Berlin, Germany – TeachSurfing gemeinnützige UG received a grant of 239.000€ from Erasmus+ - cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices: strategic partnerships for youth, to fund their Youth Volunteer Educators e-learning Program (e-VELP). The project is scheduled to start on April 2020 and will continue for 24 months.
e-VELP’s primary aim is to enable young migrants/refugees to create and offer free workshops that tap into their talents to share their knowledge and culture. The program will work to ease their integration into their new environment and open more opportunities for finding work. Building an active community of motivated young migrant/refugee volunteer educators (VEs) and youth volunteer educator trainers (VE-Trainers) is an essential part of the growth foreseen for the e-VELP project.
The grant is given as a cross-sectorial collaboration between partners who bring their expertise to the project. TeachSurfing (Germany), social enterprise - will serve as coordinator and will bring their expertise in non-formal training for volunteer teachers and software development; Center for Social Innovation CSI (Cyprus) private company - with expertise in designing and developing gamified online courses; Vilnius University (Lithuania) with expertise in research focused on teacher education, education policy and management, and cultural and inter-cultural aspects of formal and non-formal educational programs; CESIE (Italy) non-governmental organisation – with expertise in creating online and offline educational programs for youth; and, GEYC (Romania) non-governmental association – with expertise in offering trainings for youth.
The project’s idea originated from the rising concern for young migrant/refugee conditions that increased upon the arrival of an estimate of 1 million refugees into the EU in 2015. Majority of the migrants come from the youth sector, highly motivated yet low in skills. The skills gap poses a challenge to their assimilation into their new community. Consequently, a rise in politicisation increased fears and discrimination within the welcoming countries particularly due from a lack of personal contact.
The innovation of the e-VELP project is slated to provide solutions to these aforementioned issues by preparing young migrants/refugees to create and facilitate workshops. The project will enable personal contact, thus encouraging knowledge-sharing, skills development, openness, and cultural diversity within the community.
Through the grant provided by Erasmus+, TeachSurfing will create an e-learning platform and supplementary offline activities that both aim to guide VEs and VE-Trainers in their progressive journey. Thirty (30) young migrants/refugees will participate in the e-VELP training and hold sixty (60) workshops, while twelve (12) youth workers will join the program as VE-Trainers to support the VEs. A year after the end of the project, the target is to train 3,500 young migrants/refugees.
Within the online platform will be an extensive collection of resources such as an online course and collaboration opportunities and exchange of teaching materials to support VEs. Apart from online courses, VE-Trainers will also be given resources to effectively guide VEs such as support in organising offline training, workshops and meetings.
To test the e-VELP platform of blended online and offline learning programs, VEs and VE-Trainers will undergo onsite trainings. VEs will train in Austria where they will receive support to develop their skills in workshop facilitation. VE-Trainers will train in Romania to test the developed products for VE-Trainers such as the platform’s VE-Trainer’s features and VE-Trainers online course and receive support to help them progress in their journey.
The project’s final release and dissemination will involve six (6) multiplicator events that will expose the project to EU-wide key stakeholders that will ensure exposure of e-VELP within the whole European consortium. By the end of the project, the reach of the results is estimated at 260.000 individuals, 300 youth organisations or educational institutions, and fifty (50) national/EU/international networks related to youth/non-formal/formal education.
“This is a huge opportunity for TeachSurfing to realise its mission to bridge the gap between non-formal and formal education with pragmatic approaches,” says Miganoush Magarian, Co-Founder and CEO of TeachSurfing. “Everyone has valuable knowledge to share, and we work to empower individuals to contribute to the shifting nature of education; how it is evolving to become more participatory and that each and everyone of us can be involved in knowledge-sharing.”
The project itself is a collaboration between different organisations that will act as support to realise its objectives, “being part of the Profund Innovation network of the Free University Berlin, their supporting role is to disseminate information to formal educational institutions. We will also be strongly supported by Social Impact Lab and Programm Engagement mit Perspektive (PEP) for both implementation and dissemination. We are also very excited to work with our global network of over 1000+ fellow young leaders at One Young World Network, says Miganoush. “Lastly, this is also an opportunity for us to leverage our learnings from google.org funded project, TeachSurfing Referenten Programm (TSRP) and scale our impact to a European-wide level.”
The grant will support TeachSurfing to also work at a level of systems change by officially introducing the new role of volunteer educator (VE) in the civil-society non-formal educational system.
To get updates and results of the e-VELP project, sign up to the mailing list via https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/e-velp.
Follow our project progress on our intagram account: https://www.instagram.com/e.velp/