Social Rights – An Issue for YOUth
Project idea in brief: The aim of the project is to work with young people on a weekly basis through a social rights programme to raise their awareness and ability to access their human & social rights in comparison to that of other young people throughout the world. This project will focus on a participative volunteering/learning trip to Mwika, Tanzania & it’s follow on effects. When the young people return they will share their learning through a structured peer education programme, we will also create a publication of their learning for distribution locally & nationally. They will also transfer their learning informally through friends, family & community. This will ensure that young people are aware of the rights they are entitled to, that they know how to access these rights & realise the importance of ensuring these rights are recognised & utilised. We aim to facilitate the young people to share their youth work skills with other young people, and to learn and critically analyse the social rights situation for young people in Tanzania.
Target Group: The project is for young people aged 17-21 years. They are interested in volunteering abroad to share their youth work skills. These young people are keen to deepen their knowledge of their rights as young people from a disadvantaged community, and using this knowledge, to change their situation in their community & to encourage other young people to do the same. All of the young people are living in the Dublin 8 area, which is a designated area of disadvantage in the south of the city. They were recruited in collaboration with other youth projects and clubs in the community & the majority have also completed a junior leadership training course and a youth exchange with us. In the group there are 6 young people in full time education, one in supported employment, one full time volunteer youth leader, and one in part time employment. All of the young people are currently volunteering as youth leaders in their community. The leadership team comprises of two full time youth workers and one youth work volunteer
Social rights addressed: Housing, education, non-discrimination.
Local authorities involved: We have not made much further contact with local authorities, as they are not hugely connected to local youth work. However, our funders at national level (City of Dublin Youth Service Board) are very aware of this project and have spoken highly of the commitment the group and our organisation have shown to rights education in youth work.
Current stage of the project:
We have just returned from a very successful learning trip to Tanzania. We spent two weeks working & living in the small, rural community of Mwika, in the Kilimanjaro region. We had a packed programme of work which included 4 hours every day painting classrooms in a local school, 3 hours every afternoon teaching English through structured classes & sports in the school. We also made time for structured sessions looking at social rights. However, some of our greatest learning came from spending time with Tanzanian participants who worked with us throughout the programme. This allowed us to build up relationships with Tanzanian people of similar ages to us. We developed a greater understanding of what it means to be a young person growing up in Tanzania & we were able to share our experiences of growing up in a ‘disadvantaged’ community in Dublin. There was also a presidential election campaign happening during our time in Tanzania, which led to many interesting conversations about democracy, voter responsibility, political leanings, education etc. While in Tanzania we also visited some local projects including a HIV Aids project set up by local women, a small coffee plantation, a heritage village set up by Chagga & Massai tribes people and a number of small local enterprises including a goat farm, a pig farm and a blacksmiths. So at the moment, we are just finding our feet back in Ireland. We have met with the group once since our return, but that session was mostly about re-adjusting, re-connecting, looking through photos etc. We will begin our regular Monday night meetings again from Monday 29th of November. The group will continue their planning for dissemination of our learning. We hope to have a local event before Christmas to share our learning & experience with local organisations who have supported us during our fundraising efforts for our trip. From there we hope to organise a more indepth local event, hopefully with the use of visual media and perhaps a publication. We will spend a number of weeks looking deeply at our learning in the context of social rights, and how best to demonstrate and utilise this learning in our community & beyond. The evaluation of the trip will take place during the coming weeks. We hope to have an evaluation of the whole social rights process in the coming months, with the group. We envisage that this will be a residential piece of work. At the moment, the group, the workers and the community are feeling very proud of our achievements. We are looking forward to the next phase of the process, where we can really articulate the huge learning we have experienced over the last few weeks, and indeed the last 12 months. At the moment, four of the Tanzanian young people who we worked with happen to be in Ireland as part of another exchange which they have been working on over the last year. We are hoping to meet up with them at some point during their two week visit, if their busy schedule allows.