WASLA organized the Erasmus+ KA1 project, ”Conflict: An opportunity for learning!” in December 2018, in Berlin, Germany.

The project was started from the idea that where there are people, there are differences; where there are differences, there may be a conflict. As long as people feel, think and respond differently, the potential for conflict will exist. Conflict is a complex and integral part of human existence; it is also a crucial and natural catalyst for social change. The consequences of conflict can be negative or positive depending on how it is approached.

In various parts of Europe and neighbouring countries young people face challenges related to globalisation, multicultural societies, social exclusion and transition to adulthood. These challenges often result in tension, misunderstanding, conflict and even violence. At the same time, many live in regions or communities going through or recovering from conflict.

In youth work conflict is an inevitable topic, both as a transversal theme and as a specific area of work. Youth workers have to adapt to changing realities, issues and concerns faced by young people. What kind of activities should we offer in volatile communities? What are the basic principles of non-formal learning in such contexts?

The training course "Conflict: An opportunity for learning!” is a result of collaboration of youth workers from 12 EU and neighbourhood countries. Working on conflict and conflict transformation is a competence area that can and should be developed, since youth work plays an important role in preventing the negative consequences of conflict. This project aimed to increase competences of youth workers and youth leaders for constructively addressing conflicts through non-formal education methods, taking into account the specifics of working with young people.

The training course started on 9th and lasted until 16th December 2018. It reunited 28 youth workers and youth leaders from Armenia, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Palestine, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

The programme was based on non-formal education methods and its key principles of interaction, cooperation, holistic approach and intercultural learning. It also promoted the values of human rights, active tolerance, respect for human dignity, nonviolence, peaceful resolution of conflicts and solidarity. The proposed activities aimed at exploring the complex nature of conflict and its various aspects, encouraging competence development in the field of nonviolent conflict transformation and conflict resolution.

As a result of this training course, youth works and youth leaders developed their social and civic competence as well as interpersonal and intercultural skills. The project promoted the culture of peace and fostered mutual understanding between young people living in conflict-affected regions or in volatile and disadvantaged areas. It also contributed to the recognition of youth work as a constructive response to conflict and violence.