Project Dare to Care Baltics

Project addresses Council of Baltic Sea States priority area “safe & secure region” by focusing on violence prevention among and towards young people in Baltics. Project activities aimed to strengthen young peoples resilience and raise awareness regarding healthy relationships and issues of bullying, gender-based violence and human tracking.

Participating organizations: MARTA Centre, Latvia (Lead Partner); NGO Paikuse Open Youth Center, Estonia (Co-Partner); Women’s Issues Information Center, Lithuania (Co-Partner)

Duration of the project:  01.10.2020 – 30.04.2022

Brief summary of the project:
Projects direct target group were specialists - youth workers, social workers, educators - who work with youngsters, and the main beneficiaries are youth aged 12-18. Project aimed to build capacities in the field of working with youth by equipping specialists in partner countries with needed knowledge, skills, and attitudes to prevent violence among and towards children and youth. This will be done through a Youth Group methodology developed by MARTA Center. During the project period of 18 months a group of specialists received a training and implemented Youth Group methodology as a tool for violence prevention among youth in Baltic states: Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. 25 specialists went through an online training program, becoming youth group leaders and implemented methodology in local communities of partner countries.

"First of all I had a chance to become acquainted with present day's problems in general, regarding youth communication or other issues. Previously I had so little knowledges where look for the needed information. Also the structure (plan) in the methodology is very useful. All these materials and sources hand over me more confidence in who I'm and what I'm doing." Youth worker, Lithuania

During the project time there were 17 youth groups organized across 3 Baltic states, involving more than 130 youngsters.
Youth Group methodology was piloted and adapted according to the feedback received from participants to make sure that it met the needs of national and local contexts. To ensure long-term impact, each youth group organized 1 local activity (9 in total) directly involving at least 15 people locally (135 people in total) with the aim to raise awareness on topics important for youth regarding healthy relationships and violence prevention.

"By participating in this project, I gained a broader understanding of the topics that young people face every day. In the past, it seemed to me that gender inequality was a somewhat normal thing to have been and will be, but the project taught that it should not be and it is time to change it. Getting to know new people – their thoughts and points of view was the key moment form me in these days [of Youth Forum]" Paula (18) participant from Latvia

In the projects final stage 2 day long Youth Forum, hosted by Women’s Issues Information Center, was organized in Vilnius, in European Institute for Gender Equality. During these two days youth group delegations from Baltic states met together with more than 40 local and international stakeholders, youth workers and other professionals to share Youth Group methodology approach, results, and acknowledgements with a wider audience.

"Really well spent two days. We met a lot of teens who care about the same thing- gender equality. Everyone was welcoming and everything was thought through- engaging and fun activities, great food, getting to see a bit of Vilnius. Felt proud of myself and others for speaking in front of a public, expressing our opinion and being brave. I found a passion for a thing I never thought I would’ve. Really hoping to participate in more of these." Estere (18) participant from Latvia

Youth Forum united 26 youngsters and 10 group leaders from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, who spent two days getting to know each other, building friendships and sharing experiences gained in their Youth group activities and sessions, discussing problems and challenges related to gender inequality in their communities.

"We were at a youth forum Dare2Care Baltics. It was a great experience and if anyone else ever gets an opportunity like this they should definitely use it. We spent two days communicating and sharing with people from youth groups around the Baltic states. We also got to enjoy food, participate and lead activities, go on an orientation around Vilnius and stay at a hotel which was a whole new experience. If we had a chance, we would definitely do it again!" Liva (14) and Linda (15), participants from Latvia

Youth Group methodology is cycle of guided workshops where young people can come together, discuss and engage in non-formal education activities that cover range of topics starting from friendship, respectful communication, sexual-reproductive health to bystander effect, unhealthy relationships, risks, causes and consequences of human tracking, pornography, and interpersonal violence.

Video: Youth group methodology within "Dare to Care Baltics"