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Youth Exchange 'Renewable Energy and Waste Management'

When: 25th of July - 1st of August 2011

Where: Portugal, Porto

Who: Organização para a Promoção dos Ecoclubes (OPE) with the support of YEE

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Project description

OPE hosted in Porto, 26 participants from 5 different partner countries (Portugal, Armenia, Czech Republic, Spain and Macedonia) during 8 days - from 25th July until August 1st - for an international exchange focused on the topics of environment and active participation of young people, with the support of an EU grant.

In 8 days, 26 participants from 2 neighboring (Macedonia and Armenia) and 3 EU countries (Czech Republic, Spain and Portugal), worked for the development of an active youth leadership, in the environmental field and promoted the intercultural sharing of experiences among European youth volunteers, training them in leadership, project development, renewable energy and waste recovery practical skills, environmental awareness national campaigns, human and nature resources rights. This activity was an important opportunity to share and compare the participants' and partner organization's views about youth participation under the scope of environment protection and sustainability. It was also a way to obtain a further replication and impact of the experiences in YEE network.

Young people's motivation and initiative not always have influence on the decisions and actions taken by the civil society, either at local, national or international level. The partners involved in this project came from geographical different areas of Europe but the common ground was that participation is the key element in the definition of youth citizenship and that an international exchange dedicated to the exploration of such topics can concretely support and encourage youth active involvement in the local communities.


The Youth Exchange supported young people involved as leaders in YEE member organisations and developed their skills as trainers so that they can prepare, run, facilitate and evaluate training activities with an international and intercultural dimension. The aim of this YE was to introduce to the participants the activities, behaviours and techniques that can help with effective team building and communication.

Opinions from participants

"Well, let's get down straight to business. The Youth Exchange in Portugal was awesome. Portugal itself was awesome.
The main theme of the exchange was "Renewable energy and waste management", that's why we started our activities with exploring and using renewable energy such as solar energy, and only then went ahead to waste management via raft-building. Learning how to use solar energy in everyday life was useful indeed, and I am pretty sure that we can build solar ovens here in Armenia."

"Once we finished solar ovens we started building our rafts. And exactly here we started our youth exchange, because during this activity we were divided into international groups with participants from each country in each group. This made the raft-building very light and happy activity as we were doing our best to communicate and co-operate with our peers from other countries. I did like the raft-building because there I made nice friends. Energizers were very entertaining and team leaders did their best to make them funnier.
But the most delightful part of the exchange was the cultural exchange. I enjoyed each cultural night of every nation present there (Portuguese, Spanish, Czechs, and Macedonians). It was really interesting to somehow touch the culture of each country. And our cultural night?! That was great and really memorable. We sang and danced, represented our country and some of our dishes. By the way all the guys remembered our song and we were singing it during the rafting down the river. And they all remembered our dance as we danced it during our dinner night in Porto right on the street."

"Overall, the exchange was well-organized, the organizers were such nice people (in my opinion all the Portuguese were nice people), the exchange was very interesting, and all the people present there from 5 different countries reached their goals of cultural and youth exchange. I am truly glad that I took part in such an event and I would definitely take part in another one, and another, and so on."

"The program embraced all the basic things for cultural exchange. First of all, it provided equality among participants. One could never feel privileged of something during the program. Everyone was attentively listened to and, if needed, provided with necessary things. The project also was good organized in the sense that it provided us with specialists we need and items we need. Personally, this project gives me a lot in the framework of new practice in many things - communications, self-confidence, tolerance, etc. I learnt a lot of things not only about Portuguese culture, but also about cultures of other participants during the cultural nights and during our personal discussions. It was particularly interesting to find out things you didn't know or didn't have a proper imagination of them."

"As far as the program included much more practical aspects than theoretical, (almost 90 % of the program was based on practical stuff) the skills I got from it were also practical. Firstly, I learnt how to make solar ovens and how to prepare food in them. It was quite interesting to know that Portuguese people use solar ovens very often in their daily life. Then, we were told how to make rafts from waste. Although, the raft building included some physical work, but as far as we were working with a group, we were able to build a stable raft. The process of rafting was itself very interesting and joyful. The camping was also a new experience for me. In general, I can confidently say that the program was very helpful for me, firstly because the things I did were totally new for me and because it was good organized. I deeply hope that I will use the information on waste management with its practical side in the future.

Here is a short video about the youth exchange in Portugal:

Participating organisations

Financial support

The project was supported by the 'Youth in Action' Programme of the European Commission.

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Youth Exchange 'Renewable Energy and Waste Management'