Innovative Educational Solutions' Laboratory
Innovative Educational Solutions' Laboratory
INESOLAB is an NGO, which was created almost 20 years ago, and back then was called National Pool of Trainers. Its main goal was to promote non-formal education in Armenia and boost the capacities of educators to run educational projects in that methodological system.
A few years ago, the members of the organization and its board decided to enlarge the scope of its goals and objectives, as it became clear that the formal and non-formal fields have to come together, and we should be working towards the education in general, lifelong and life-wide learning, new paradigm for new age education, quality assurance, a toolbox for modern education, mixing the opportunities provided by the two in terms of knowledge, outreach, methods, understanding, interventions, field professionals. So the organisation became INESOLAB – a place where various educational solutions are created through intergeneration, intersectional and inter-stakeholder meetups, are tested, applied, discussed and supported by methodological tools.
We are working a lot with young adults and see there the biggest potential for a transformation and positive change. Our big focus is on personal development, essential skills, holistic human development, and competences to navigate in changing times and environments. This needs a bouquets of several competences and of course clear support path. We would like to have morally, potentially, mentally healthy, resilient, very prepared for autonomous life, thinking, reflecting, developing, valuing growth young people.
The problem we are trying to solve:
"We will be working in Gyumri if we are successful with this application. It is a city which we like with all our heart. It is called the cultural capital of Armenia. It has amazing and talented people living and working in it. It has very dedicated and active young people and adolescents, who love their city and would like to live, love, create and thrive in it. Gyumri is a city which was devasted by the earthquake in 1988 and you can still sense the presence of this horrible tragedy in every corner and in every family. But the city and its people are working hard to develop the city and make it a better place.
The city has a huge human resource and creative potential. Many talented artists, business and sport figures are originally from the region and the city itself. It was always the hub for creative people to thrive. We would like to strengthen that by supporting the adolescents and youngsters living in the city and giving them space for guided and supported holistic development, which can help open the potential, help self-realisation, strengthen their identity, have believe in themselves, be motivated to make a change in own and community's life, give them skills to be active, initiative-taking, happy and autonomous/self-sufficient. "
We are always saying the youth is the future, but in fact they are the present, and when there is no place where today people can develop and make use of their strength, their motivation potential, if there is safe place to try out, test things and ideas, when there is not much space to get support in own personal growth and initiatives, the inspiration and the feeling of being valued disappears. Teens and youth need to be taken seriously and need to be given opportunities to develop their various aspects of personality to take their role in the society. There are not may places, spaces, programmes in Gyumri where adolescents and youth can learn and develop their various skills, such as communication, self-confidence, problem solving, creativity, vision for future, career orientation and navigation. The problem is that usually there is a big focus on knowledge in schools and universities, but this is only one small part of our being and there is a need to also develop emotionally, develop social competences, abilities to build relationships, orient in them, learn to make choices and decisions, to navigate the field of opportunities in various aspects of life. As these spaces do not exist, the teenagers and young people do not access to this support and guidance, which means that in general their possibilities in terms of education and development, career and entrepreneurship, autonomous life are limited. Moreover, the interest for continuous and versatile education , mobility, opportunities is limited, this also limits the outlook, the believe in future, the confidence and ownership of own life, and much more.
The solution we are proposing:
The programme will have all the necessary space, professionals, programme, interventions, to make sure the learning and development takes place, that the theoretical approaches are supported and strengthened by project-based learning opportunities.
There will be a safe space, supported process of personal development, which will also touch important aspects of growing up, such as choosing educational path, career, etc. The programme and methods of work will use a lot of non-formal methods, interactive, youth centered, adapted tools to educate and give the competences and skills to prepare for autonomous, conscious transitions in life and application of their talent. For teenagers and young adults this kind of soft guidance is one of the best ways to educate.
"We would like to develop a programme for the adolescents, youth, that can help them develop needed skills and competences for smooth and supported transitions in life. Supported by professional youth workers, who often act as mentors and life coaches as well, it can become possible to make the transitions from childhood to adolescence, from adolescence to youth, from youth to autonomy, to move from school to university and adult life.
The methodology of the work is based on the holistic youth development approach, that touches various aspects of a person’s identity and life for teens and youngsters. The programme will have several thematic/learning outcome pillars, which will be implemented through a mixed set of workshops running throughout the year:
- Personal development and growth
- Essential skills and competences development
- Transition to autonomy
- Civic mindedness, participation and community service
- Career navigation and orientation
- Creativity and artistic expression
We know well all its potential and limitation, but especially in his post-war, pandemic times, this kind of involved support to people is essential. We would also like the programme to include facilitation of a community action, which can be a central theme, bringing everyone together.
The programme will include meetings, masterclasses, workshops, mentoring and coaching individual sessions, planning and implementing a city/community action.
There is a youth and training center in Gyumri run by KASA Foundation, that is open for children, teens and youth. We would like to offer our educational programme to these youngsters, and provide them with a holistic, versatile developmental programme."
What success looks like for us:
We would know that we are succeeding and have good results, if we see that many teens are coming to the programme and learning something, that the parents feel supported in their drive to help the kids move to a new level, becoming resilient, more self-conscious, that many teenagers are interested to do something together as volunteers, if many young people and teenagers become more self-confident, able to see and use possibilities, believe in their future in the city, be ready to engage as volunteers in the projects, if they learn to communicate better, learn to make aims and go towards them, if they can learn to better orient in their future plans. The fact that they will come to the trainings/workshops, will also be motivating them to act and do something useful for others.
Where we are are based:
Funding we are applying for:
$14,000 - $15,000 per year
How this funding will help us achieve our goals:
The funding we are requesting will make it possible to propose the interesting non-formal educational programme touching and supporting a very important learning path for the participants. They will develop, through interaction with involved grownups, and very importantly, when doing a joint, planned and run by them community action. This will put their theoretical knowledge, results of self-exploration. Self-confidence development into a practical tangible outcome. Through this task/project-based learning they will boost their competences.
How this funding will strengthen our group:
For us the continuous development is an important value. We have always been very active in the field, working on several levels and now it is also time to focus also on adolescents more. For us running this programme and coordinating it will help develop our expertise in working with teenagers, develop very practical skills, widen our network, and community orientation work. The developed curricula can be tested and later provided to other groups as a model of work in these settings.
How we gain by being a Spark Fund partner:
First of all the networking opportunities provided will strengthen the links with similar projects, other young people and youth groups, organizations, and for idea and experience exchange, which is important when finding new ways of intervention and methods, and surely speaking up jointly for advocacy on youth related issues. Secondly, support of the Fund can be very useful both for us in putting in place some internal policies and guidelines, procedures needed to run programme in a more quality and safe way, such as child protection, non-discrimination related procedures.
How we would like to spend a grant through the Spark Fund:
The finding received will cover the activity costs itself (experts/facilitators fees; materials) and fund small community actions as a part of the practice and project-based learning. We will also use the grant on renting spaces in the youth center and will cover a fee for one person managing the programme. In the budget the lines are explained in more details. We anticipate that around 200 teens and youngsters will benefit from our activities each year.
Our Annual Income:
Around 58000 Euros
Our Organization Structure:
We are a registered NGO, which is run by the General Assembly, where most important decisions are made. Between the assemblies the elected board makes the decisions as of our statute.
The board is elected by the general assembly, within the board the decisions are discussed and if consensual decision is not possible, the voting takes place, where each member, also the president have their one voice.
We are a youth -focused organisation, where most of our programmes are run for , with and often by youth under 30 as well. For us planning anything for youth cannot be without youth, so in our project leaders we have youth under 30, who are fully a part of our planning, as they are the ones who feel the direct effects of educational system problems.