WE AfriHug 2019 – East Africa officially began on the 18th of February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and finished successfully the implementation phase on the 4th of April in Kampala, Uganda. The project successfully conducted 3 training seminars for Civil Society Organizations training 122 youth workers and grassroots practitioners from 50+ organizations and 3 training seminars for Higher Education Institutions training 615 board members, academic staff and students.

Kicking off the project in East Africa, the project team comprised of Konstantinos MaragkosLina Mkoji and Marilena Maragkou met with Ethiopian co-organisers from Youth To Youth and the Inspired Ethiopian Youth Association (IEYA), two youth NGOs based in Addis Ababa, to formally introduce themselves and to finalise details of the 5-day training seminar.

The training seminar, held at the Lancha area in Addis Ababa, attracted 42 participants. In line with the project objectives, the 5-day (20-24 February) seminar included an introduction about Erasmus+ programmes for students and youth workers under KA1 and KA2 respectively. The enthusiastic participants also got first-hand information from Project Management expert, Marilena, about the use of Erasmus+ platforms such as ECAS and the Distance Calculator in order to get familiarised with them. What’s more, they were taken through the four stages of project management and introduced to tools such as SWOT analysis, the Canva Business Model and NAOMIE. Emphasis was put on the choice of partners as well as the relevance, quality and sustainability criteria of projects. Soft skills such as time management, pitching, communication and presentation skills were also highlighted using various activities throughout the training.

To practically use the knowledge imparted during the training, the participants were divided into groups for project simulation. On the last day, each team pitched their project and received useful feedback from the WE AfriHug project team. Moreover, the participants were treated to a taste of the “Live Library” where Konstantinos and Lina shared their experiences in an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree programme. To mark the end of the training, participants were asked to reflect on their most important take-aways and awarded with certificates.

Dissemination video for Ethiopia.

Uganda, warmly welcomed the project team on its soil on the 26th of February. Different from Ethiopia, this time, the agenda included Higher Education Institutions. During the first days of March, the project team had a set of meetings with university officials at the Kyambogo University and at the Kampala International University (KIU), both based in Kampala, to formally introduce themselves and to finalize details of the training seminars in the institutions.

The first training seminar began at the Kyambogo University on the 4th-5th of March attracting 20 board members and academic staff and appr. 100 students. At KIU, there was an impressive turnout of 75 board members and academic staff and appr. 310 students for the seminars held on 11th -13th of March. The last HEI training took place at Busitema University, Tororo in Eastern Uganda on 1st – 3rd April. The first day, the training attracted 15 board members and academic staff and 100 students for the last two days. Separately, the two groups of participants were introduced to Erasmus+ programmes relevant to them under KA1 and given information about how to get involved. For the academic staff sessions, the team focused on sharing information about several partnership opportunities with European Universities while for the students’ sessions, the team concentrated on the Erasmus Mundus scholarship opportunities.

The second set of trainings in Uganda was targeted at youth workers from different CSOs within Kampala area. The first training targeted 40 youth workers from about 10 organizations and took place at Kyambogo University. Thanks to the great collaboration with Vijana Kwa Afrika, Afrinype Uganda and Afrika Youth Movement Ugandan Hub, WE AfriHug project was able to train and build the capacity for youth workers and their organizations. At the end of the theoretical training, participants were divided into groups based on their interests and line of work for project simulation. On the last day, each group presented its project and received useful feedback from the WE AfriHug project team. To mark the end of the training, participants reflected on what they learnt during the training and were awarded with certificates in a colorful outdoor ceremony.

The second training was a collaboration with MenEngage Uganda and took place at Uganda national museum. Both trainings were particularly special as they included participants from various interest groups including youth and children; single women and orphaned children; people with disabilities, social and health workers from different fields; and policy makers. The agenda for the CSOs included: Project Management; introduction to Erasmus+ and its platforms such as ECAS and the Distance Calculator; networking and “getting to know each other” activities; crowd-funding; Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees and break-out sessions for skills such as budgeting, pitching and communication.