The coordination team of the “Young Verified Leaders” project (Solijugend, ADEEJ and ALEJ from Algeria and We Love Sousse from Tunisia) met, for the first time face-to-face, in Sousse, Tunisia between the 13th and 18th of December 2021. The goal was to plan the upcoming workshops, to prepare our international youth encounters, to exchange about methods of non-formal child and youth work – and last but not least to finally get to know each other personally.
After two years without physical meetings and five months since the beginning of the Young Verified Leaders program, the entire organizing team (Nasser, Nassim, Haifa, Carolina and Adeline) and the members of WLS were finally able to meet face to face.
Between cultural visits, sight-seeing and social encounters, the team worked on several meetings and workshops as part of this project. The first project team meeting and the recording of a podcast took place at the WLS office. The podcast was hosted by Iheb Helali and was intended to raise awareness of the Young Verified Leaders project. We were aware of the content of the planned audio recording, but no one had experience with recording a podcast. The good mood and hospitality of the moderator helped to create a very pleasant and entertaining atmosphere. Exhausted by the many impressions, we postponed another working meeting in the evening to end the day at the “Théâtre municipal”, the municipal theater of Sousse.
The partners in the project also had the opportunity to present this project and the objectives and results already achieved to the Tunisian Minister of Youth and Sports. With a full schedule, the minister welcomed the Tunisian, Algerian and German delegations, who had less than half an hour to present the YVL project. The Minister also reported on the ongoing youth projects in Tunisia and formulated suggestions on how the YVL project could serve as a platform to the current activities.
On the third working day, the team met for another working group meeting. That day, the team was received by the director of the first Tunisian youth house, (“Maisons de Jeunes”) in Riadh in Erriadh, a district of Sousse, where we discussed the specifics of such an institution and a possible collaboration in the project.
This exchange of professionals in Sousse was the first activity of the YVL project face-to-face and we hope that it was only the first of many more to come.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire We Love Sousse team, from Haifa and Anis to every single member who accompanied us during this week. Despite all the unexpectedness on time and in regard to the pandemic, the team of WLS was very flexible, always there for us, and each person was very attentive to our needs and concerns during the project meeting. We would also like to thank our Algerian partners Nassim and Nasser for their inspiring collaboration and commitment to meet together in Tunisia.
Besides a very dense program and various exciting working groups, we had the opportunity to get to know each other better, but this time not hidden behind a screen, thousands of kilometers away. In particular, we appreciated the informal discussions with the coordination team of ALEJ, ADEEJ and WLS. These helped not only to better identify the diverse views, but also to meet more in person. A project of this scale and with so many intertwined intercultural levels can only succeed sustainably if everyone is given the space to develop and feel comfortable. Only in this way can we convey the values that are so central to us and foster interpersonal relationships between partners and our members. We remain firmly convinced that communication at eye level and mutual trust are the main elements of our cooperation. For us, this is one of the most important foundations for immediate program success. We feel confident that we are ready to meet the challenges and are already looking forward to the next steps of action in the coming year!