One answer to that we experienced during the Youth in Action training course “When social meet rights” in Montijo, Portugal, 15th-22nd of October 2012.
During a six day long training course we were educated in the different components of the European Social Charter through a special learning method, namely non-formal education. It was something totally new for us and at the beginning we were a bit sceptical since we are used to a more theoretical and formal education model. Although the outcome of these non-formal education sessions, regarding the knowledge about the social rights, were far more comprehensive than we thought. We felt more emotionally and personally connected to the issues we discussed since everyone was actively participating in the different exercises through different workshops and role plays. It was a new kind of a concrete and practical learning process rather than the theoretical one we are used to.
There were also a lot of teambuilding games and team work exercises which built up a sort of trust among us participants and had a great positive influence on the group dynamic.
We think this method of non-formal education could successively be used in a broader sense to engage and involve youth in the human rights area, since the method of non-formal education are easier to relate to when someone don’t have the theoretical knowledge. And even if you have the theoretical knowledge the non-formal education gives you a multi-dimensional approach to the subject and makes you reflect a lot during the learning process. We learned a lot about social rights and also had a lot of fun! J
Jana Lopusna and Isabel Duchén