Experiencia: Intercambio Juvenil «Act Now», en Senegal

Hace ya casi dos meses del Intercambio juvenil “Act now”, un proyecto en Senegal sobre la regeneración de manglares, que también trataba los temas de medio ambiente, justicia climática y el impacto del colonialismo.

Fue una experiencia muy interesante, dura y maravillosa a partes iguales, ya que en mi caso estuve enferma del estómago durante todo el viaje, pero aún así pude disfrutar y aprender muchísimo de la vida africana. Existen numerosas diferencias entre Europa y África, más allá de lo que ya sabemos, y me refiero a la manera en qué se relacionan las personas.

En primer lugar, quiero mencionar la palabra “Teranga”, es una palabra que hace referencia a la forma única que los senegaleses tienen de acoger a sus invitados, ellos lo definían como ayudar a los demás antes que a ti mismo. Y así es, en todo momento se notaba ese espíritu de la hospitalidad, un sentimiento de amor incondicional que se distinguía muy bien del comportamiento general al que estamos acostumbradas aquí en Europa, que denota egoísmo y mirar antes por nuestro propio beneficio. Sin duda, este aspecto es el que marca la diferencia de las relaciones interpersonales allí, se siente la unión de la población en el día a día, en la pasión por la naturaleza y en la familia.

Para mí, este factor fue el más sustancial, el de poner por delante el apoyo entre las personas que quieres para poder lograr las cosas y salir adelante. En conversaciones muy profundas que tuve con mis compañeros, pude apreciar como la familia es el aspecto alrededor del cual más se desarrollan sus vidas. Su religión también tiene gran representación en ello.

Algo que me impactó muy negativamente fue la relación europea con África, cómo en las calles se puede apreciar la invasión de marcas y productos multinacionales, que desplazan el propio mercado local y las consecuencias que esto tiene en la economía del país y los ciudadanos. Genera impotencia ver la pobreza de las infraestructuras en pro de extraerles sus propias riquezas, y como sus salarios son una décima parte de los nuestros, mientras trabajan literalmente todo el día; a pesar de ello sus valores no se mueven en torno al dinero, sino como ya he dicho, se mueven por amor, y eso me hizo replantearme el valor de muchas cosas de mi vida.

El tema de la comida, que para mí fue el mayor reto, pues es bastante complejo, ya que viven de lo que pueden recolectar de la naturaleza, y por tanto la cantidad y variedad de producto se basa en la producción de la temporada, algo que sería lo lógico en todas partes. Pero ahí está la razón de los problemas de nuestro entorno: tenemos la comida como ilimitada y abusamos de ella, exceso de consumo y pérdida de calidad nutricional.

Durante el intercambio allí se adaptaron a nuestro estilo de alimentación, y los participantes estaban sorprendidos de comer más de dos veces al día, de tener carne varias veces y otros productos a los que no están acostumbrados, pues los alimentos del día a día allí son el pan, el arroz y el pescado. Para nosotros los europeos, era difícil mantener ese menú tan limitado y en varias ocasiones tuvimos que acudir al supermercado a comprar snacks, fue un gran asombro para mí descubrir que algunos nunca habían comido un helado o unas galletas de chocolate.

Sin duda, una fascinante vivencia, que en muchas ocasiones me hacía sentir culpable por mi modo de vida, y que recordaba en especial momento cuando los niños nos gritaban ‘tubap’ que significa ‘blanco’. En fin, comprensible.

Por último, quiero mencionar el poder de la gratitud, una emoción que todos pudimos sentir, en primer lugar por haber vivido este increíble intercambio, y por cada una de las actividades que desarrollamos, las cuales siempre terminábamos cantando “Diarama/djarama” que significa “gracias”, y esto nos recargaba de felicidad y energía.

Por todo esto, agradezco una vez más a Biodiversa por darme la oportunidad de participar en este proyecto, a ASAN por organizar todo con enorme cariño y profesionalidad, a International Young Naturefriends y Naturfreundejugend.

[Artículo escrito por Ana González Fernández – en la foto delante del todo con pantalón azul y camiseta negra -, participante de Biodiversa en el intercambio juvenil «Act Now», enmarcado dentro del proyecto «Greening International Youth Work», promovido por Naturfreundejugend con fondos del programa Erasmus + de la Comisión Europea].

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Experiencia: regeneración de manglares en Senegal

Del 3 al 17 de Septiembre tuvimos un encuentro internacional en Senegal con compañeros de diferentes partes de Europa y África. Fueron 2 semanas muy intensas donde ahondamos en la cultura, la sociedad y la biodiversidad de este país y en cómo los manglares son una pieza clave en la conservación del medio ambiente.

Gracias a Nature Friends Senegal tuvimos la oportunidad de convivir 15 días como una gran familia tanto en Dakar como en la ciudad pesquera de St. Louis, que fue la zona donde el proyecto de regeneración del manglar se llevó a cabo.

Marcial, de Benin, y Pablo, de Asturias, (autor de este artículo) reforestando mediante propágulos de manglar

Durante todo este tiempo he hecho una gran cantidad de amigos con los que he compartido experiencias, anécdotas, conocimientos y sobre todo reflexiones en relación a cómo la justicia climática debería de ser, la influencia del colonialismo portugués y francés en Senegal y qué impacto real creemos que ha tenido y tendrá nuestro proyecto en el futuro próximo.

(Artículo escrito por Pablo Sánchez Argüello, participante enviado por Biodiversa al intercambio juvenil «Act Now», enmarcado dentro del proyecto «Greening International Youth Work», promovido por Naturfreundejugend con fondos del programa Erasmus + de la Comisión Europea.)

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«Live Sustainably»: testimonies, resources, gratitude and… 3rd edition?

We asked participants in the training course what they learned during the week. Here are some of their answers:

Concepts about sustainability that I did not know, an internal perspective to start the change from ourselves. thousands of resources to continue growing outwards and inwards. – Silvia, Spain

I was able to fulfil my expectations and was able to create a beautiful connection with people. It was also important for me to be in tune with myself, others and nature. Throughout the training I got to realise that I still have power inside me and that the fire that I thought was extinguished, is still here. – Fi, Portugal

I learned that: I am not alone, I can meet amazing people. There is a lot of positive energy to share and receive. Doing things with heart is one of the most important things. – Maja, Slovenia

I learned how to connect more to nature and take it as a self learning. I also learned methods, tools that I will use in my youth work. – Mica, Germany/Romania

I learned to listen to others, to myself and to nature. To be more gentle with myself and allow myself to feel the way I feel about the world around me. To look at things from a different perspective. – Mathilde, France

I learned to better respect my environment and have a better understanding of everything that is surrounding me. – Tiago, Portugal

The time to act is now. Start from yourself. – Brigjilda, Azerbaijan

I learned new ways to create activities and a sustainable lifestyle, new practices related to nature… and I got many resources to continue improving this knowledge. – Mota, Spain

Technical sustainable aspects. Being part of something bigger than me. Connect with my surroundings. – Afonso, Portugal

The most valuable experience was to pay attention to the professionalism and knowledge of the 3 trainers that I really appreciated. I will take this with me, in the heart, as an example. It empowered me to have trust in my inner voice and act more. – Andreea, Romania

Resources

During the training course, we collected many educational resources in a Padlet, which is freely available to all here: https://padlet.com/szatyorprojects/LS_2022


Gratitude

Much gratitude to everyone who made this experience possible!: Szatyor Association, particularly Era and Kolja, and their wonderful volunteers Paula and Valentina; Bara, Géza and the rest of the team at Biofalu, the venue which hosted our training; all 23 participants, and our 4 legged companion Kifli.

3rd edition?

If you, reader, are working in the international youth education field and are interested in hosting the 3rd edition of «Live Sustainably», don’t hesitate to get in touch and, together, we will make it happen!

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«Live Sustainably» training course in 3 words

We asked participants in our latest course to describe the training experience in 3 words.

This is what we got!

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Live Sustainably II: results

The second edition of “Live Sustainably” took place in Máriahalom, Hungary, from 9th to 17th August 2022.

The training course lasted 8 intense days in which 23 participants from 10 different countries discovered, explored and discussed ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

We deep-dived into topics and concepts such as the three divides, the transformative learning model, critical thinking, systems thinking, eco-anxiety, eco-competences, greenwashing…

We experienced forest bathing, becoming animal, deep listening, speaking from the heart, intention-setting, connecting with nature

We used Deep Ecology, the Work that Reconnects, the Way of Council, the learning tribes, journalling… as ways to guide and aid our shared learning experience.

Evaluation results:

We asked participants to give a score out of 10 to different aspects of the training, and these are the average scores that we got:

How useful was this training course for you?: 8,7

How much were the objectives of this course achieved?

  • To provide participants with the possibility to understand more the current environmental situation locally and globally. 7,3
  • To improve competences (knowledge, attitudes and abilities) to be able to choose a more respectful life with the planetary boundaries and to facilitate effectively a change of habits towards sustainability among the young people you work with. 8,6
  • To equip educators/youth workers with methods and practices to be able to facilitate group processes with young people on sustainability-related issues. 8,6
  • To encourage critical thinking to learn to unmask frequent phenomena such as “greenwashing” (fake sustainability). 9
  • To share resources and tools to inform and raise awareness of young people about the importance of caring for the environment, inspire and motivate them to modify their lifestyles towards more sustainable ones. 9,1
  • To join an international group of youth workers interested in promoting sustainability among the youth they work with. 9,4

How did the methods and tools that we used on this training course support your learning process? 8,5

How satisfied are you with the work of the trainers? 9,2

We, the trainers team, are humbled and overjoyed by the fantastic evaluation results that we’ve got!!

We thank the participants for their trust and involvement and we already look forward to a third edition of “Live Sustainably”!.

From left to right: Erika Karman, Ági Berecz and Esther Vallado, the 3 trainers in «Live Sustainably» second edition.

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«Live Sustainably» second edition: about to start

The second edition of our acclaimed training course «Live Sustainably: How to live the present without compromising the future» is about to start (9th-17th August), this time in Máriahalom, a fantastic location in Hungary.

The first edition of the training was hosted in Asturias by Biodiversa in September 2019.

We are very happy to have one of our training courses happen again in another country and very thankful to Szatyor Association for taking it over!

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«Greening International Youth Work» kick-off meeting

During the weekend of 13th and 14th June 2022, we met in the Naturefriends office in Berlin to officially launch the Strategic Partnership «Greening International Youth Work».

The members of this project are:

and, of course, Biodiversa!

From left to right: Mamadou Mbodji (from ASAN and Vicepresident of Naturefriends International), Aykut and Sina Franz (from Naturefreunde Jugend), Francesco Mangiarini (from IYNF) and Esther Vallado (from Biodiversa).

Pari joined us online, representing our Italian partner.

During the meeting we got to know each other better, we shared our expectations, wishes and fears for this joint venture, we came to communication agreements, reviewed the project timeline, planned the next steps, and enjoyed some leisure time together in the evenings.

It was a productive and joyful start to this exciting long-term project, which we believe will produce outcomes which will be widely used by the international youth work community from 2023 onwards.

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Call for participants: «Act now», Senegal

[Deadline to apply: Monday 4th July at midday]

Biodiversa is offering 2 places in a EU-funded youth exchange that will take place in Senegal, Africa, from 3rd to 17th September 2022. This is the first activity of many within the long-term project «Greening International Youth Work».

PROJECT DETAILS:

3rd and 17th are travel days. We will first spend a few days in Dakar, receiving information about the project and the reality in Senegal. We will then travel together to St.Louis, 280 km north of Dakar, where we will be conducting the mangrove regeneration project.

There will be 2 online meetings with the selected participants well prior departure, to clarify all the information regarding conditions at the destination, vaccinations needed, etc, and solve all possible doubts.

CONDITIONS FOR PARTICIPATION:

You are:

  • Spanish resident or Spanish national;
  • Between 18 and 30 years of age at the time of travel (you can be 30, but not 31);
  • Have good command of either English or French language;
  • Motivated to spend 12 days in Senegal helping regenerate mangrove forests;
  • Physically fit to accomplish the project’s tasks (collect tree saplings, plant trees in muddy waters…).

Preference will be given to Biodiversa members and former course participants, as well as to those of you living in or close to Asturias.

COSTS:

You will be provided with basic but comfortable accommodation in Senegal during the project dates, as well as food and local transportation, at no cost for you. The local activities will also be organised at no cost for you.

Travel insurance will also be covered fully with the project grant, so at no cost for you.

In adition, 100% of your international travel costs will be refunded, up to 530 EUR. For this you will have to keep all your travel documents and boarding passes and send them to us after your return. For coherence with the project topic, only one return flight is allowed (there are direct flights from Madrid to Dakar).

The only cost for you will be a participation fee of between 50 and 120€, depending on what you can afford and what you consider that this experience is worth. We will use part of this fee to compensate your flight’s carbon emissions (1.154 kg CO2) through the Naturefriends Climate Fund, and the rest to contribute to the project administration costs. If this fee is an obstacle to your participation, please let us know.

HOW TO APPLY:

Write an email in English to asociacionbiodiversa@gmail.com explaining how you meet all the selection criteria and why you want to participate in this project. Please include your mobile phone number and prefered times/dates for us to contact you. We will be calling the pre-selected participants during the first week of July.

Deadline to apply: Monday 4th July at midday.

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My experience at the Youth Environmental Education Congress

By Carmelo Zamora.

«From the 13th to 17th March 2022 I was delighted and honoured to take part in the Youth Environmental Education Congress (YEEC) in Prague as a youth delegate from Spain.

YEEC is a side event from the World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC). Biodiversa supported us all the way and sent me and Nahia as Spanish participants at the congress. 

Carmelo and other participants in the congress during one of the outdoor activities.
Carmelo and other participants in the congress during one of the outdoor activities.

During the congress, we delivered a message on the role of Youth in environmental sustainability education. The message was presented in the WEEC in the form of speeches, theatre, recycled poems, visual arts, comics and open space.

«Leading world educators and key actors in environmental education heard our message and now we will work on how to integrate it into their work.»

We also had the pleasure to discuss our message face to face with members of the European Commission, UNEP and the Ministry of Education and the Environment of the Czech Republic.

Throughout the week, we could also attend different workshops and interesting activities. There was a wide range of options, but I went to an activity organised by Hnutí Brontosaurus where we hung about 10 birdhouses around a local park.

Carmelo places a birdhouse in a local park during one of the congress activities.
Carmelo places a birdhouse in a local park during one of the activities included in the congress.

Another workshop I enjoyed a lot was an excursion to the Montessori school Na Beránku, there, the different teachers of the school showed us what they are doing about environmental education.

Another of the activities we enjoyed was a fair in which different organisations, projects and educators shared their work. Personally, I was proud to be representing and sharing how the University where I study (Linköpings Universitet) contributes to the field with the master’s programme I’m currently enrolled in (master’s programme of Outdoor and Sustainability Education).»

[This event was co-funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union].

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Congreso Juvenil de Educación Ambiental

Praga, 13-17 de Marzo de 2022

La semana del 13 al 17 de marzo de 2022, Carmelo Zamora y yo, Nahia Fernandez, tuvimos la ocasión de participar activamente en el Youth Environmental Education Congress, en Praga.

Fue un encuentro en el que compartimos diferentes ideas y ejemplos de educación ambiental que se están llevando a cabo en el ámbito de la educación formal, no formal e informal.

Unos días de encuentro con jóvenes activistas, empoderados y comprometidos para cuidar el medio ambiente y promover prácticas en diferentes colectivos del mundo.

Nos llevamos mucho entusiasmo, inspiración y ganas de mejorar, de poner en práctica nuevas ideas en nuestro entorno para protegerlo y protegernos.

Realizamos grupalmente un análisis acerca de los motivos que nos llevan a los jóvenes a comprometernos activamente con el medio ambiente, así como una reflexión sobre cómo contagiar ese compromiso entre los más jóvenes y romper con los obstáculos que nos podemos encontrar.

Una bonita y recomendable experiencia en la que compartimos y aprendimos un montón. El próximo encuentro será en 2023 en Abu Dabi, ¿te animas?

[Evento co-financiado por el programa Erasmus+ de la Unión Europea].

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