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Equality and inclusion by eyes of EVS volunteer

These were busy two months in YEE office. Three remarkable events took place almost in a row: the study session “Exploring gender equality in environmental projects”, the Board meeting in March and the training course “YEE-nclude: inclusion in environmental youth projects” in April. During these months I had a chance to see the working process from two different sides: as a participant and as a part of preparatory team. So, let’s start from the beginning.

On 5 March a part of YEE office and Board went to Strasbourg to explore the topic of gender equality. Fortunately, I had a chance to join as well and spent one week with extremely interesting people, packed with knowledge, energy and ideas. I have to say that the topic itself was quite new and of course very interesting for me. Sex and gender; balance, equality and equity; principles and importance of gender mainstreaming and many other things caught all my attention for those 7 days. I got a really good base to continue the exploration by myself in the future and now I consider connecting my mini-project with this topic.

Later, in the beginning of April, to help young people discover how to include people with different kind of obstacles into environmental projects, YEE organised training course “YEE-nclude”. This time I was given a chance to see the work of preparatory team from the stage of the selection of participants till the very end of the project. I never had similar experience, and of course I was a bit nervous, but full of enthusiasm to help as best I can. My expectations were to learn a lot and maybe get more skills and well... I got even more than I expected. Besides exploring the topic of inclusion (which is related to gender equality and highly relevant itself), I also practiced multitasking: how to mix the role of participant, facilitation and a bit of administrative work? I have to admit that on the first day (or days:) it was very challenging for me and probably I wasn’t that efficient. But later, along with the connection with the team, work went smoothly and amusingly. Every evening I could practice facilitation and active listening while leading reflection group for participants. During the open space, to challenge myself even more, I decided to disseminate some knowledge, that I gained during the study session. I shared some basic information and then we discussed the situation in our countries, talked about different problems related to gender and interesting facts we know. In the nearest future we will start to write the publication, what will help us to explore inclusion even deeper.

As you can see, it was an intensive time, full of learning and challenges. But it’s never enough. Now I feel like learn even more and sure that nothing is impossible:)