2 years ago 7 organizations embarked on a journey to help you increase the impact of your Erasmus+ projects

We started together the ImpACT+ project

And we had 3 main aims:

  1. Research the impact of 6 multi-mobility Erasmus+ programmes which we have previously organised.
  2. Compile a best practices guide so other youth NGOs can also learn from what worked and what didn't work.
  3. Create an interactive storytelling medium through which policymakers can learn mode about the impact of Erasmus+ projects.
An initiative of The Youth Company (The Netherlands), Saxion University (The Netherlands), Young Initiative Association (Romania), Europimpulse (Spain), Juventude da Vila Fonche (Portugal), MES (Lithuania), Talk About Youth Project (Ireland); Funded through the Erasmus+ Programme, Key Action 2 - Strategic Partnerships.

What programmes did we research?

Stay Human - Human Rights Programme (Editions 1 & 2)

Stay Human is a human rights education programme that connects theory and real-life practice through non-formal education. Most of all, Stay Human connects countries and relevant human rights topics.

Stay Human is a peer-based programme that creates awareness amongst young people about Human Rights and stimulates them to take an active role in promoting and advocating these rights in their local realities.

Clap Lab Youth Leadership Programme (Editions 1 & 2)

Similar structure to the Stay Human Programme, Clap Lab empowered young people to better discover themselves and unleash their leadership potential to improve their own communities.

Big Questions of Life

How can young people survive the daily jungle of opportunities, challenges and choices? They are facing expectations of family and friends, while they actually need to discover themselves who they are, what their talents are and which dreams they would like to accomplish.

We reflected and came up with 12 best practices which you can use for your own projects

Let's discover them!

Now a bit of technical info: Here you will find the introductions to all 12 stories in one place, but each has a button which will open up in a separate webpage so you can discover it in depth. Best viewed on laptop/desktop.

Multi-activity Programme Structure & Design

In order to increase the impact of Erasmus+ Youth programmes we started to use the mobility activities as building blocks. Connecting two or more mobility activities improves the impact on the development of young people, youth workers and the impact in our local realities.

This best practice is discussing the programme design and structure of Erasmus+ Youth multi activity programmes.

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Participatory Approach

In this best practice you will learn how to co-create your Erasmus+ Youth mobility/project with young people and youth workers in international teams and how to foster this cooperation. Besides, it will hopefully bring you inspiration on how you can build with your team/group on this experience, developing new projects/programmes on local and European level and increasing competences and participation along the way.

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Creating a visible impact in the local community

Mobility projects come and go, but some of them actually leave something behind which can support the local community for years to come. Apart from the positive impact on the participants personal and professional development, we can also steer our projects towards making a visible change in the community.

Find out how we did it and what impact we had in some of the projects we implemented and how you can do it too!

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From Partnership to Ownership

Any partnership should offer a solid foundation in realizing a strong and relevant non-formal programme with young people. This responsibility shouldn’t be limited to, for example, the applicant organisation. From the very beginning the ImpACT+ programmes have been designed from the perspective that a partnership is more than signing a mandate and preparing national groups.

This best practice is discussing the value of partnerships in Erasmus+ Youth programmes, how it can improve the quality of your Erasmus+ Youth programmes and how you can implement it yourself.

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Focus on Reflection and the Learning Process

Reflection on one's own learning process is essential in any non-formal learning activity. Non-formal learning is characterised by an open-ended and process-based approach to learning. In more simple words; participants are defining their own learning goals and are supported to take agency in this learning process. Non-formal learning is intentional learning where reflection has a central role in guiding this learning process.

This best practice discusses the role of reflection, its importance and how reflection can support the learning process of your participants.

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How to support your participants before, during and after your mobility

An Erasmus+ Youth project’s success can more often than not actually be influenced by how well prepared the participants are for that learning mobility when you act as a sending organization. Beyond the classic info pack, a few extras can make a big difference. A full support process not just before, but also during and after the mobility can provide benefits both to the learning process of the participants and to the organisational development of the sending partner.

Discover how we did it and how you can get inspiration and ideas for your own mobility projects!

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How to provide a Safe Space for participants

Creating a safe space in Erasmus+ projects is extremely important and crucial to the activities success. Only by feeling safe and heard young people can have an effective participation, learning and exploring all their potential, eventually feeling more involved and committed to the whole process. That's why we've decided to explain what we understand by safe space and what we've learned throughout those projects with the groups we work with.

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Support person - Making sure it all goes well

You will learn about the role and benefits of having a support person who is a experienced or qualified youth worker who can help direct guides and supports the unforeseen moments on a Youth exchanges and acts as a safety net for both young people and youth leaders.

By exploring this story you will understand better how the support person plays a key role in ensuring the smooth transition of young people into Erasmus+ Key Action 1 (multi-activity) programmes, by supporting young people and youth leaders to become the main agents of the programme.

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How choice and voluntary participation can lead to long term engagement

For Erasmus+ goals to be accomplished young people need to be offered opportunities to engage in programmes that offer them space and possibilities to progress by empowering them to take ownership which in turn leads to long term engagement.

This piece will provide you with insight on how you can achieve this. Two elements are key: Forming positive relationships with young people leading to longevity + Voluntary involvement and participation.

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Climbing on the Youth Participation Ladder

This best practice describes how we integrated the Ladder of participation (Hart, 1997) in our Erasmus+ youth programmes. We started at rung six which is described as adult-initiated, shared decision making with young people and via rung 7 “Young people lead and initiate action” we aimed at reaching the level of collaboration in which adult and young people share decision making.

Moreover, we focus on describing which processes enabled young people to take this more active role and engage gradually in more responsibilities, from participation to leading and initiate actions, to full ownership and responsibility for a specific programme.

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From Participants to Researchers

How can you research the impact of Erasmus+ activities? How can you give words to the experience and outcome of the multi activity programs? In line with the objectives of Erasmus+ activities, we chose a research design that not only answers the research question, but also provides an opportunity for youth to develop themselves: we used a participatory youth research design. A transformation from youth took place: from participants to researchers.

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Using Participatory Research to Measure Impact of Erasmus+ Projects

7 partner organisations, 6 research groups: one international research team.

Do you want to know what the impact is of your organisation’s non-formal international youth projects? We suggest you use a research design that fits in with the working method during the exchange programs (non-formal) and that gives space to ownership of participants of former youth projects: participatory youth research

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Now it's your turn!

We hope you will be inspired by the stories we shared and they will help you improve your Erasmus+ projects by increasing their impact for young people, youth workers and the local community.

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