In the first online meeting of the Network, 21 out of 35 organisations took part. United Societies of Balkans welcomed all the partners to the meeting. The president of the organization, Mr Aristodimos Paraschou presented some useful tools on using ZOOM for a better virtual meeting without any troubles. For the meeting one Jamboard presentation was used, in order to make it easier and animated and more interactive. For helping the partners, information on using it was given once again from the president of USB. A presentation of the agenda of the meeting followed.
Presentation of each organisation
Yannis from USB presented a map where all the involved organisations in the Network were on it. Every organisation had some time to find itself on the map and fill the description with few words on what it is working on. The map is used to show that the organisations within the Network are scattered all over Europe and for every partner who is interested in contacting another partner, to find some info for the organisation easier.
When writing the small description was finished, a trip around Europe with a presentation of each organisation began. Every representative of the partner organisations presented a brief summary of their organisation, who are they, on which topics they are working and most importantly what are they looking for from the other partners. Even in the first conversation of the first meeting of the Network, new collaborations were discussed, especially on exchanging volunteers for short-term and long-term ESC.
Presentation of the Activities of the Network
After the presentation of the organisations, the presentation of the Activities of the Network began. The programme was supposed to begin in January, but due to some problems we tried to reschedule the agenda and merge the Activities of 6 months into 3. We all agreed to make the Activities Agenda as efficient as it would be in real time.
The first three activities are to collect data from each organisation in order to have a better view on how every organisation is working, on which specific topics and which is the impact of their programmes in their local community, and especially amongst the young people and youth workers who participate in Erasmus+ and ESC programmes.
The Activities 5 and 6 are about the new EU Youth Strategy (2021–2027), in order to inform and educate firstly the youth workers and then the local community on it. Though, since the New Strategy is not published yet, those two activities are in progress.
The seventh activity will be organised by USB. There will be some online training sessions (the number of them will be discussed and it depends on the availability of the partners and the needs) where the main topics will be the management and implementation of Erasmus+ projects, the exchange of good practises of ESC projects between organisations and how we can create more partnerships between the organisations examining the needs of each one.
The Activity number 8 is to inform the local community about the Erasmus+ programme and ESC and it is organised by each organisation itself. The organisations have to make an Info-day (physically or virtually) where staff of it is explaining to local community what is the Erasmus+ programme and ESC, who can participate and how, the impact of projects funded by EU and the opportunities that they provide. For this Activity, USB promoted that each organisation which hasn’t got any previous experience in Info-days, to help it and give some useful advices and tools on what to do.
The Activity number 9 is about to promote the cooperation between the organisations. There will be online meetings between the organisations’ staff in order to create common projects and future collaborations. Since all the date from the first three Activities will be shared to everyone, with the time spent on working together, it won’t be difficult to find the right partners and to create trustful partnerships.
The last Activity is the closing meeting. In this Activity, all the partners will evaluate the cooperation between them, share the experience of the past months and discuss the future of the Network. Everyone hopes that we will make the meeting in Thessaloniki, in order to meet each other and discuss face to face, but nothing is sure, so until then we are waiting.
As we told in the meeting, we are way too many organisations. We expect from everyone to make the Activities, but because of the number, we don’t want so many things from the partner organisations. With small things from everyone, we will make them big and efficient for our collaboration.
Want – Fear – Expect
After the presentation of the Activities, the hosts asked from the partners to fill a blank slide on Jamboard theirs wants, fears and expectations for the Network and based on what they heard until that moment. It was anonymously, so everyone wrote what he/she truly believed. After, the president of USB read some of them and a small discussion happened.
Most of you want a good cooperation between the partner organisations, to share good practices and to collaborate in next projects. So the main aspect that the members of the Network want is to build trustful parterships.
The biggest fear for all of you is the lack of time and the loss of connectivity due to online work. It is completely normal to have fears on time, because we lost precious time and we have some work to do. But the organisations of the Network are 34, everyone can help a bit in order to make the work for everyone easier and not too much. As for the connectivity, USB, as it was said on the meeting, will always try to keep in touch with you and see our progress as a team. More online will be planned and in general we will try our best to have a fruitful communication.
The main expectation is of the partners are the new skills and knowledge that the partner organisations will gain through this collaboration. The expectations do not differ that much from the wants, since a big amount of answers is about the cooperation and the upcoming future common projects, as it is written in the most sticky notes on the Want.
The number of 20 organisations split into three groups, where the people involned discussed about the meeting, their worries and how every partner sees the cooperation and how are they going to work.
From the reflection groups all the organisations were back on a common chat. When we were all together, the most important question was asked; what new is the Network going to bring and why to participate in this one and not in an existing one. Jamboard was used again and the representatives of the organisations wrote their opinions. Some of them read what they wrote and all the partners had a discussion on those opinions. As we can see from the answers, the new thing that the Network will bring among us is a new era of collaborations between the organisatins, new ideas, new partnerships and projects that will create something new in the field of youth work.
A slide with questions was the next one, since the presentation was over and the questions were a lot. About the logo and the name of the Network, since it is not formal we don’t have any, but we said that we could find a name to tell, it’s up on us. For the templates, when you will send the assessments and consultations, USB will collect them all in one file and will create a template to use. Also, if there is a possibility to meet we will do it. The second meeting is supposed to take place in Thessaloniki on December. If the situation is better and we have the opportunity to meet each other, we will have a 2 days meeting in Thessaloniki, to discuss and evaluate our work and to decide our next steps.
The next steps of the Network are to start working on the Activities. In the meeting we said that we are very adaptable and flexible with the deadlines, but we also mentioned that since we have lost a lot of time, all of us will try to keep the dates. Furthermore, the most common fear was the lack of time, so when an Activity is on, everyone will try to complete it as soon as possible. Thus, the deadline for the Activities 1, 2 and 3 is the 5th of July 2020. All the partners have to upload a file (word if possible) with all the data we need in the Google Drive folder that we will use for the Network, so everyone can have access on every detail whenever he/she wants.
After the 5th of July, we will have a discussion on the online training courses that we will have about Erasmus+ and ESC (Activity 7). We said that you have a lot of work to do during summer and having more things in your mind may be stressful, but we will try to have a fruitful and not tiring time together. We can arrange a meeting after the 5th of July, to discuss on the data that you provided and to talk about the next activities.
As the last activity of the meeting, Aristodimos Paraschou used Mentimeter, a tool where all the partners wrote 5 words expressing their feelings after the meeting, and a virtual cloud with all the words was made.
Other issues discussed & deadlines
Some of the partners mentioned the funding of the project and for the Activities. Unfortunately there is no budget assigned for the partners of the project but it covers only staff cost for the coordinator and the meetings which are going to take place among ourselves. We can make the Activities with no cost at all, it is something totally on your decision and USB will fully support you and help you.
The slide number 11 on Jamboard is to write down the email that you want to use for communicating with the partners within the Network and you will receive all the emails and info from USB.
The creation of a Facebook group was decided, in order to have a quicker communication and to get to know each other better.
Please remember that the deadline for submitting your files with the required data (Activities 1, 2, 3) is the 5th of July 2020.