How community education facilitators (CEFs) can learn about the potential of the community as a resource of education, how they understand intersectionality and can work to mainstream gender and diversity in practice by using the ICT technologies? The project “EQUAL SPACE” gives an answer through the intuitive self-learning portal for online learning, which was developed by the Equal Space project team, based in four European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, France and Portugal). The Equal Space Online Portal is taking the CEFs to a deeper educational level by offering them amazing video lessons, summarizing rich educational content on the main educational topics of the project: Community and Community Education; Sex and Gender/Stereotypes; Intersectionality; Gender and Diversity in Practice and Cultural Shocks/Overcoming Oppressions. It is easy to follow, tailored to the CEFs’ needs and a very smart and relaxing choice to learn about intersectionality between gender and diversity, based on a very recent collection of theoretical knowledge, practical experiences and lessons learned from more than 80 interviewed experts and educators and online resources worldwide on gender and diversity and work with communities in practice.
Why the Equal Space Online Portal is specially designed for CEFs?
We started with analysing the needs of Community Education Facilitators and we found out that they are working in and with women and men from different communities (Roma, migrants and refugees) in various national challenging contexts. In addition, we saw that national resources and educational materials on intersectionality, gender and diversity from the point of view of community work are not much, and that CEFs did not always find easy and fast way to inform themselves on the new trends and experiences in the field. We knew also that CEFs have different needs for knowledge, support and advices. We took it into account and retrieved the core messages and lessons learned from the theory, summarized in the Curriculum, developed under the project and the practice from Austria, Bulgaria, France and Portugal.
This was the base to design the online training portal, specifically for CEFs, nevertheless they are beginners or already experts in diversity issues. We wanted to offer them a possibility to benefit new inspirations, ideas, practices and examples for community educational work, considering the intersectional approach. We translated these experiences into collection of audio-visual materials using very simple and understandable language.
How it works?
The Portal has five main educational sections. Each educational section has video lessons and a questions and answers section in it. If the CEFs are beginners in this field, we recommend them to follow the sections chronologically, but if they already know much about some of the topics, they may also choose those sections, that will give them additional knowledge. It is a free choice of the learner and a question of personal interest to the content.
What is the content?
In fact, every section contains a unique valuable content, which is interesting to be viewed, because it is based on very recent practices and lessons learned from Southern, Eastern and Western European contexts, where practitioners are working with Roma, migrant and refugee communities. All sections are designed to include theoretical background knowledge, to give some examples from the practical work and lessons learned. Some of them focus on the specific work with women in these communities as female migrants and Roma women on many occasions face more complex forms of discrimination and exclusion, on the grounds of belonging to a minority. Therefore, we developed specific content on that issue, focusing on Women’s Human Rights and Sex and Gender Stereotypes.
The sections also include what the profile is, and necessary knowledge, attitudes and skills for being a Community Educator and Facilitator and advices for personal development of CEFs, and why and how they need to build personal educational plans and enrich their competences. Furthermore, the sections will lead CEFs to examples and suggestions for a combination of methodologies for understanding better the needs of their target groups – as for example combining the mapping of the community tool and the small focus groups of women in the communities to understand better their needs. Finally, sections will give them hints on how to build educational programs and content for the trainings – as for example how to plan and use the co-construction approach and approaches to build safe space for organising trainings for women from disadvantaged communities. CEFs will learn about vivid technics on overcoming oppressions and cultural shock like the Augusto Boal Theatre of the Oppressed and many others.
What will be the benefit?
The online course will open a door to a space, where CEFs will feel safe and will learn how to discuss and approach sensitive questions like violence against women in Roma, refugee and migrant communities, how to deal with cultural differences and build mixed and women only groups with potential to learn. In contemporary European societies diversity and interculturality in community work becomes more and more important, so we hope that the Portal is a place where CEFs, as well as teachers, social workers, psychologists, social/cultural and educational mediators may learn a lot, without losing precious time to analyse theories and practices. We did it for them! Benefits are a lot, just need to have a look and enjoy our creative co-constructive work. Enjoy your viewing!
Roza Dimova, CWSP