According to our research and experience on the ground in several African countries, we realized that firstly, there is lack of information for mobility, educational and scholarship opportunities for the youth. By 2050, African countries will hold the youngest population in the world. Right now, 77% of Uganda’s population lies between 18 and 30 years old. Higher Education Institutions and Civil Society Organizations lack of information and opportunities about Erasmus+, the programme of the European Commission, which has changed the lives of thousands of people around the world. Secondly, there is lack of capacity to apply or get engaged in Erasmus+ opportunities and also to find trustworthy partners.
Our solution is quite simple and lies on three levels. First, we identify interested Institutions, including Higher Education Institutions and Civil Society Organizations, and we partner with them. We raise the awareness about Erasmus+ by informing them about the eligible opportunities, from which they can benefit. Second, we provide capacity building, including a variety of skills, such as proposal writing, project management, soft skills and how to be competitive for successful Erasmus+ applications. Third, we create partnerships by matching the right African and European Institutions.
Our framework goes along with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs) with a focus on goal number 4, which is “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and goal number 17, which is “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”. Our framework goes along with the African Union Agenda 2063 with a focus on Aspiration number 1, which is “A Prosperous Africa, based on Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development” and Aspiration 7, which is “An Africa as a Strong, United, Resilient and Influential Global Player and Partner”.
We are implementing two types of trainings in two different target groups. First, our target is the Higher Education Institutions, where we train Board members, Academic Staff and students. Second, we target the Civil Society, where we train youth workers, community leaders and trainers, active in youth work. During our project, we provide capacity building interactive training seminars, enabling the participants to actively be the protagonists and first-line beneficiaries. The know-how exchange between the trainers and the participants is productive, because we all share our knowledge. We create an inclusive environment for all by using non-formal education methods, in order to make sure that learning becomes fun and participants are learning by doing. Moreover, we use experience-sharing as a tool to motivate and inspire the beneficiaries to progress and take action towards their own personal and professional development. African participants become story-tellers and the beneficiaries of Erasmus+ are sharing their stories from their experiences. This creates a spark in the eyes of the participants, since the local-to-local approach has a good impact and acts as a source of initiative-taking.