27 volunteers from 12 European countries took DBYN’s challenge to learn how to successfully apply for Erasmus+ projects into 1 week. In order to do this, DBYN transformed the Don Bosco Youth centre of Groot-Bijgaarden from 4 to 11 September into an Erasmus+ incubator. Using the model of a cooperative working space, the participants could work each morning on their project concepts. Each room had a specific focus: internet café, meeting room, reflection room, microteaching room and a coffee corner. Each participant was responsible to decide how she or he best could rework what has been learned during the input sessions of the afternoons into their own project concepts.
The afternoon input sessions were either in the form of study visits or workshops. Monday afternoon for example we visited the social innovation site of ‘Cultureghem vzw’, for a cooking workshop. Using a private/public cooperation this organisation aims to bring new life in one of the most challenging neighbourhoods of Brussels. They do this under the public market dome of Kuregem. Our participants listened to their inspiring work, as well as got to work cooking with foods which have been leftover from the Sunday market. The workshops we organized were on specific themes like project management or finance. The evenings were reserved for inspiring sessions, like an evening walk with inspiring stories on Don Bosco’s work as social entrepreneur: his battle against illiteracy, the mutual aid societies, his apprenticeship contracts and his workshops.
At the end of the week, the participants developed 8 projects which they pitched to a panel of experts. These 8 projects are available for review on our dedicated website www.donboscoyouthincubator.net, along with information on the Erasmus+ programme and many other resources useful for project management. Now it is up to the participants to develop their projects into application forms for Erasmus+. We are confident if they do so, next year there will be 8 new youth projects with the Don Bosco “brand” in Europe.
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