1. With maximum 500 words demonstrate the organisation’s contribution specifically towards YMCA Europe Roots for Reconciliation project. Let us know what do you think was that unique footprint of your organisation that enriched the Roots so far, and now deserves due appreciation.
YMCA Ireland and YMCA Kosovo have a strong tradition of peacebuilding in their local and national contexts. Participation in Roots has enriched these efforts and opened new opportunities. The capacity of both movements has been enhanced as young leaders have taken their transformative experiences through Roots events and Tandem projects and applied their learning and experiences into more strategic and peace focused thinking and practice. The relationship with Roots has been a valuable partnership. Key leaders from both movements have invested time, energy and resources in the Roots vision.
YMCA Kosovo took the lead on a remarkable Tandem Project – Bridges for the Future. This pan-European project equipped a generation of YMCA leaders with a vision for peace both within and beyond their borders. The social media and short film outputs provided visibility for the YMCA Europe Roots project. Alongside these tangible outputs, YMCA Kosovo helped elevate the priority of Roots among participating movements within the region. The programme and the input of the World Alliance showed that young leaders could host peace projects and more importantly those who had been prepared and trained but were also offered a platform to lead could do so! This tandem project not only was selected as best practice of the Council of Europe but further further built on the recognition and credibility of Roots.
YMCA Ireland has benefited immensely from the partnership with Roots. The current Chairperson of YMCA Ireland credits participation in Roots events as a catalyst for further engagement with his national movement. The confidence and leadership skills gained through Roots helped him and others take on leadership positions within their national movement that they would not have otherwise taken. In return, YMCA Ireland have been a critical friend to Roots, for instance during the evaluation event. They have also offered their skills, knowledge and experience gained through 25+ years of conflict resolution and peacebuilding work in a (post) conflict society. This has been YMCA Ireland’s footprint through Roots that has scope for more imprints to be made as we move forward together.
Following the relationship developed through Roots, leaders from YMCA Ireland, Kosovo and England aspired to continue equipping young leaders within their movements with enhanced youth work and peacebuilding skills. The result was an Erasmus+ funded trilateral training exchange. While this was not specifically Roots, recognition is given to Roots as the platform through which the Erasmus+ project germinated. For YMCA Ireland and YMCA Kosovo there are limitless opportunities to enhance the work of both movements connecting around a shared vision of youth work pedagogy and peacebuilding praxis.
With the emergence of this new phase of Roots and a mechanism to fund participating movements, YMCA Kosovo and Ireland are eager to partner with Roots once again to build upon the foundations and add another generation of Peace Builders to the impressive talent pool.
2. With maximum 500 words elaborate on the concept of the project, which you plan to implement if awarded. Let us know how far that project promotes peace and whether it is in line with YMCA Europe Roots’ theory of change and what innovation it offers. Please indicate clearly who are the target group(s) benefiting from the initiative.
Every generation of young leaders must grapple with the question “what does peace mean for us?” This is the starting point for the vision for our “ Y Critical Peace Praxis” Peace Award project. Having had leaders trained and equipped through Roots, we want to utilise their expertise by inviting them to take a lead on learning exchanges between the next generation of staff and volunteers within our movements.
Drawing on the Roots theory of change model, our project emphasises change not only at the individual level but at organisational, governmental and societal level. Those involved in the learning exchanges will form a critical mass who will use their platforms within and beyond the YMCA to advocate for learning and resources developed through the project to be applied in local, national and international work.
Developing a critical peace praxis that supports participants to engage with the UN Sustainable Development Goals is the heart-beat of this project. Praxis is the intersection of theory and practice and involves practice informing theory and simultaneously theory informing practice.
To have a meaningful impact the project will enable participants to interact critically with the theory and practice of peace work in community and youth work settings. The RfR Peacework Guidebook will be a fundamental resource to support this learning. Out of this will emerge new ideas and ways of defining and measuring peace outcomes.
The work of critical peace scholar Oliver Richmond is valuable here. Richmond conceptualises “4 generations of peace work” that have evolved and become more sophisticated. These iterations of peace work are:
- 1st Generation: Conflict management – The emphasis here is on keeping the peace and curtailing violence. It is indicative of Galtung’s notion of “negative peace”.
- 2nd Generation: Conflict resolution – The emphasis here is on addressing the root causes of conflict and unmet human needs. Galtung’s notion of “positive peace” comes to the fore here.
- 3rd Generation: Peacebuilding – This develops the conflict resolution work and represents more joined up thinking across top-level, middle level and grass-roots leadership to work towards peace and social justice.
- 4th Generation: Everyday critical peace – This challenges the idea of prescribed peacebuilding outcomes from the top-down level that characterises the 3rd generation peacebuilding approach. It advocates a reversal where the grass-roots level identify and articulate meaningful peace outcomes for their context.
This innovative work will be presented to relevant government departments to inform policy and will strengthen the capacity of both YMCA movements having an impact far greater than simply the individuals involved. In this way the project will promote SDG number 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
The project is a bi-lateral exchange with Phase 1 in Ireland and Phase 2 in Kosovo. The mediums through which this work will be done is threefold and represents three key strands of the project:
(i) Youth work for peace
(ii) Outdoor learning for peace
(iii) Film & Photography – Visibility and Impact
Phase 1 will involve 12 staff and volunteers (most aged 18-30) from both movements (6 participants from each) meeting at YMCA Ireland’s National Camp for a week long intensive training on youth work and outdoor learning methodologies for peacebuilding in conflict societies. There will be a focus on SDGs, global youth work and global citizenship. An additional 2 youth reporters from YMCA Ireland will create a documentary of the learning at this phase.
Phase 2 will involve 12 staff and volunteers (most aged 18-30) from both movements meeting at YMCA Kosovo’s National Camp for a week long intensive training on the realities of working in conflict societies, how to define outcomes and measure impact, and sharing learning between both national movements and beyond. An additional 2 youth reporters from YMCA Ireland will create a documentary of the learning at this phase as well as creating an interactive resource using film and photography to promote peacebuilding. A final cut documentary of the entire project will also be storyboarded and created during this phase.
3. Indicate the estimated project budget, and whereby over € 10,000, provide clear information on co-funding sources and guarantees.
Amount requested: 10,000 Euro
Co-funding YMCA Ireland: 6,100 Euro
Total budget: 16,100 Euro