The black to the Future II project is the follow up of “’Black to the Future- A Sankofa approach to the exchange of youth work practice‘. The project is a 24 months strategic partnership and intergenerational project for youth workers from the African Diaspora in Swansea (Wales), Rotterdam, Munich and Lisbon. The project is based on the principles of Sankofa which in the Twi language of Ghana translates as ‘go back and get it’. Through a series of study visits/ work shadowing activities and dialogue sessions, the project will acknowledge the development of youth work practices with African Diaspora communities in these 4 cities.It will explore earlier learning and knowledge, alongside contemporary models to enhance the current skills and competence of younger youth workers. The project methodologies draw on a number of interrelated processes from both global North and South which reflect the ways of supporting young people in communities which will also have a level of familiarity to some of the youth workers on the programme, including : Informal Education; Sankofa; Ubuntu and The U Process (Theory U). Some of the principles of the benefits of intergenerational working will also be reflected in this project such as: – the development of the capacity of communities – promoting social inclusion – the importance of preparing the generations – challenging stereotypes and ageism. The project will seek to deliver the following outcomes: – A programme of at least 8 national intergenerational sessions in home countries and 4 x 5 day transnational intergenerational study-visits and work shadowing opportunities for a total of 20 youth workers /managers aged 21+.
• Increased skills, knowledge, competence levels and overall quality of work with African Diaspora youth (including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers) Introducing youth workers to African and other creative non formal educational principles and processes such as ‘Ubuntu’, ‘Sankofa’, ‘World Café’, ‘Open Space Technology’ and practical tools such as ‘Digital Mapping’
• Recording and mapping (using audio digital media / mapping tools) the history of youth work with African Diaspora young people in three cities and the informal educational and cultural practices which have been developed
• Develop digital toolkit with case studies to share with African Diaspora youth workers and managers.
• Enable other transnational youth workers and their groups contribute to and access this learning through the use of technology
• Help youth workers better understand the changing nature of European African Diaspora identity and help promote European integration.
The preparatory transnational meeting …
The first transnational meeting for the “Black to the Future II : Sankofa approach to youth work in the African Diaspora community” took place in London, UK from 17th to 19th May 2019. Ubele Initiative hosted us in their new urban ganden office in London.
The main aim of the preparatory meeting is to talk and agree with the partners on the project plan, budget, action plan and book keeping. The main agendas of the transnational meeting are the following.
- Getting to know each other
- Updates on the organization’s profile and sharing of good practices
- Recap of the Black to the Future project I (the first version)
- Presentation of the Black to the Future project II (the new project)
- Discussion on the strategic partnership between the Youth Works in the African Diaspora
- Planning the main activities of the project
- And other businesses…
The main outcomes of the preparatory meeting were the following.
We have agreed on the budget and budget distribution with regards to the project. We have also outlines the main risks to the project and agreed to define the main tasks and delivery dates to minimize the risks.
With regards to the strategic partnership, we have agreed to register the new network of “Youth Work in the African Diaspora Community”. The network will have the main purpose of creating synergies and exchange of good practices between the African Diaspora Youth Work Communities around Europe. It will also serve as a mechanism to advocate for our interests and raise the resources we will need for our work.
At the end we have defined and scheduled the main international activities of the project and agreed to build our national teams of intergenerational group to facilitate the exchange of experiences in the youth work between the new and older generations.
The first exchange visit in Munich …
The Munich exchange visit is a combination of study visit, training sessions, work shadowing and production of contents for the digital/audio mapping. The youth workers visited the variety of African Diaspora youth spaces, events, activities, projects and good practices and documented them as interviews and blogs to be submitted to the project manager that will integrate them into the digital map. The activity also integrated training sessions to increase the skills and competence of youth workers by introducing them to African and other creative non-formal educational principles and processes such as ‘Ubuntu’, ‘Sankofa’, ‘World Café’, ‘Open Space Technology’ and practical tools such as ‘Digital Mapping’.
The participants of the event were youth workers, municipality representatives and other actors from the African Diaspora communities.
We have achieved the following goals in the 5 days of exchange to develop our capacities and competencies.
• We offered a programme of national and transnational intergenerational training and study-visits for 22 youth workers / managers aged 21+ which provides an opportunity to share early as well as contemporary youth work practices.
• We increased the skills, knowledge, competence levels and overall quality of work with African Diaspora youth (including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers), through the intergenerational sharing of youth work practices.
• We increased the skills and competence of youth workers by introducing them to African and other creative non-formal educational principles and processes such as ‘Ubuntu’, ‘Sankofa’, ‘World Café’, ‘Open Space Technology’ and practical tools such as ‘Digital Mapping’.
• We recorded and mapped (using audio digital media / mapping tools) the history of youth work and best practices within the African Diaspora in four cities and the informal educational and cultural practices which have been developed.
• We empowered the youth workers to better understand the changing nature of European African Diaspora identity and help promote European integration and true sense of belongingness.
The expected results of the project is the improvement of skills and competencies of the participants as well as the development of the exchange of good youth work practices via the digital/audio mapping. These actions all focus on the black communities in the selected city Munich, Germany.
The second exchange visit in Rotterdam, NL …
The second exchange visit took place in Rotterdam, netherlands.
The main objectives of the exchange were more or less similar to the one that took place in Munich.
To map the youth work activities and programs that focus on the integration of migrant young people in the community. In the mapping process we have interviewed the respective representatives of wide-ranging initiatives and programs who presented their work for us.
We have exchanged youth work practices in the African Diaspora. Through a world cafe method, we the African Diaspora organization representatives presented and discussed the varieties of good and bad practices that we have experienced in our day to day youth work with migrant young people. The youth work practices are documented and they will be included in the final toolkit that we will be producing at the end of the project.
The transnational exchange was also the opportunity for the participating organizations to train themselves on a number of methodologies that were developed in the African Diaspora youth community for years. We have increased the skills and competence of youth workers by introducing them to African and other creative non-formal educational principles and processes such as ‘Ubuntu’, ‘Sankofa’, ‘World Café’, ‘Open Space Technology’ and practical tools such as ‘Digital Mapping’.
The final task of the activity was the digital mapping of what we have discovered and experienced so that other young people and youth workers can use them to advance their engagement in the community. The Digital mapping was carried out through three stages. The first stage was the training that was provided by the digital mapping expert. The next stage was the collecting of all relevant information that was carried out by the participants in the exchange. The final stage of the process was the actual mapping process on the google maps so it can be available for the public.
In the Rotterdam exchange 20 youth workers from Germany, Netherlands, Portugal and UK participated. The focus of the target group was youth workers from the African Diaspora living in Europe. One aspect of the project is the intergenerational youth work exchange in the communities. Hence the participants included youth workers from the older as well as the younger generation. The workshop space is aimed to create the opportunity for these youth workers to learn from each-other intergenerationally.
The Portugal Exchange carried out online
The online exchange was a combination of sharing of experiences, training sessions and production of contents for the digital/audio mapping. The youth worker exchange of African Diaspora youth spaces, events, activities, projects and good practices was shared and documented and integrated into the digital map. The activity also integrated training sessions to increase the skills and competence of youth workers by introducing them to African and other creative non-formal educational principles and processes such as ‘Ubuntu’, ‘Sankofa’, ‘World Café’, ‘Open Space Technology’ and practical tools such as ‘Digital Mapping’. The participants of the event are youth workers, municipality representatives and other actors from the African Diaspora communities.
The Manchester Blended online Exchange Visit:
Once we realised we can best achieve our objectives by mapping the city of Manchester instead of Swansea(Wales), we requested a change of location for this activity and the request was grated by the NA . We changed the location since Manchester can provide a much extensive and diverse practice when it comes to youth work in the African Diaspora communities in the UK. The partners learned a lot more from the experiences in Manchester and that will really enrich our digital mapping exercise. Unfortunately it was difficult for participants from Germany, Netherlands and Portugal to travel to Manchester due to the corona pandemic. However, the participants from Ubele in London, were able to go to Manchester and map the migrant youth spaces, projects and activities for us. They were able to go to Manchester during the activity implementation period of 04th to 08th of August 2021 and take part physically in the exchange while the rest of the participants had to take part virtually. Hence, we implemented a hybrid format where the activity took place physically and virtually at the same time. The program of the activity in Manchester included t – Arrival to Manchester – Get to know each other Identifying Hopes and Fears – Overview of the Mapping that has been done to date – African Diaspora Catering workshop – Enterprise and Business & Youth and Community Work – Introduction to the topic of Stereotyping – Visit to community organisation – Meet outside Manchester Central Library – Visit and overview of Mental Health in Manchester – ACCG – Visit to a youth work facility in Manchester – Visit to a second youth work facility in Manchester – Reflections on the mobility – Q & A and evaluations of the mobility and the project – Departure.
The blended online/physical exchange visit involved 20 youth workers from Germany, Portugal, Uk and the Netherlands.
This toolkit “Black to the Future – A Sankofa Approach to the Ex- change of Youth Work“ is a unique training product that fills gaps in youth work training methodologies that arises from the lack of cultural competencies in frameworks. The adage “If you want to know how the shoe fits, ask the person who is wearing it, not the one who made it” is the basis upon which this toolkit has been developed. Therefore, the wisdom, knowledge and experience of those who engage in youth work both as trainers, provi- ders and users (those who have previously used, or are currently using youth services) are the founda- tion of the information included. It gives answers to some questions that should be considered when working with diverse groups of young people and puts into context the structures and narratives around historical challenges that are still relevant in this present time. In developing the toolkit we have sought to deepen the knowledge beyond explanations of definitions and examples of good practice, and to highlight some of the cultural con- cepts and processes that impact on young people especially those who are disadvantaged. That includes talking about issues of emotional/mental wellbeing, and resilience in relation to effective youth work training practi- ces. To get the information across in a user-friendly way we have included direct quotes, reflective questions, stories, activities and links to additional materials and resources so that it can be used by as wide an audience as possible.
The toolkit contains contents that include: Youth work in African Diaspora communities, topics on diversity, integration, participation, gender, mental health and many more. Hope you will enjoy reading the toolkit as much as we enjoyed making it.
The Toolkit to work with young people in the African communities
The Digital Maps:
Throughout this project we have developed digital maps of the cities and towns that we have visited to present the youth work spaces, activities, initiatives and projects from the African diaspora communities and youth work practices in the communities. The digital maps included stories, interviews, transcription of interviews in the form of description, locations, pictures, videos and many more. Please find bellow the links to the digital maps and discover the cities from the perspective of the African Diaspora youth workers that participated in this project:
Sankofa map of Rotterdam: (link)
Sankofa map of Manchester: (link)
We would like to thank JUGEND für Europa, the National Agency (Germany) for the EU programmes Erasmus+ Youth and European Solidarity Corps for the great support they have provided to us.