With the start of the new school year, Latvian Red Cross has completed its youth exchange project “Knowledge into Action: Climate Change Consequence (CCC)” within the “Erasmus +: Youth in Action” program, coordinated by the Agency for International Programs for Youth in Latvia, that involved Red Cross Youth from 6 countries – Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Netherlands, Italy and Germany.
The project was launched in early April 2019, project activities and logistics were planned, participants in six Red Cross National Societies were recruited and participant groups were assembled. There was an active preparation for the main activity of the project, youth exchange, which took place in Latvia for 10 days in July. There were also online meetings during which the participants in the project shared tasks and activities that each country was committed to organize.
On June 11-14, an Advanced Planning Visit was held in Riga, attended by representatives from each partner country. During the visit, the accommodation were visited, the exchange program was discussed in detail, recent changes were made, the potential risks a young person might face when going to another country were defined, and the tasks of each group and work to be done were defined.
After the advanced planning visit, national group meetings were actively organized, incl. also online. Each group was given its own topic, which required a small theoretical review as well as a creative workshop. Each country also had to prepare a plan for the national evening.
The topics discussed during the exchange were:
Greenhouse gas emissions;
Threats to the wildlife;
Water protection on climate effects on maritime life;
Management in natural hazards;
Red Cross involvement in disaster relief;
Less-waste / Zero-waste lifestyle.
The main activity of the project – the exchange, started with get to know each other, icebreakers, activities to learn the names of the participants, as well as team building activities that are very much needed for successful cooperation. The first day was dedicated to getting the participants to know each other and to get to know the surroundings. For the first 5 days of the exchange, the participants lived at Abragciems campsite, a wonderful place right on the beach.
During the project, “Bee in”, with lectures and creative workshops, attended a lecture on low-waste lifestyle and a wax cloth workshop, which is a great alternative to food film; “Ber un sver” with a lecture on a zero-waste lifestyle and a creative toothpaste workshop; Representatives from the World Wildlife Foundation with lectures on the greenhouse effect, wildlife and water protection; representative of Latvian State Forests shared its position on forest management and the reasons for cutting down forests and planting new ones; a visit to the UL Academic Center in Tornakalns, where participants were introduced to its activities and how climate change is affecting the Earth; An excursion to Getliņi EKO was organized, where the process of waste recycling and the use of creative energy at work were discussed.
At the beginning of the exchange, the young people were introduced to the Youthpass, which was an integral part of the whole exchange, assessing the learning process of each participant.
Since the first aid is an integral part of Red Cross Youth, participants exchanged knowledge and first aid rules in each country, and with the assistance of a professional trainer, learned how to pull the victim out of the car or how to take off the helmet of the injured motorcyclist in case of need.
Each national group had prepared a fascinating creative workshop according to their chosen theme. Someone had prepared an interactive game, another informative presentation or a task to test the water quality in the Gulf of Riga.
At the end of the exchange follow-up activities were planned, future plans for further cooperation, as well as evaluating the exchange process, results achieved, feelings and learning processes.
After the project is completed, communication with the partners will continue in order to carry out other joint projects in the future.