Strategic project. Reinforced and upgraded youth group methodology on building healthy relationships (Re-GROUP) is a 22-month KA2 project funded by the Erasmus + program that focuses on the use of the Youth Group methodology, developed by the MARTA Center in Latvia.
In 2010, MARTA Centre started a prevention program – Youth Group methodology. It was created through years of piloting by young people for young people (ages 12-18) who are building their adult selves so this transition can be as free, healthy and empowering as possible. The methodology has proved itself to be a meaningful educational tool in the context of Latvia. ReGROUP will cover the need for bigger and broader research on the topic. Equally important is testing, evaluating and ratifying this methodology internationally.
When children move into early adolescence, they begin to take on new gender roles, often reinforcing socially and culturally conventional gender norms related to being women or men. These roles have an impact on the decisions that people in early adolescence make in relation to sexual and interpersonal relationships, which can affect their health and wellbeing throughout the rest of their lives. Gender norms and beliefs have significant implications for both girls and boys in terms of child marriage, early school leaving, pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infection risk, violence exposure, depression, physical violence, substance abuse and suicide. Such differences are socially, not biologically determined. Mental health issues need to be addressed as part of adolescent well-being and in order to ensure health throughout people’s lives, it is crucial that countries address gender inequality, violence and healthy relationships in early adolescence.
To answer these identified needs, through the adaptation and piloting of the Youth Group Methodology (YGM), developed by MARTA Center, as well as through qualitative and quantitative research in the field of youth well-being and violence, the project Re-GROUP has set as objectives to:
– To reduce risk factors for youth (ages 12-18) to become a victim or a perpetrator of violence.
– To build capacities in the field of youth work by adding to relevant research and adapting a culturally specific methodology thus prevent violence toward and among youth.
– To expand the size and impact of youth violence-preventing actors through training, popularization and multiplication of the methodology.
– To create data-backed policy recommendations for each reality, through broad consultation and co-operation with many local actors.
– To contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals #4, #5 and #16, through further local activities and international cooperation within and after this project
The project, comprised of four project partners from EU countries (Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania and Spain) during its 22 months of implementation will engage youth workers, educators, young people, decision- and policy makers in the project countries and the EU.
This will be done through the following activities:
– Adapting and piloting the YGM in several communities in each partner country;
– Conducting two international youth worker trainings, which will improve competences and support research efforts for the project;
– National youth worker workshops in every country, with which to engage an even bigger number of youth workers and educators with the YGM;
– Conductive an extensive qualitative and quantitative research on the well-being and violence in youth in the partner countries;
– Creating Policy Recommendations together with a wide network of actors in the field of youth, with which to address the policy framework, as it relates to youth and their well-being (including violence prevention);
– Promote the topic and the project results across youth and youth workers’ communities across Europe (via 4 National Multiplier events, an International conference and many informal meetings with stakeholders, as well as with a broad online campaign).