As the first face-to-face activity included in our annual work plan, the international seminar represented its main phase. It took place between 25th and 30th July, in Macedonia and it gathered 30 participants, 13 boys and 17 girls from 10 countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Macedonia, Turkey). The seminar made participants reflect on their personal, organisational and national realities about climate change, focusing on the effects that they can see in their countries, the measures that are taken in each country and what can be done at personal level. It placed the participants in a culturally diverse environment and asked them to reflect on how the topic is seen in their family and friends groups, in their organizations, by their authorities and by the citizens of their countries.
The seminar followed the traditional SEE-JUDGE-ACT methodology of MIJARC (see more about this methodology here). The first day started with some introductory sessions covering the logistical issues, the agenda, MIJARC presentation and getting to know each other. Next, the two working groups were described:
Group 1 – changes in the ecosystem – led by Veronika Nordhus
Group2 – social injustice and climate changes – led by Magdalena Rapeshovska
The participants were asked to choose their group. Then the programme continued with a short presentation of the online training course, the previous activity of our work plan. This was done through a competition between six teams that had to go through six different work stations, each station focusing on one unit of the training course. The afternoon was dedicated to exchanging realities about climate change. Group 1 explored this through a role-play game “Who’s most at risk”, in which participants received role cards and had to answer questions which made them reflect on their level of vulnerability. Group 2 played a game “Cross the river” in which they had to reflect on the inter-connections of the elements of an eco-system in order for the entire team to cross the river. The second session of the afternoon was a plenary session which started with the projection of the movie “5 ways to kill a man“. Next, the participants split in two groups and had a guided discussion about the movie focusing on several questions such as: What are the most interesting pictures in the film and what do they mean? Can you personally relate to what is happening in the movie?
The second day was dedicated to the SEE part. Group 1 played an interesting simulation game with three teams, involving country cards, continents and the task to carry a balloon full of water on that continent following special rules. After the simulation, the group analysed the different country cards and the challenge to raise the life standard and the wish to consume more without raising the ecological footprint. Group 2 started with the “Web of life” game, which reflected how everything is connected and how destroying one element results in the destruction of the entire web. Next they continued split in three teams who had to research and present to the others the causes of climate change: 1. Internal factors 2.External factors 3. Human factors.
The third day was dedicated to field visits and meeting with an expert on migration and refugees. The field visit took the participants to the Ancient Megalithic Observatory of Kokino and it was led by a geography teachers from a high school in Kumanovo. The idea of the visit was to reflect on the influence of man on his living environment, the adaptations that he had made as well as the effects of the geological and climate factors to this site. In the afternoon, the participants met Aleksandra Davidovska, an activist who started working as a volunteer when the migration crisis in Macedonia began and ended up working for an international organisation on the topic of migration and refugees. Her input was intense and provided a great correlation with the lectures in the online TC that focused on climate change-caused migration.
The last day focused on the ACT part and the participants spent all day creating tools and putting their ideas into practice. They can up with many nice outputs which included:
- Position Paper – which summarises the conclusions of the entire seminar and gives the guiding points of the approach that young people should have during the summer camp and their local campaigns
- a video message – to encourage the participants at the summer camp to act for real changes
- Clue Game – to have fun while discovering the main facts about climate change
- a flash mob idea – to be done in every movement
How was it?
The post-seminar evaluation showed that most of the objectives were achieved: 90% of the participants said that they got the chance to exchange about the realities in their country concerning the sustainable practices to prevent climate change. More than 50% considered that they developed their creativity and critical thinking. 80% appreciated that they were able to create a common position of all the participants on the topics addressed by the seminar, identifying commitments and demands for the follow-up of the activity and more than 60% considered they developed practical tools and examples on how to help and raise awareness on the issue of climate change.
Who prepared everything?
The Think Tank, of course! The Think Tank was the team who prepared the contents of the seminar and facilitated the sessions. There were all young volunteers who responded to a call of interest launched by MIJARC Europe in the network of its member movement. The Think Tank members were: Veronika Nordhus (Germany, member of the European Team), Jeroen Decorte (Belgium, member of the European Team), Magdalena Rapeshovska (Macedonia), David Vermeulen (Belgium), Bledi Cami (Turkey) and Daniela Ordowski (Germany). The Think Tank was supported by the Secretariat of MIJARC Europe, represented by Alexandra Solomon (Romanian, living in Belgium) and by Florina Potirniche (Romania).