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The 1st “Training for Trainers” of DYNAMO Int’l (Street Work Training Institute) – we were there!

The workshop of Dynamo International, held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 4th to 8th November 2013, titled «Training for trainers-Exchange of Practices», was a unique experience of human co-existence, constructive dialogue, comparative study and a sincere desire for debate and commentary on ideas and practices.

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During this informative and participatory seminar, representatives from several European and non-European countries (Belgium, France, Greece, Netherlands, Burundi, Switzerland, Congo, Norway, Poland) analyzed their practices, making clear references to the issues and challenges they face. Some in a theoretical and conventional way of teaching, others in a more imaginative and creative way, they all tried to convey their message to the participants.

The first day started with David Nunes (France) suggesting that we should express what our expectations from this training are and get to know each other, while Edwin de Boeve (Director of Dynamo International, Belgium), through using the method of «World Cafe», urged us to participate in conversations and enrich the matters discussed at each table, by swapping partners.

After a series of outdoors ice breaking activities, the presentations began with Helder Luis Santos (Chief Educator, Portugal) analyzing different pedagogical methods for Social Street Workers, as well as the various tools used in these methods.

Other presentations:

– Pierre Van den Bril (Belgium) encouraged thoughts around administration issues of a Social Street Work organization.

– Lutgarde (Lut)Caenen (Belgium) invited us to think about the existing barriers obstructing essential understanding and communication with each other, as well as the value of communication that does not involve violence.

– Edwin de Boeveenticed us into a debate among seemingly polarized views, which showed that any perspective can generate arguments and that quite often views are relative; he also encouraged us to think of the collective, community and individual role of the Social Street Worker.

– Ntakananirimana Diomede (Burundi) showed a video documentary for the living conditions of children in the streets of the capital city, with testimonials from citizens and local authorities, urging participants to propose solutions and approaches that may not had been implemented by themselves till now.

–  Andrzej Orlowski(Poland) informed us about the image of his city in a short and snappy presentation.

– Klaas Blaakand and Marischka Thijssen made ​​us think about the level of responsibility and competence in our work and through participation in group physical exercises they demonstrated the “strength in unity” concept.

– Else Kristin Utne Berg (Norway) suggested the method of parting into concentric groups to analyze from different angles an initial question / problem at an after time stage.

– EMFASIS FOUNDATION (Anastasios Smetopoulos, Theodora Daphne) was the Greek representation. During our presentation, we opted for an experiential and active means to convey the reality of the Athenian work field as well as other focus areas, with an open questions & answers session providing advice and suggestions.

– The training concluded with a review of our initial expectations and whether these were met, as well as thoughts and reflections on the content of the workshop, comments on possible improvements and discussions on future meetings and communications.

This first training program for trainers by Dynamo International was crowned with success,  offering more ideas, challenging food for thought and the much anticipated promise for a similar, more up to date session in the near future.

Theodora Dafnis

Sociologist -Street Worker

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