Between the 17th and the 22nd of April our volunteers Liubov and Vlad participated in the Leadership Academy, a program organized by YMCA Europe in Setubal, Portugal. The project is co-funded by the European Youth Foundation and aims at promoting inclusiveness, peace, justice and diversity in local communities through enhancing the impact of refugee services and more representational governance processes in youth CSOs.

The key topics of the first international activity were:

  • Intersectionality, vulnerability, inclusion, work with refugees, intercultural dialogue.
  • Needs assessment, role of CSOs, impact, project design algorithm.
  • Compass manual as a tool of human rights education.
  • Understanding what kind of services the refugees need.


As Luibov mentioned in her testimonial:

“We had a 4-days program, which was filled with a lot of new information, communication, and experience. Three different speakers were introducing their activities and having conversations with us, participants afterwards. Personally, for me, the most interesting and useful ones were when Terrance was explaining the meaning of equality, equity, and intersectionality. After this activity I started to understand simple things differently. This information will help me to understand the needs of people I am working with more profoundly and after this our cooperation will be more efficient. The second activity that impressed me was called “Fishbowl” I was one of the main participants in this session. Its objective was to share our experience of working with refugees to participants from other countries. I got a lot of questions from them and together we discussed how we can improve our services. The last activity I enjoyed was common discussion of project cycle. The information was structured very well, and allowed me to understand and memorize the topic very successfully. Also, Vlad and I started brainstorming and creating a draft of our common project which we are about to implement in our local community in Baia Mare. They were one of the best days I had so far, can`t wait for the second offline session in Georgia!”

Vlad also mentioned:

“A few weeks ago, I participated in the YMCA Europe Leadership Academy. I did not know what to expect but I can say with certainty that this experience changed the way I think about myself and my goals forever. The people were amazing, even if we spent only a few days together we managed to connect from the first day. I was surprised by the high quality of the activities and by the amount of thought and work that was put into them. Some facilitators had very interesting methods that inspired me to look differently at my work and at facilitation. One of the aspects that I liked the most was that we talked about impact and project design. The way we tackled these subjects made me extremely motivated. For the first time, I looked at impact in society as something that I could achieve. Instead of feeling powerless, I felt motivated to make a change. The part about project design worked extremely well with this. We were taught how to manage problems and how to create a project while maximizing the social impact that our project has on these issues. We also started to work on our own projects that we will implement during the summer. I can’t wait to see the impact that we will have.”