The Erasmus+ project Equal Space connected research, designing trainings for community education facilitators and practical implementing. Based on a survey and analysis of the current situation on gender and cultural diversity in the partner countries (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Portugal), we developed a curriculum for community education facilitators (CEFs) in the field of intersection of gender and cultural diversity. The curriculum formed the basis for a face to face toolkit and online tools to train CEFs in intersection of gender and cultural diversity. Trained CEFs form the bridge between communities and adult education. Through their training in intersection of gender and cultural diversity, CEFs can better motivate educationally disadvantaged migrants or minorities to participate in adult education. CEFs were trained in all partner countries. The last step is the present transfer model.
What is meant by transfer?
By transfer, we understand all activities that promote, disseminate and anchor the project, its products and results. It is important that the transfer is part of the project planning. The transfer should be already addressed and taken into account during the project planning phase. This means, to plan the project in such a way that its results and products can be transferred to other institutions, organizations or language regions. Also the expertise required for the planned transfer activities should exist in the project team and / or that you are considering how to obtain this know-how externally.
What is a successful transfer?
First, it is important to prepare the basics of the transfer like planning from the beginning, project documentation and evaluation. For a successful transfer the objectives of the transfer must be planned realistic and measurable in advance. Also the target groups should be defined at the beginning: Which groups of people, organizations and companies belong to the internal target groups (sponsorship, beneficiaries of the project, employees of the organization, other departments, etc.)? Which groups of people, organizations and companies belong to the external target groups (professional circles, related companies and organizations, sectors, associations, educational institutions, public authorities, etc.)? Next, the activities of the transfer should be described according to the defined goals and target groups. Thereafter, the responsibilities, the timetable and the budget for the transfer will be determined.
What is the Equal Space transfer model?
“Analysing the current situation – the study” was our first working step. The aim was to get more information on whether intersection is an issue in adult education, whether the interviewees have experience with gender and diversity training, and whether there is a need for community education facilitators to get additional training in the intersection of gender and cultural diversity, in order to reach educationally disadvantaged migrants and minorities with their offers. From this we learned to plan sufficient time for the analysis, especially in a transnational project you need to discuss the different pictures and definitions to find common definitions. It is important to have an objective basis for the next working steps.
The next working step was to create a curriculum for community education facilitators in the field of gender and cultural diversity. In order to develop the curriculum, the most important thing was to stay connected to the field and therefore analyse the results of the study. The lessons we learned were to develop the content of the curriculum based on a previous field research, to create also a framework like a specific model of competences, to use a friendly user language and to connect again the theory with the practice, for instance to implement trainings to proof the curriculum. In the third working step we developed a toolkit for face to face trainings. Through five modules a community education facilitator can acquire skills and competencies in different areas, such as community education, social construction of gender, diversity and identity, equal relationships and changing structures, intersectionality and role of lifelong learning. Also here, it is important to follow the analyses of the research, to promote non-formal education to work with the community, to improve working skills and awareness of diversity and gender differences of many community education facilitators and to create a positive and active communication among the project partners, assessing the cultural and methodological differences of each of the countries participating in the project.
In the last working step, except this transfer model, we devleoped a user-friendly online tool. We learned to consider the project realities in terms of time and human resources, to create an own methodology according to the needs of the target group, to trust on the creativity of the partners and to step into the role of the learners to test the online tool.
In Austria, relatively many institutions deal with the intersection of gender and cultural diversity. Potentials and challenges of community education and peer multipliers approaches are in the opinion of the interviewed persons low threshold, everyday life orientation, empowerment and the heterogeneity of the participants, professional accompaniment and sustainability.
In Bulgaria Equal Space is very interesting and valuable for two main target groups – the Health and Educational Mediators in Roma Communities and Staff (Trainers and Educators and Social Workers) of NGOs, working with refugees.
Equal Space project remains a challenging but very promising project with a big potential of further development into a local, regional or national context here in France. The aim of the adaptation to the national context would aim to propose a high quality inclusion plan in order to create a fairer and more equitable society.
Equal Space has an important role in the social neighborhoods of Portugal, especially in Lisbon, since it was the city where the training took place. Many of the facilitators who work in these neighborhoods feel the need to create a multicultural integration, with different groups in the same community, enriching themselves from different cultures and beliefs, improving the interpersonal relationships between them.