Background and Motivation
The proposed field of this proposal, i.e. environmental consciousness, volunteering, environmental protection and other environmental issues, has been explored through a literature review and the experience of the partners. WHO states that "over the past 30 years, 30% of the world's natural environment has been destroyed, populations of freshwater animal and plant species have been halved and natural forests have declined by 10%" which shows that there is a clear and urgent need to take precautions to overcome nature's destruction. The literature documents indicate that many environmental educators focus their efforts on children and youth, hoping to provide the next generation with the desire, commitment, and ability to create an ecologically sustainable future. Therefore, our project's (RAISE) ultimate motivation is based on raising environmental awareness among young people aged between 13 and 18.
The target groups of the project include the immediate targets and the wider targets. Immediate targets are those groups from which the training participants will be recruited i.e. young volunteers of secondary school age (13 to 18), and conservation experts/teachers. Wider targets include schools and youth groups/NGOs, environmental NGOs, policy makers, local authorities, protected area management bodies.
In order to achieve its aim RAISE will promote volunteering for environment, make non-formal education more attractive to youth especially in the framework of environmental issues, enhance the preservation of protected areas and environment, develop new curriculum on environment education for youth and promote the culture of active citizenship.
Environmental educators recognise that teaching environmental protection and raising environmental awareness should take place beyond the classrooms. The qualitative evidence reviewed suggests the value of learning in natural environments (LINE) is significant and involve benefits from educational attainment, awareness of environment and natural science skills, behavioral outcomes and social cohesion, health benefits, etc. LINE also enables learners to rediscover innate connections with nature and helps them to develop a sense of place and be inspired to take personal responsibility for the environment. Therefore, the training and awareness raising that will take place throughout RAISE will employ LINE techniques as much as possible.
Benefits to the target groups will be assessed through an evaluation workshop of facilitators; and through a survey of all those participating in the implementation phase. Assumed benefits include:
- for young people: promote the ideas of volunteering and responsible behavior towards nature, hopefully leading to desire, commitment and ability to create an ecologically sustainable future.
- for NGO staff and school teachers: possibilities for career improvement.
- for education institutions, NGOs, policy makers: increase the attractiveness of non-formal education especially game-based learning and LINE through the innovative methodologies proposed by the project, and more accessible to all ages and youth with disabilities.
Change & Innovation
The change the project is expected to bring about relates to attitudes of the target groups; their involvement with environmental conservation as active citizens; their motivation to volunteer, and the improvement of non-formal learning methods.
RAISE is innovative
This project is innovative as it will involve its target group in the development of the methodology of the training program. Another innovative aspect is that RAISE will utilize IT to create interactive learning environments and game-based learning in order to engage learners in the learning process. RAISE encourages learning and volunteering at the same time which would help its target group to develop soft skills such as team building, communication, decision-making, critical thinking besides raising awareness of the environmental issues. In this regard, it is different from projects focusing only on training and volunteering.
The main activities of RAISE include:
- Development of the Quality Management Plan
- Project Coordination and Management
- Monitoring and Evaluation of the RAISE activities
- Identifying competence needs of facilitators (youth workers), and young volunteers
- Development of the learning methodology
- Pilot testing the learning methodology for 75 young people in total (45 in Turkey, 15 in Italy and Greece)
- Development of five online mobile games
- Launching a competition and developing a database for the best practices on conversation volunteering by youth
- Development of Learning Toolkit and Learning Guide
- Undertaking dissemination and exploitation activities/Promoting the project
Raising Environmental Awareness Among Young People Project is financed by European Commission and Turkish National Agency under the Program, Key Action 2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. The actions under KA2 make it possible for organisations from different participating countries to work together, to develop, share and transfer best practices and innovative approaches in the fields of education, training and youth.