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Open Mind Spectrum Albania (OMSA) in collaboration with The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tirana, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch partner organization Stitching Art.1, and the Albanian partner organizations Useful to Albanian Women, Open Doors, Beyond Barriers Albania (BBA), Academy of Film & Multimedia MARUBI, are implementing the project Youth Artivist for Change, a project supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands, which takes place from 2018 to 2020 in the countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia).

Youth Artivist for Change focuses on empowering young filmmakers, storytellers, artists and activists in producing films and performances on human rights/LGBTIQ+ rights and gender equality through issues. Therefore, the project aims to promote the use of arts in addressing human rights issues.

Beyond Barriers Association joined the consortium as a partner during 2019 and has been implementing activities related to the project during 2019 and 2020.  During 2020, BBA hosted 3 activities and participated in all project events hosted online and offline.

Two were the main objectives of the BBA’s work during 2020:

  • Empowering youth to engage in cultural projects with focus in LGBTIQ+ rights which will lead to an increase in youth participation.
  • Fostering awareness on human rights, gender equality rights & LGBTIQ+ rights through art

 

The above objective were met by organizing a set of 3 different activities which were implemented with regards to empowering youth activists in human rights education, LGBTIQ+ rights, advocacy and arts. All three activities aimed at promoting respect for human rights with specific focus on gender quality, LGBTIQ+ rights, improving young activists skills and competencies in conducting training, teaching young activists skills that can help them to engage in advocacy actions and further raising awareness of the target groups involved as well as the wider public.

Below there is a short description of each activity we hosted.

 

 

Activity 1. Training in Human Rights and Advocacy

 

HUMAN RIGHTS AND ADVOCACY was a 4 days training course hosted by Beyond Barriers Association in Tirana, on 28 September – 01 October 2020. The training was realized with 3 sessions per day and conducted by the expert trainers of BBA. The purpose of the training was to train young people on human rights and advocacy, with a specific focus on LGBTIQ+ rights and gender equality.

This training module was based on the educational approaches of “learning by doing” and “learner centered approach” and it was implemented through non-formal education working methods, where participants were engaged in every step through a variety of combined methods in order to provide them a safe space to learn through theory and practice. An added values to the training was a also the meeting with the Director of OMSA, who openly spoke to the participants about the project, OMSA’s work and his experience as a LGBTIQ+ activists.

The target group for this training were young people aged 15-24 years old coming from Tirana. The group was created with regards to maintaining gender balance when possible and with the approach to having a mixed group of participants.

21 applications in total were received and 15 participants were selected based on the motivations and commitment expressed in the applications.

 

 

Activity 2. Training “Train the Trainers”

 

Train the Trainers was a 5 days activity, hosted and organized by Beyond Barriers Association from 28 September – 02 October 2020, in Tirana, Albania.

The purpose of the training was to train young people on human rights, with a focus on LGBTI rights and gender equality, as well as to give them knowledge on basic techniques on how to develop different workshops with a focus on human rights. For 5 days the young participants gained information and learned basic techniques on how to develop different workshops, how to build the agenda of an activity based on the methodology of non-formal education.

This training module was based on the “learning by working” approach and was implemented through non-formal education work methods, where participants were engaged in every step through group work, simulations, role play, discussion open and reflections.

The target group of participants for the training were young people aged 18-24 from Tirana, Albania.
A total of 15 participants (9 females and 6 males) took part in the activity out of 25 applications that were received through the online applications.

 

 

A 3. Art and Creativity – Youth Takes the Stage

 

Art and Creativity- Youth Takes the Stage, is a 5 days activity that was hosted by BBA on 16-20 November 2020 with the use of the online platform ZOOM. The purpose of this training was to empower, equip and train youth workers/leaders /activists with effective tools in art, creativity and theater techniques by increasing their capacities and adding quality to their work with young people.

The training also aimed at raising participants’ awareness of how certain minority groups of individuals are socially excluded on the basis of their status, life choices or beliefs, and to encourage those target groups to take a stand against racism, homophobia and social exclusion using practical means such as forum art, creativity and theater.

This training module is based on the “learning by doing” approach and was implemented through non-formal education working methods with a blend of digital learning, where participants were engaged in every step through group work (break out rooms), open discussion, collaborative exercises and reflections. The training helped participants to develop critical thinking, spirit of initiative, creativity and take part in community life by the use and promotion of art as an intervention tool. An added value to the event was the use of digital tools, which was also liked by the participants.

15 participants from Tirana and other towns, aged 16-25 years old took part in the five days training.

 

 

Outcomes and impact of three implemented activities

 

  • 15 participants improve their competencies on Advocacy and Human Rights Education with a specific focus on LGBTIQ+ rights.
  • 15 participants raise their capacities as trainers in topic such as human rights, gender equality, LGBTIQ+ rights;
  • 15 youngsters participated in online training course expanding their knowledge, improving skills and changing positively the attitudes towards human rights, LGBTIQ+ rights using art and creativity as main tool’;
  • Participants learned concrete tools how to advocate for their own and others rights, when these rights are violated;
  • Participants learn concrete tools how to be activists in society and local communities by taking actions especially in human rights topics;
  • Participants learn new techniques to use with their peers such were forum theatre, theatre of the oppressed, creativity in youth work etc.;
  • Participants received a set of useful tools, manuals and links produced by the Council of Europe and European Commission, as a helping material for those that want to expand their learning in the future and act as multipliers;
  • Three implemented activities served as a connecting space for the participants for networking and future collaboration.

 

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