Inside Out’s mission is “to create, facilitate and promote opportunities for young people to work in partnership with adults to advance and realise the aspirations of young people living in rural areas.” Inside Out does this by ensuring that “young People living in the broader Claudy area are connected, visible and have the means to make a positive and lasting contribution to their local communities in order to influence and shape provision available to them.” One of the main projects through which this vision is achieved is entitled ‘Leadership through Intercultural Dialogue’
Leadership through Intercultural Dialogue
The LID (Leadership through Intercultural Dialogue) Programme is an initiative co-ordinated by The Inside Out Programme in the village of Claudy, just outside Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, to provide international learning opportunities for young people, young leaders, youth workers and other practitioners (with a remit for young people).
The purpose of LID is to develop participants skills base, increase their knowledge and affect attitudinal change, which in turn enhances their capacity – and that of their organisation and ultimately the communities they work in – to contribute to the continued development of a shared society in Northern Ireland.
The rationale comes from the belief that ‘the international’ provides a much stronger context to explore and learn from with regard to building relationships between diverse communities in Northern Ireland.
A vandalised roadsign in Derry/Londonderry
LID has provided a wide range of programmes including Feasibility Meetings, Training Programmes, Job Shadows, Partnership Building Activities, Seminars, Large Scale Projects, Youth Exchanges, Youth Initiatives and Youth Democracy Projects.
Themes have focused on culture, conflict and outdoor education, participation, self-organisation, citizenship, environment, photography, networking, EVS (European Voluntary Service), creativity, the arts, democracy and stress management.
Inside Out teams up with partners from overseas to deliver activities funded previously by the EU’s Youth in Action which has recently been replaced by Erasmus+.
Between April 2008 and July 2014 it achieved the following:
- 70 different international programmes (24 hosted by The Inside Out Programme)
- 287 applications to attend 61 of the 70 programmes offered
- 152 different participants (42 young people, 47 youth workers and 23 young leaders and 40 other practitioners)
- Travel to 23 countries with over 40 participating nations (western, central, eastern and euro-med regions including North Africa)
- 55 organisations from across the UK (primarily NI) represented
- Participants drawn from 36 locations across the UK including 28 from around Northern Ireland
- 212 programme attendances
- 32 participants have used LID on more than one occasion
- 84 Female and 68 Male applicants
- 15 different nationalities represented
- Religious make-up of 60% perceived Catholic and 40% non-Catholic
Graffiti in Derry/Londonderry
A recent evaluation of the programme concluded LID as making a significant contribution to enhanced cultural diversity, Interculturalism and good relations and is a good model for improving ‘good relations’ within local communities.
Some of the findings included:
- 100% of participants felt they had enhanced confidence and knowledge to assist in bringing about positive change at local level;
- 93% of participants felt more able to challenge stereotypes of their own and others’ communities;
- The most common key learning related to Diversity, at 41% of all key learning identified;
- 38+ soft and hard skills were acquired or developed;
- The two foremost strengths of the programme identified were ‘Enhanced Interculturalism’ (29% of all responses) and ‘Bringing People Together’ (26%);
The LID programme has been successful because it:
- utilises the opportunities afforded under the EU’s Youth in Action/Erasmus+ Programme in order to make a sustained contribution to local good relations in Northern Ireland
- uses Youth in Action funding to support individual participation in LID activities negating the need to source funding from scarce local resources
- engages with a wide range of well-established international partners proficient in Youth in Action delivery to provide a wide range of opportunities on an annual basis
- focuses on and promotes positive approach to interculturalism and diversity which are viewed as essential to peace-building in Northern Ireland
- provides a diverse range of theme-based programmes ensuring opportunities are accessible to as wide an audience as possible
- creates networks that support practice and leads to the development of post-LID activities ensuring further investment in youth work provision in Northern Ireland
- motivates participants ensuring greater productivity in and commitment to service delivery
One Senior Youth Worker described LID as providing:
“…an essential platform that supports the sharing of ideas and information on youth work practice across Europe and a platform for developing longer term strategic and practical links. Many of our more radical developments in practice models have come from an idea or practice encountered through the LID programmes that provided the essential stimulus in practice development. For us in Ireland, the professional link to practice development seminars has a great impact in overcoming our physical isolation from other European countries. Money well spent!”
Paul Bradley, Senior Youth Worker, SEELB
Another participant said:
“I would argue that the impact of the first international training course can be immense in terms of overcoming barriers, opening hearts and minds and helping people to see the connections with other countries, This kind of experience makes the world seem smaller and more connected and improves confidence of participants so they feel much more ready to run projects of their own where before they just saw barriers and problems. People return from projects really believing that, if they can communicate with people from a different country and in a different language, then problems at home are nowhere near as big as they first.”
Inside Out continues to work to build consensus among young people regarding key issues for development, whilst facilitating and promoting interaction between young people from different backgrounds. Inside Out also works to identify learning opportunities for young people, whilst raising the profile of young people in the public sphere so as to improve their image and perception among the adult population.