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Month: May 2024

Reflecting on Green League’s Impactful Journey Thus Far

Green League, a project aimed at strengthening the link between the environment and sports through experiential learning and promoting outdoor physical activity has certainly made enormous progress over the last few months. Through dedicated actions, the partners have implemented a number of activities aimed at encouraging the population to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts and of promoting healthy lives and well-being for everyone, all while using sport as a tool to generate environmental awareness while contributing to a healthier lifestyle.

In particular, the Green League project carried out 8 sports events in each partner coutry centering around four natural elements – fire, earth, water, and air. Enjoyed by all the participants, the activities certainly resulted in deeper appreciation for human impact and environment. But don’t take our word for it, check out the testimonials from all across Europe here:

Want to learn more about the Green League’s progress thus far? Don’t forget to download the newsletter below for a more detailed breakdown and, of course, keep your eye out for the upcoming Green League Local Tournaments for an opportunity to get involved! More information coming soon!

Youth-Well: Working Together for Resilient and Democratic Youth

The Youth-Well project tackles the challenges at the intersection of European youth, mental health, democracy and resilience. One of its biggest goal is to connect young people across participating Member States so they can take their future, their mental health, and their participation in democracy into their own hands. Youth-Well also helps young people set up their own initiatives and projects which equally advocate for mental health and active citizenship.

Youth-Well among other things offers:

  • Advocacy activities across Europe for the European youth
  • Training manuals for youth workers on mental health and democracy
  • An e-learning platform on leadership skills
  • International conferences for youth advocates

UxGE Initiative Progresses: Online Training Course Development Underway

In a bid to cultivate a generation of environmentally conscious leaders, the United for a Green Europe (UxGE) project convened its 2nd Transnational Coordination Meeting in Virginia, Ireland, from April 23rd to 24th, 2024. 

With a vision to equip youth leaders with the essential competencies for shaping a sustainable future, the UxGE project’s 2nd Transnational Coordination Meeting charted significant milestones towards its objectives. In particular, the gathering, aimed at fostering coordination and progress, saw pivotal discussions on the development of an Online Training Course to empower youth leaders in advocating for a greener, more inclusive Europe. 

Tasked with addressing youth leaders, the course will encompass modules on Leadership, Critical Thinking, Initiative, Entrepreneurship, and Environmental Challenges. Emphasising a holistic approach, the consortium will oversee the course’s design and execution, aiming to deliver a comprehensive educational tool that fosters both personal growth and environmental awareness.

The meeting’s success signifies a significant stride forward for the UxGE initiative, marking a concerted effort to nurture a cadre of youth leaders poised to spearhead positive change in Europe’s environmental landscape. With plans set in motion, the project remains steadfast in its mission to cultivate a generation of empowered advocates for a greener, more inclusive, and sustainable Europe.

UXGE – United for a Green Europe

As the continent faces unprecedented environmental challenges, there’s a critical need to empower the next generation with the skills to lead sustainably. The UxGE project doesn’t only seek to fill this gap, but also to foster a community of young leaders equipped to navigate and address the complexities of the modern world, particularly in the context of the European Green Pact.

In particular, this project aims to holistically develop youth leaders and stakeholders. By focusing on leadership, critical thinking, sustainability, and environmental awareness, it intends to create a robust framework for personal and professional growth. The goal is to cultivate young leaders who are not only aware of the environmental challenges but are also prepared to lead their communities in sustainable practices and policies.

List of concrete objectives:
• To elevate leadership abilities with a focus on critical analysis and decision-making.
• To promote a deep understanding of sustainability principles and their application in various contexts.
• To encourage active participation and engagement in societal and environmental issues, fostering a sense of responsibility and community.

RELIEF Announces Its Inaugural Policy Brief in the Latest Newsletter

Reaching the EU sustainability goals for 2030 and 2050 requires a substantial transformation of the agricultural sector. In this context, the RELIEF initiative aims to navigate bioeconomy challenges and opportunities in the rural sector with additional research, education, and training to empower agricultural workforce and stakeholders with the latest skills to strengthen food security and reduce the environmental impact. 

Check out the latest newsletter and inaugural Policy Brief below for more detailed project updates, policy suggestions and information on how to make this transition a success. 

Beyond the Game: Helping Coaches Foster Inclusion in Sports & Beyond

From improving physical health to fostering a deeper understanding of social interactions and even building self-esteem – sports play an incremental long-term role in a child’s development. However, despite its potential for positive impact, discrimination remains a persistent issue in European sports, hindering equal opportunities and perpetuating larger personal and societal concerns.

Coaches, often regarded as leaders and mentors, have a significant influence over team culture and the skill development of an athlete. Most importantly, they play an instrumental role in the lives and personality development of young athletes. They are seen as role models and hold a special position influencing the way young athletes understand and approach not only the sport they are involved in, but also key aspects and issues in society. 

To that end, it’s of utmost importance to understand that their role goes beyond the physical training and helping them understand the ins and outs of their sport. It also assumes helping young players develop as individuals and become better persons. Coaches need to guide and support them to develop their ability to work in a team, show respect towards others, and internalise the values of sportsmanship, fair play and integrity. It is therefore crucial for sports professionals and coaches to help shape inclusive environments where diversity is celebrated. 

To be able to do so though, it is pivotal to offer them the support and guidance to be able to foster a healthier and more sustainable community both on and off the field. A recent study by the INCLUDE project, calls for a holistic approach towards supporting coaches and promoting inclusion in sports, presenting 4 key pillars to ensure its impact.

Training Beyond Physical

Integrating soft skills training into coaching programs is essential for equipping sports professionals with the knowledge and skills to serve as frontline ambassadors of inclusion and set the tone for team dynamics to foster a supportive environment. 

By being offered adequate training, seminars, workshops that emphasise strategies and tools to build respect, empathy, and acceptance, coaches can empower athletes to thrive regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or ability. Adopting resources such as the INCLUDE curriculum and toolkit can provide sports professionals with a clear direction and thorough guidance to ensure that their sport club or team is a place of acceptance that leaves no room for discrimination. 

Advocating for Inclusive Policies

Inclusion in sports transcends the playing field; it also calls for a robust policy support to combat discrimination. Reviewing regulations, enacting protective laws, and implementing government incentives are essential steps toward fostering inclusivity. 

Gender equality, accessibility for athletes with disabilities, and anti-discrimination measures should be central to policy discussions, ensuring a fair and equitable sporting landscape. By addressing these issues on the higher level, while also offering guidance, reporting and support mechanisms to coaches can actively help them set and adhere to anti-discriminatory standards regardless of the division, sport or age group they are working in. 

Expanding Funding Towards Inclusion in Sports

Investing in programs that promote diversity and inclusion is paramount. Allocating resources to initiatives aimed at leveling the playing field and providing equal opportunities for all athletes can drive positive change. By expanding funding for inclusion initiatives and actions, we can create pathways for underrepresented groups to participate and excel in sports.

With many funding bodies turning their attention towards this issue, one key factor in deciphering discrimination is creating targeted activities, projects and campaigns. Since the issue of discrimination in sports touches upon different elements and interpretations, the initiatives need to address a multitude of challenges, while adhering closely to the overarching aim and mutual direction.

Bringing Discrimination to Light

The results of INCLUDE’s study have also emphasised the need to raise awareness about discrimination in sports as a crucial step for sparking meaningful dialogue and driving change. The coaches who took part in the study are advocating for the identification and acknowledgement of prejudice and bias within sports organisations and in society as a whole. By ensuring that these incidents are neither ignored nor minimised, but rather are addressed appropriately, we can promote positive change and cultivate a culture of accountability.

By shedding light on the issues experienced, through social media campaigns, radio and TV ads, dedicated events and presentations, we can catalyse collective efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable sporting community.

What’s Next?

It’s a question that echoes through the halls of sports organisations, coaching academies, and government institutions alike. The journey towards true inclusion in sports is ongoing, marked by both successes and challenges. 

However, as we look to the future, it is apparent that continued education and training are a key driver behind any meaningful change. By fostering meaningful collaborative partnerships, empowering athletes’ voices and driving forward research and evaluation – we can collectively improve our approach to education and training and ensure a long-term impact on inclusion in sports. 

About INCLUDE Project

The INCLUDE project puts forward a comprehensive program, involving research, direct action and the development of learning resources, to educate and support coaches, executives and staff of sport academies working with young athletes (12-18 years old) so that they can actively contribute in tackling discrimination in youth sports. The Erasmus+ project focuses on promoting inclusion and diversity by taking concrete action to tackle existing barriers linked to discrimination in the field of youth sport.

It’s Time to Raise the BAR Against Racism Across Schools

In a bid to tackle racism head-on within educational institutions, the Raise the BAR initiative has been launched, marking a pivotal moment in the fight against discrimination in schools. The initiative aims to instill anti-racism principles deeply within the fabric of educational systems across Cyprus and Europe.

At its core, Raise the BAR seeks to empower educators with the necessary tools and strategies to cultivate anti-racism attitudes and behaviors among students. Recognising the pivotal role of teachers in shaping young minds, the initiative prioritises comprehensive training programs designed to equip educators with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively implement anti-racism pedagogy in their classrooms.

The partner meeting, held in Valencia earlier this month, marked a significant milestone in the initiative’s journey. Participants convened to outline a roadmap for the project, with discussions centering on key steps to be taken, including forthcoming teacher training sessions and the development of a policy paper outlining practical recommendations for fostering inclusive environments within schools.

With tensions surrounding racial inequality and discrimination on the rise globally, the need for action within educational settings has never been more pressing. As the initiative gains momentum, stakeholders remain optimistic about the transformative impact it will have on shaping the attitudes and behaviors of future generations, paving the way for a more equitable and just society.

Raise the BAR: Becoming Anti-Racist Schools

Raise the BAR aims to contribute to combating racism, discrimination and inequality in EU schools, targeting teachers and students (10-16 years). It will promote inclusion, diversity and equality frameworks by developing resources to prepare schools and teachers to initiate and implement effective educational strategies to foster students’ anti-racism, personal development, democratic values, adherence to fundamental rights and critical thinking.

The project will address the impacts of racism, discrimination, and cultural, social and economic barriers. This will be achieved by collaborating with teachers (and students) in the co-design of:

  • The Continuous Training programme for teachers, “Becoming Anti-Racist Teachers”, to promote their professional development
  • The “Becoming Anti-Racist Toolkit” for students (10-16 years), with activities to foster anti-racism
  • The “Raise the BAR – Becoming Anti-Racist Schools” Policy Paper, with practical recommendations for schools and school managers on the implementation of anti-racist pedagogy and global education.
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