We live now in an ever-changing environment. Our personal lives are affected by various global factors which are themselves co- and interdependent: climate change, migration, terrorism, wars - and all social factors coming from these phenomenon: fear, xenophobia, closed society. All these issues can be targeted at rational levels to decrease fears (eg. by providing information), however fear is much more deeply rooted in our biological being. We are afraid for our lives, culture, family, and way of living and all the above factors have a clear impact on these at an everyday level.
Being able to face fears, to connect to emotions, and to live a positive life is a basis for being able to feel empathy, acceptance towards others. Emotional intelligence is the competence to understand our feelings and feelings of others, and based on this to be able to act upon them and act based on them. Therefore the most important area we have to work on is to help young people to understand themselves, their emotions, senses, feelings better in order to be able to control them better. This can come from several levels which are included in our project: meeting others, meeting animals – and meeting themselves through these encounters.
Our main focus is the Animal-Human Interaction, and our aim is to develop a training course and belonging materials about how connecting to animals and nature can help humans to develop prosocial intra- and interpersonal skills such as empathy, self-reflexion, resilience or coping. During the project we will develop and test materials with and for youth workers, which they can use within their youth development work to reach the previously mentioned development goals with youth.
We are developing:
- a collection of good practices / exercises relevant from the previous knowledge of participants
- a curriculum of a 6-module training course for youth
- detailed lesson plans for the modules so that they can be used in long-term youth groups as well (even maybe in schools)
- materials (hand-outs) that can be given to young people during the course (with self-help exercises, information background on animals and taking care of animals, etc).
The project will also include the piloting of this training course with two 7 days-training events (tutor training courses for youth leaders), while the project results will be locally disseminated by local focus groups, training courses and communication actions.
The primary target group is youth workers, youth leaders. They would take part in the development, the training / piloting, and they can spread the knowledge to the groups of young people (secondary target group) they are working with.
Lehua - our acronym - is the flower of a Polynesian tree. It’s other name is Spring Fire. It is usually used to create bush fences but if left alone, it will develop into a strong and tall tree - the same way as, through connection to nature, our young trainees will do.
We believe that through involving living animals, literature, games and tales - the so called alternative knowledge systems - we are able to help the change and resilience of people at a very personal level, by which they will be able to resist to unidentified fears and manipulation.
Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for youth
Start Date: 01-02-2017
End Date: 31-01-2019
Duration in months: 24
EC Contribution in Euros: 130 650
Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (ANL), Germany
Project webpage: http://learningfromanimals.eu
Project Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/learninghumanityfromanimals/