SCI: Branch(ed) Out

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We, the Branching Out Team, look back to one dynamic year of meeting and organizing, celebrating diversity and solidarity! The team would like to thank all branches, groups and teams of volunteers and activists, for their amazing engagement making this project so colorful.

What’s Branching Out?

The project  Branching Out: (re)connecting ideas  gave SCI branches, partners and volunteers the chance to exchange ideas and best practices during the Community Forum in June. We invited 35 participants to Antwerp, Belgium, who are working on social inclusion with diverse groups in their local communities.

Project partners and their local partners organized 19 colorful Local Activities during the summer, bringing together different groups from their communities. You can read about all the amazing local activities here. Meanwhile the project team, inspired by the contributions from the Community Forum, collected some best practices and formulated those into easy-to-understand instructions published in a tool named Diverse Communities: Visual Method Cards. The tool was created in the form of a card-set with visuals to be directly used to inspire a conversation or as support in reflection and evaluation sessions. See yourself and find out more about it - you will also find a printable toolkit together with instructions in our resource section.

The last activity of Branching Out was the Strategic Planning Workshop in Anjalankoski, Finland, where the project team met with representatives of local groups and the Strategic Planning Team. This activity took place parallel to SCI’s Exchange Platform Meeting, which this year focused on the integration of refugees and asylum seekers into volunteering. This gave the team an ideal platform to present the project and its activities to a wide audience, including the toolkit. In this report you can read about the most important outcomes of the project evaluation, discussions and workshops.

Highlights

Many beautiful stories reached us about activities bringing together different groups, families and individuals celebrating diversity and solidarity in 9 different countries and 12 different cities. These activities were carried out by 11 different branches and local groups in collaboration with over 58 (partly new) local partners. Some organizing groups were rather inexperienced, others rather established organizing public events with their partners. We are very happy to have received so much encouraging feedback:

"[...] The format of Human Library is very interesting and made me change my perspective on the migration topic. Having the chance to meet real people, "reading" their real stories, made me look on the humanitarian side of the topic. I can't wait to meet my friends and share with them this experience!” - from a visitor of the Human Library: Vibrant Stories event in Sofia, Bulgaria.

I Never thought Finland could teach me so much. It’s funny how such an advanced country still  as so much to learn, and how we have so much to learn with them. The camp gave the chance to see people and hear stories so different from mine, and for that I will be forever grateful.” - Marta Sofia Barbosa de Carvalho, a volunteer from Portugal attending the Intercultural Relations and Active City Communities Workcamp hosted in Helsinki by KVT Finland.

Perfect Saturday afternoon, spent with great people from different countries, united to try some new kind of food, prepared by refugees from Afghanistan. I really enjoyed the combination of sun, food, and positive vibrations all around the place.” – Nina Kemera, visitor of the Community Lunch “New Taste of a shared Life” in Novi Sad, Serbia.

As the project team is currently finalizing the report, we would like to thank all volunteers, groups, branches and local partners who made this project so colorful! Your contributions during the Community Forum were fundamental to our work and your power and creativity to organize these events were, once again, amazing to see. We are happy to work with and know you!


The project was organized in the frame of the Building Bridges Campaign and supported by the European Youth Foundation.

 

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