“Rural Initiatives Workshop” – is a training cycle, which consists of three seminars and the phase of initiatives implementation.
All seminars are conducted in an informal way, with the use of interactive and creative techniques and practical exercises. Qualified trainers from the Theodor Heuss Kolleg and cooperation programs work with the participants.
The first workshop – introductive – is called Ideas Workshop. During this workshop, participants have the opportunity to discuss socially important topics and develop ideas for changes around them. Participants gather in their regions and learn to evaluate the environment critically; analyze the processes that take place in society; try to understand in practice what responsibility, activity, tolerance, and sustainability are. New Craftsmen and Craftswomen (we call our participants this way) start to perceive themselves in a new way, find inspiration to act locally, and to become change agents in their small communities. On the seminar participants reflect on the ways in which they can influence their village and school, and by doing this make their own contribution to the development of their country.
The second seminar is called Action Workshop. At this seminar, with the help of trainers and experts, participants are developing plans for implementing the ideas on which they have reflected from the first workshop. They work on the criteria for success, search for resources, team-building principles, time management, financial planning etc. This workshop is the first step that practically brings the participants closer to the actions. It is in this space, where they get tools as well as self-confidence and inspiration to work independently.
One of the most important phases takes place between the second and third workshops. It is the phase of initiatives implementation. At this stage, the participants put their plans into practice. This phase is the most resonant, because the local community is also involved in implementing the initiatives. The participants’ idea is a kind of stimulus that motivates themselves as well as other people around them. Rural communities are very sensitive to such activities. It is very difficult for them to start it independently, but they are really good at supporting and developing such initiatives. During this phase the participants are constantly supported by mentors of the program. A mentor is a person who has some experience in the activities, which a participant has started, and has attended the coaching course, that is why this person has all opportunities to provide quality support to participants. Mentoring is the process of participants supports during the implementation of social initiatives.
The third seminar which is the final one is called Experience Workshop. At this seminar, participants from all target regions of the program have the opportunity to assess their learning process together, because the initiative in our program is a tool for development. Trainers help participants to analyze their strengths and weaknesses, evaluate what they have done well, and also the aspects they have to work at, to identify the aspects that hinder their progress and think about ways to neutralize these barriers in the future. There is also space where participants can work out plans for the future; to see what other opportunities for development and expression of their active life position in the country and in the world they can use; to meet the representatives of various organizations and communicate with them. However, it is not the whole list of the objectives of the seminar. One of the most important and exciting events is the presentations of initiatives implemented by the participants. They have the opportunity to declare their results in front of the media and public figures, or residents who are interested in public life. This event inspires not only the participants to work for future achievements, but it also motivates the guests of activity to be active and create public goods.