Gender Utopia — France

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Programme: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: training course

Dates: 7—13 July 2022

Venue: Issor, France

Please read the info-pack.

Hosting organisation: Association La Villa

Project description:

International youth work and volunteering are not exempt from stereotypes on gender and sexuality, as all prevailing stereotypes and social constructions in society end up in our youth projects as well. Jokes about gender and sexualities (What is funny?), gendered stereotypes about labour (Who carries heavy things?), leadership, sleeping and bathroom arrangements (Which toilet do you go to if you are nonbinary?), care work (Who cooks? Who repairs? Who cleans in our youth projects?) and love (Do you have a boyfriend?) and even sexual harassment are unfortunately a reality we face in our youth projects. The challenge is then to create spaces that contradict and resist these stereotypes and types of behaviour. But not only that, the challenge is to imagine safer spaces: What is a space without discrimination based on gender and sexuality? How could we ever create such a space in a youth project, that is more inclusive for people of all genders? What are the conditions we need for that and how can we work towards reaching such a space? What partnerships, what methods, what attitudes do we need for that? How can we create a Gender Utopia in international youth work?

With the training “Gender Utopia”, Association La Villa and its partners want to learn and exchange around how to create safer spaces around gender in youth projects. The main aim is to develop strategies to create youth projects that are social spaces, in which everyone feels safe to be themselves, to be safe from violence, to express their gender identity and to be met with understanding if discrimination does occur.

“Gender Utopia” aims to fulfil the following objectives:

  • Exchanging knowledge and experiences on how (not) to create an inclusive and safe atmosphere in youth projects (best and worst practices)
  • Analysing previous experiences of youth workers around gender-based conflict from an intersectional perspective and training youth workers in conflict resolution around gender
  • Experiencing experimental/experiential learning of youth workers using utopic methods and tools and promoting the use of utopic thinking for youth work
  • Making youth projects more inclusive, safe and sensitive for youth with fewer opportunities by training youth workers in gender-based discrimination and in creating safer spaces
  • Bringing in current feminist and queer discourses into the scene of European youth work
  • Training youth workers in basics of terminology, concepts and educational methods around gender
  • Training youth workers in basics of the connection of gender equality and environmental topics, especially climate justice
  • Creating a manual around gender for youth workers around Europe

Participants:

The training course will take place in Issor, France, from 7th to 13th of July 2022 and it will bring together a group of 24 young people from 10 partner countries. The project is targeting youth workers, trainers, coordinators and facilitators from all fields of non-formal education who are motivated to create safer spaces for their participants.

We also especially invite persons from marginalized perspectives, such as queer or non-binary persons or people of colour to apply. 

Targeted categories: 

  • Youth workers active in their own communities for gender and LGBTQ+ rights;
  • Coordinators and staff of partner organisations looking to initiate and already running international youth or voluntary projects (e.g. Youth Exchanges);
  • Volunteers and activists of partner organisations coordinating such international youth or volunteering projects (already, or interested in the future);
  • Trainers of project coordinators and youth workers;
  • Trainers of (international) non-formal education projects;

Participants’ profile:

  • are 18+, can express themselves in (basic) English; 
  • are vaccinated against COVID-19 (a more detailed COVID Concept will follow a month before the Training);
  • are resident of one of the countries specified in the call;
  • are committed to participating during the whole training course;
  • want to build/ expand their international peer network;
  • are motivated to reflect on and to improve gender topics in their youth work and to put new learning into practice;
  • are committed to work on a manual for gender safe spaces in youth work
  • are motivated to disseminate and promote the project outcomes within their organisations and local communities and to develop new initiatives and projects on these topics in the future;
  • are aware of power structures and be able to approach them both sensitively and critically;
  • have sufficient English language skills (spoken and written); 
  • are committed to abstain from flying, but travel to the event via overland route instead;

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