, mediation. This results in generally hostile approach of young people towards any dispute that they stumble upon during their future professional careers. There is a cause behind the fact that almost 3 out of 10 companies globally have faced board conflicts so intense that they have endangered the sole existence of the firm. Although the reasons for that issue cannot be limited only to the lack of professional education, the insufficient preparation of young professionals towards conducting complex and challenging business transactions in terms of efficient communication and dispute resolution constitutes a significant factor. There has not been sufficient research on the topic of dispute resolution education in schools or among older youth, however, existing reports (i.e. comprehensive study on conflict resolution, peer mediation and young people’s relationships conducted by EPPI-Centre of University of London in 2006) suggest that early education on conflict management has visible influence on young people’s relationships, enables to limit aggression in mutual relations and has general positive impact on discipline and behaviour.
What requires further attention is the fact that the efficiency of Alternative Dispute Resolution lays mainly not in its institutional form, which is in principle much more liberal than litigation, but rather in the conciliatory approach of the engaged parties, their bigger openness towards mutual dialogue and moving the dispute from the level of positions onto the level of interests and goals. A very good example of this model of functioning are Dispute Boards where it is estimated that approximately 98% of all disputes are settled either through informal advisory opinions or on the basis of decisions issued by the DB. This shift of attitude cannot be obtained solely by calculation of costs but requires also a mental ‘click’ – an approach directed towards actually resolving the conflict instead of winning a battle with an opponent in court. And this, consecutively, requires relevant preparation in terms of actually seeing the other side’s rationale and being ready to accept some form of compromise in order to maintain further relations with the counterparty.
All those personal skills and competences have been the area of focus of non-formal education from the very beginning of its implementation. The methods of practical workshops, simulations, role plays and strong emphasis on the process of self-education and self-evaluation have been designed precisely to develop the so-called ‘soft skills’ – skills connected with communication, social behaviour, conflict management, entrepreneurship, analysis, etc. They have given the ground for European Commission’s system of eight main competences that can be developed within the framework of non-formal education and should be recognised by employers and institutions in all European Union countries. We have taken upon ourselves the obligation to test whether non-formal education can be used to teach Alternative Dispute Resolution in youth projects and whether it is sufficient to cover both theory and practical skills. Our assumptions have been primarily tested during the training course ‘Decoding conflicts through dialogue’ for youth workers and young leaders from 11 EU and Eastern Partnership countries in December 2014, giving a very positive feedback and resulting in a set of methods and workshop scenarios that can be developed and used in further youth education. The experiment was later repeated in Tallinn in November 2015 during ‘Step into the dialogue’ training course, confirming previous results and the efficiency of dispute resolution education in the youth field.
The strategic partnership aims to improve the general knowledge and competence of young leaders and professionals who have the sufficient potential to influence their colleagues and co-workers in the fields of ADR, conflict management and intercultural communication. We are planning to obtain that goal with the set of methods that allow practical learning and testing of newly gained skills and developed methods. As a result, we expect that young beneficiaries of the project will adopt much more conciliatory and open approach towards interests of other parties in their everyday relations, will focus more on interests instead of positions and will contribute to the general improvement of business and public relations in their working environments, partner countries and the European Union.
The issue of insufficient education in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution and intercultural dialogue has two sides. The first one – the lack of knowledge and skills demonstrated by youth – is strongly interlinked with the backside – the lack of sufficiently prepared youth educators. The topic of ADR has always been affiliated with business services and commercial dispute resolution, occupied mostly by lawyers focusing on providing high quality legal service. That led to some form of alienation of ADR from the general topic of conflict resolution as a sociological and psychological phenomenon. Instead, ADR was put aside by non-lawyers on the same shelf as legal procedures and literature, resulting in almost complete omission of its rich background and comprehensive methodology. As a consequence, most of the trainers and educators working with youth (regardless of their association with such high-level institutions as European Commission, Council of Europe Youth Department or SALTO Youth Resource Centres) have no knowledge on ADR and cannot provide any kind of training in this field. On the other hand, professionals in ADR generally are not equipped with the non-formal education tools and are not familiar with its use and principles. That is why the strategic partnership will focus in particular on training the trainers who will be later capable of conducting valuable and substantial workshops and practical sessions directed at youth, combining both their knowledge on ADR and non-formal education methods. The scope of activities of the partnership is designed in the way that will enable them to: firstly – gain knowledge from ADR professionals; and secondly – do develop and test new working methods and workshops’ scenarios. Additionally, the concepts of non-formal education will be also transferred to the dispute resolution within the business world.
All partner organisations engaged in the partnership have experience in conducting international projects devoted to the issues of youth participation, active citizenship, intercultural communication, conflict management, non-formal education. All of them have also took an active part in the experimental projects ‘Decoding conflicts through dialogue’ and ‘Step into the dialogue’ that combined their previous experience with the introduction of Alternative Dispute Resolution to youth projects. Partner organisations are the centre of activism of young people in their regions and have capacity to organise, coordinate and train youth leaders and young professionals in their countries. ‘First ADR Kit’ enables them to develop new areas of activities and to reach more professional level in the field of conflict resolution. Moreover, their participation and improvement of competences of the staff will allow partners to engage in meaningful partnerships with public institutions and private sector in their countries with regard to education of young professionals and further research on the topic of ADR.
All partners involved in the “First ADR Kit” are organisations with whom Youth Integration and Association STRIM has been for working many years in different initiatives. Each partner contributes to the project innovations and unique perspective.
Narviksenteret (located in Narvik, Norway) is an experienced organisation in field of non-formal education particularly in peacebuilding and conflict management. Each year since 2009 it hosts an EVS volunteer from STRIM Association, who is supporting projects directed to young people. As one of five national memorial centres of Second World War, Narviksenteret focuses on the documentation, research and education. In “First ADR Kit”
it seeks for use of ADR in conflict management linked to either violent conflicts or tensions threatening of such, or the reconciliation phase that must follow in the aftermath. What is important, Narviksenteret brings to the project the experience in coordinating Strategic Partnership “Borderline Boardgames” focused on developing interactive board games connected with conflict management.
NGO Youth Club-Active based in Tallinn, Estonia is an organisation for youth developed
by young professionals and trainers specialised in youth exchanges and work camps based on non-formal education and youth participation. STRIM Association and NGO Youth Club-Active have been cooperating since 2011, mainly in organising trainings and youth exchanges.
Vicolocorto is a centre for young people in Pesaro. Among many activities organised
by Vicolocorto the noteworthy themes are volunteering projects. The coordinator himself was volunteering in the Youth Development and Integration Association STRIM in 2007 for 9 months which launched the cooperation for the next years.
Consilium Development and Training Ltd has a broad experience in providing training courses for young people with a special focus on peace building and conflict management.
It brings to the project innovative approach on personal development methods. One of the CDT Team members is Barbara Ligas who used to be involved in STRIM activities and coordinated numerous youth projects.
An unofficial mentor to the project is Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). CEDR for many years has been specialising in professional mediation and conflict management in high-level commercial disputes, has one of the best training programmes for mediators, managers and ADR specialists and uses the most innovative and effective teaching methods in their activities. CEDR has agreed to act as a mentor and adviser to the partners in strategic partnership and guide them in the area of ADR and training.
Objectives of the project
‘First ADR Kit’ strategic partnership aims to bring together experts in ADR, non-formal education and youth work, allowing them to create together a set of new and innovative tools for teaching and implementing Alternative Dispute Resolution in youth education. It will combine experts and practitioners specialised in mediation/negotiation/arbitration/work in dispute boards, together with trainers and facilitators of non-formal education, psychology and gamification. Together, these experts will exchange their experience and create a set of methods and solutions for teaching, promoting and implementing ADR in the partner countries.
The main objectives of the partnership are:
- To encourage cross-sector exchange of knowledge, skills and good practices between specialists in ADR and non-formal education;
- To create a group of highly qualified youth trainers specialised in teaching Alternative Dispute Resolution with non-formal education methods;
- To develop new educational methods based on the knowledge and experience in the fields of ADR and NFE that will combine both theory and practice and guarantee high immersion of participants and visible results (simulation games, practical workshops, role plays);
- To test the methods in experimental-friendly environment with experts’ supervision;
- To allow the flow of information end expertise between organisations through team work, constant contact, study visits and conducting trainings for youth with the support of trainers from partner institutions;
- To provide series of intensive trainings for young leaders and professionals (aged 17-30) on the topics of multiculturalism, dialogue, active citizenship, participation, conflict resolution, ADR;
- To introduce young people to the concept of intercultural communication, conflict resolution and ADR through a series of simulations and trainings in all partner countries;
- To create tools for further implementation of intercultural dialogue and ADR in youth work (handbook on educational methods developed by the partnership, workshops’ scenarios, web portal);
- To promote the results of the project during series of dissemination events and conferences in all partner countries.
The educational objectives of the project can be identified as follows:
- To raise awareness on the topic of Alternative Dispute Resolution and its use in conflict management both in private and public sector;
- To promote ADR not only as a business service but as a way of communication and attitude;
- To implement ADR into non-formal education methods;
- To improve the communication and social skills of young professionals and youth leaders entering the labour market;
- To raise the overall quality of business transactions and relations by educating young professionals on the topics of conflict management and dialogue;
- To promote the interests-based approach in commercial and private relations;
- To increase the amount of young entrepreneurs willing to use ADR in their working environments;
- To contribute towards building more respectful, trustworthy and partner-oriented atmosphere in the business sector.
- To introduce the learning outcomes to the representatives of policy-makers and stakeholders in the region
- To raise the chances of young people on the labour market through new skills gained during the project.
The participants of the strategic partnership’s activities are expected to:
- Develop conflict management and social skills;
- Have increased sense of initiative and entrepreneurship due to better understanding of the mechanisms ruling disputes;
- Be able to build long-lasting relations in the fields of business and public sector and resolve any arising conflicts amicably;
- Be more willing to resort to professional commercial ADR services when needed;
- Adapt more conciliatory approach in their activities thus contributing to a better and more open atmosphere in the private sector;
- Have better understanding and responsiveness towards intercultural factor in their everyday communication;
- Be prepared to engage relevant stakeholders and policy makers into a respectful and equal dialogue;
- Contribute to recognition of non-formal skills in European Union;
- Be more active both in the fields of private entrepreneurship and public sector;
- Serve as leaders in dispute resolution and conflict management in their local communities and share their newly gained skills and knowledge with colleagues and co-workers;
- Experience generally increased motivation and satisfaction in the daily work.
Due to the cross-sector cooperation, engagement of organisations from different areas
of expertise and dynamic amount of activities, the project will result in creating
a set of innovative tools and methods developed and consulted by all participating organisations. In particular, it will produce more attractive education and training programmes, in line with the needs of the participating youth and institutions. They will
be tested and evaluated with an active participation of the default target groups and accessible also in the form of ICT.
Strategic partnership will produce three main intellectual outputs:
- Scenariosof workshops and training courses
- Handbook on teaching ADR in non-formal education methodology
- Online platform for ICT learning
Workshop scenarios will be developed by youth trainers during the activities of ‘First ADR Kit’ partnership. After two trainings, first on ADR and second on non-formal education, participating youth trainers will create their own scenarios of workshops and training courses. Scenarios will contain both forms of pedagogical approach: formal, concentrated on knowledge-forwarding mechanism, and non-formal, which will contain role play games and other forms of game simulations which lead to pee-to-peer leaning and self-education.
Handbook on teaching ADR in non-formal education methodology will be a guide for youth trainers on intercultural dialogue, conflict management and ADR topics and will include theoretical knowledge on those subjects combined with methodological tools and reflection on non-formal education and gamification tools. It will contain both the basic and advanced information on conflict management and ADR and examples of ready workshops and trainings scenarios together with practical and useful tips on how to create such activities.
All the learning materials will be published and disseminated with the use of online platform for youth interested in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
The collaborative character of partnership, based on frequent co-working, communication and series of seminars and study visits will contribute to improving the capacity of partner organisations, in particular by creating more modern, dynamic, committed and professional environment inside the organisations, readiness to integrate good practices and new methods into daily activities (new area of training for youth); openness to synergies with organisations active in different fields – ADR, active citizenship, intercultural dialogue, youth participation; strategic planning of professional development for staff (training of trainers in ADR) in line with individual needs and organisational objectives expressed by partnering in this project. It will also allow to combine and share best educational practices and broaden the understanding of educational system in all partner countries.
Why Non-Formal Education (NFE)?
Sector ‘Youth’ in the framework of European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme
is designed to promote the use and implementation of Non-Formal education as the most immersive, practical, learner-centred approach in education. NFE allows participants not only to learn the theory, but also to test and evaluate themselves in the entire process. The most distinctive non-formal education features are:
- focus on gaining practical competences, such as: interpersonal, team, organisational and conflict management, intercultural management, intercultural awareness, leadership, planning, organising and co-ordinating, practical problem solving skills, teamwork, self-confidence, discipline and responsibility;
- allowing participants to be actively involved in educational and learning process;
- providing a shared process of learning, designing and creating environment in which the participant is an architect of the skill development;
- flexible form, based on the needs of participants;
- development of practical skills but also human capabilities and motivations
- participatory and learner-centred approach;
- based on experience and action.
Non-formal education is not only a set of tools and methods but an entire learning process. Thus it allows to develop practical competences by participants regardless of the topic of workshop, due to the fact that the tool itself requires adopting a particular approach. That is why it can ensure much higher learning immersion and in consequence – be more effective in developing concrete attitudes and competences by participants of the learning process.
Combining ADR with NFE
‘First ADR Kit’ strategic partnership has also potential to start the first in Europe network
of youth organisations capable of conducting educational activities for youth leaders and young professionals on the topic of Alternative Dispute Resolution with the use of interactive non-formal education methodology. We strongly believe that there are close interconnections between formal, non-formal education, vocational training, other forms of learning and labour market that can be explored and implemented using innovative tools combining advantages of all of those methods.
Focus on this aspect falls within the European Commission’s priorities to trigger modernisation and reinforce education, training and youth systems in response to the main challenges of today’s world (employment, economic stability and growth, as well as active participation in democratic life). Thus it increases its potential to attract relevant stakeholders, public policy-makers, ADR professionals and academics in order to further develop its activities and tools, to broaden the scope of work and to implement the new methodology and approach also in projects directed to other target groups.
Additional assets of the partnership include increased capacity and professionalism to work on the EU/international level, improved management competences and internationalisation strategies; reinforced cooperation with partners from other countries and other fields of education, increased quality in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and follow-up of the EU/international projects.
The main objectives of the strategic partnership will be obtained by constant remote cooperation of engaged organisations and delegated coordinators and trainers. Each organisation is expected to delegate 1 person to participate in the planning, coordination and evaluation of the activities and 3 trainers (from the environment of the organisation
or recruited nationally) who will take part in educational activities and preparation of the intellectual outputs and then run trainings locally. In the beginning of the project partners will establish a suitable remote form of communication. However, to ensure the highest quality of results the following activities will be conducted:
- Transnational project meeting ‘Kick-off’
When: 12-15 April 2016
Who: 1 coordinator, 1 trainer/per country + Project coordinator; total 11 participants
Duration: 4 days
The ‘Kick-off’ meeting will officially launch the performance of the strategic partnership.
Its main aim is to gather all participating organisations, share their areas of expertise, exchange their expectations and contributions and plan future activities in detail. The meeting will allow to establish closer relations between participating organisations, based
on mutual trust and equal division of responsibilities, as well as grounds for future cooperation. Participants will take part in joint activities in order to determine the draft
of final results of the project and methods used by representatives of two different sectors: Alternative Dispute Resolution and non-formal education of youth. One of the activities
of the meeting will be presentation of methodology and results of the training course ‘DECODE: Decoding conflicts though dialogue’, conducted by the applicant organisation in December 2014 which combined ADR with non-formal education and may serve as a starting point for further development of the results of following mobilities.
After the meeting representatives of youth organisations engaged in the partnership will remotely conduct an in-depth research on the topics of conflict resolution in their countries and education of youth in the fields of ADR and intercultural dialogue. The results of the analysis will be later discussed, evaluated and published on the project’s webpage in the form accessible and attractive to youth.
- Training of trainers on ADR
When: 1-8 October 2016
Who: 4 youth trainers / per country + 3 ADR trainers; total 23 participants
Duration: 7 days
Where: United Kingdom
The training conducted by specialists in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution will be addressed to non-formal educators and youth trainers from partner organisations.
All participants will already have experience in conducting workshops on conflict management for youth and will take part in online preparation prior to the activity. The training course will take the form of practical workshops and assignments and will focus
on the thorough understanding of the concept of conflict management, ADR, Dispute Avoidance Tools and their implementation by potential beneficiaries of ADR services (public leaders, investors, business professionals), in particular:
- the importance of dialogue in maintaining long-lasting relations;
- the origins of conflicts;
- division of conflicts and their identification;
- moving from positions to interests;
- ADR – definition, methods, scope of use;
- negotiation – practical skills;
- mediation – techniques, approaches, practical skills in conflict management;
- the implementation of ADR by its beneficiaries in their everyday routine.
The training does not aim to train professional and certified mediators/negotiators or provide full and comprehensive lectures on procedures and details of all ADR methods. Its main objective is introduction to the concept of ADR (with special focus on mediation) and its implementation in everyday activities of potential beneficiaries. Due to participation in the course, youth trainers will deepen their understanding of processes behind conflicts and their resolution and will test in practice the methods and benefits available within the scope of ADR. The training will also be the first step for the youth workers to develop further educational methods of teaching ADR in youth projects.
Following the completion of the training, youth workers will work remotely on adaptation and adjustment of non-formal education methods in order to conduct successful trainings, workshops and educational activities focused on conflict management and ADR addressed to young beneficiaries. In particular, they will prepare new tools, such us simulations, role-plays, group-work scenarios that will enable future participants to test their knowledge and skills in practice while, for instance, conducting a simulation of mediation or negotiation. Youth trainers will also prepare an extensive methodological background for their methods and construct exemplary scenarios of full training courses.
- Seminar on teaching ADR with non-formal education methods in youth projects
When: 12-19 March 2017
Who: 4 trainers / per country; total 20 participants
Duration: 6 days
Where: Italy, Pesaro
The main aim of the seminar is the development of cohesive and holistic methodology
of teaching conflict management and dispute resolution methods in youth projects. Following extensive preparation prior to the seminar, youth trainers will demonstrate the results of their work on non-formal education workshops and training scenarios, collect and categorise them, evaluate the methods, grounds and expected results and will chose the most engaging, interactive and effective tools for further development. Trainers will focus mainly on constructing beneficial and efficient learning process in order to ensure that future participants of the educational activities will not only learn superficial theory but actually develop a thorough understanding of the topics of conflict management and dispute resolution.
One of the most important fields to be covered during the seminar will be the use
of gamification (role plays, simulations, case scenarios) in order to ensure maximum engagement and immersion of the participants into the learning process. Trainers will work together on the possible implementation of gamification into ADR education with the help and supervision of an experienced game designer and a psychologist specialised in virtual worlds and immersion.
- Mid-term evaluation meeting
When: 8-12 June 2017
Who: 1 coordinator, 1 trainer/per country + Project coordinator; total 11 participants
Where: Narvik, Norway
During the meeting outcomes and results of the 1st phase of the project will be evaluated. Partners will also decide and creates a strategy for 2nd part of the partnership: implementing trainings for local youth, developing webpage and handbook and disseminating the results.
- Trainings for local youth
When: March 2017 – July 2017
Who: 30-40 young people from all partner countries all together 150-200
Duration: trainings – 2-5 days
Where: All partner countries
In order to implement and test the newly designed educational methods and expand the results of the project, every partner organisation will conduct a training for local youth leaders and young professionals on the topics of dialogue, conflict management, ADR, active citizenship and intercultural communication with previously developed methodologies which focus on role-plays, simulations and other non-formal education tools.
The participants are expected to be active leaders in their local communities, students, young professionals and entrepreneurs, public opinion makers and activists with proven experience in team-work, team-building and engaging in a long and/or complex cooperation on local/national or European level. They will also be a ‘testing group’ that will provide feedback on educational methods and their results developed by the partnership. To ensure open access to the project for young people facing exclusion, special place will be reserved for youth with difficult social, financial and educational situation identified as ‘precariat’. It is a new social class, mainly consisted of young people who suffer from lack of predictability and security on the labour market. They are often university graduates unable to find stable employment. They participate in internships, work on short-term contracts, change constantly their place of residence or struggle to open-up their own businesses. Depending on a situation in partner countries, other excluded groups will be addressed.
- Evaluation meeting
Who: coordinators, trainers – total 11persons
Where: Krakow, Poland
The last meeting with all partners will be devoted to summarising the entire project and the evaluation of the partners’ work. During this meeting the deep analysis of the process and results of the project will be performed and future plans and goals will be set.
All aspects of the project, like managing the project, partnerships, organised activities, results and intellectual outputs, evaluation, dissemination, follow-ups and the impact will be discussed and conclusions will be drawn. The reflection on issues which could be improved during the project will be essential.
The meeting will also be an opportunity to evaluate and polish the last phase of the project – the dissemination of the results – not only through the conferences that will take place afterwards in all involved countries, but also through the media, internet, local leaders, trainers and teachers.
When: November 2017 – January 2018
Who: 25 representatives of NGOs, academics, local media, trainers, teachers / per country
Where: Estonia, Norway, Italy, the United Kingdom and Poland
In order to share and spread the results of the partnership we are planning to organise
a conference in every partner country where we will present our “First ADR Kit” – the handbook with the new methodology of teaching ADR, conflict management and intercultural communication with non-formal education methods. The presentation will be connected with the discussions and lectures on ADR connected with non-formal education.
Due to the cross-sectoral nature of the project and the need to reach different groups for the follow-up activities, teachers, journalists, representatives of NGO’s will be invited to attend the conferences. Diverse categories of attendees of this events will make discussions about our approach and results on different levels and angles possible.