YouthBank Turkey Up and Running
YouthBank Co-Ordinator, Vernon Ringland, recently returned from Turkey, where he was following up on the initial pilot YB work completed in March 2011.
He was there to deliver initial YouthBank training to 44 young people recruited by, local NGO Toplum Gunulluleri (Community Volunteers Foundation).
Upon arrival, Vernon was asked to create an environment where participants would feel relaxed and at ease with each other and whilst being mindful of their low boredom threshold.
He began by giving them pictures to look at as a set of metaphors for what they might expect from the YouthBank experience.
Stories were then told to extend the pictures as a visualization of their own dreams and aspirations, helping to connect learners with each other and with the forthcoming practical skills content of the YouthBank training.
Participants were encouraged to write questions about the previous day’s experience in their journals and to play with colourful mind-maps, making the embedding of the key skills and values of the YouthBank approach appealing and fun.
Vernon also heard about life as a Bosnian or Uzbek migrant living in Istanbul, as well as the views of Kurdish Young people and expressions from Turkish beat-box poets.
“The entire experience was challenging but incredibly rewarding", Vernon said.
“Above all the training challenged participants to translate the fine words of youth-led participation in grant-making within their local culture into action.
“Often accessibility was highlighted as a main barrier to gaining the new conversations and actions they really wanted to see, and be a part of.”
Two YouthBanks will operate in Istanbul with others being set up in Izmir, Samsun and the rural north-east and southeast areas of Arhavi and Batman.
In March a regional YouthBank network will meet for the first time that will include representation from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Abkhazia.