MMH MEET ME HALF WAY

 

 

“Meet me halfway: diverse couples- the art of thinking independently together 
Encontrémonos a medio camino: parejas diversas – el arte de pensar de forma independiente juntos” 
(2018-1-PL01-KA204-051111)

PROJECT DETAILS

Our program is dedicated to adults of different origins (multicultural environment), who will improve their soft skills competencies (including also inter-cultural knowledge), increase their quality of life, decrease the risk of exclusion or breaking up their relationship, learn and acquire skills of building diverse family as a social unit.

 

The project is addressed to culturally and ethnically diverse couples and marriages. We plan to create a development program for culturally mixed couples, which will support them in their interpersonal and cross-cultural relations. What’s more – we’d like them to to be both beneficences, but also co-founders of the project. It would help take under consideration and cover all or majority of their needs in terms of knowledge and new skills.

We aim to develop the common language beyond boundaries and to build good mixed couples practices to be used and shared among people who already are facing cultural differences or want to step into such patterned relationship. Going further in this line of thinking, it’s important to us to take under consideration possibility of mixed couple marriages (present or future) and parenthood. Our beneficent is also a family as a social unit and also third or double culture children themselves. We’d like to include couples with low skills abilities as well.

In our project, we want to focus on interpersonal relations in multicultural context between partners with different cultural backgrounds. We want to put everyday cross-cultural issues to a workshop environment. We aim to practice cross-cultural dialogue by using Non Violent Communication methodology, mediation methodology, training and coaching skills and intercultural knowledge and research.

Studies of mixed families indicates that they work out their own strategies of protecting the marriage stability in terms of negative influence of cultural differences. They use different ways of dealing with the situation of multiculturalism: from total abandonment of one of the cultures, by incorporating elements of both cultures in a coherent and way to the conscious selection of specific cultural components. Each of these paths indicates compromise or exclusion of some part. We want to show there is the other – 3d way of acting in mixed couples.

 

Our aim is to bring into life new innovative approach and specific product / guide based on: each partners’ experience and knowledge in diversity and inter-cultural topic, experience and knowledge on specific methodology implemented before in coping with diversity / interculturalism (as NVC / mediation in Poland), needs and alive problems of engaged into creating process beneficiaries, appeared during careful and need based consultancies, recruitment process and their participation in development training.

The main result of the project is innovative self-developmental program for culturally mixed couples, which supports them in their interpersonal and cross-cultural relations. The program is designed by social care, psychological health and self-development specialists coming from 3 countries, through self-developmental activities taking place parallel in those countries. It will be created with useful Non Violent Communication methodology, mediation methodology, training and coaching skills and intercultural knowledge and research.The program is a result of cross-cultural dialogue in practice. During 9 months self-development group for mixed couples, taking place in Warsaw, we are going to collect all the needs of mixed couples and on its basis, the self-development tools are going to be invented. Approximately 12 representatives of mixed couples will take part in a 9-month self-development group. Approximately 16 trainers, coaches and social workers from 3 countries will work on the development of the self-development program for mixed couples. Approximately 40 people will take part in a dissemination conference. The program will be published in a form of practical guide for free download and promoted through social media.

 

During the project there is a cycle of intercultural interpersonal 1-to-1 consultancies and workshops, after which participants are:

– Naming their scope of interest in terms of project (needs based program)

– Aware of culture influence on their personal life and choices, wellbeing and family development

– Knows methods and developing the strategies of dealing with stress factors

– Decrease the anxiety level and know how to manage the emotions and loss (self empathy tools → also to give them the tools for working with their kids in future)

– Get knowing practical useful tools in international communication factors (NVC, mediation, intercultural coaching tools, stress management, mindfulness training, empathy maps tool)

– Learn how to raise kids within intercultural boundaries and building trust and communication

– Empowered in their parenting skills with appropriate solutions (for pairs who plan kids)

– Raising the self trust and self confidence in this particular relationship

 

After the project completion – results are:

– Interactive and online practical guide including:

– areas of intercultural / mixed pairs scope of interest – based on needs analyse / empathy maps worked out during our workshops

– test of mentioned above areas (language of communication, place to live, how to grow up children, etc), to be fulfilled by couples / future parents – How to communicate efficiently in mixed couple? Difficult conversations – how to deal with them?

– intercultural knowledge and tools used during consultation and workshops

– educational / inspiration video recordings – prepared by ourselves and/or available on creative commons

– podcasts and audio recordings as above

This is a common work of 3 (or 4)  partnership countries and organizations on similar / preferable equal bases and input. What we want to achieve is Mixed couples GPS (Guideline) to be shared in between partners countries, organizations and multicultural societies. As an adit value, we consider strengthening cooperation and networking between organizations, Implementation and dissemination of innovative commonly worked out practices, promotion and the recognition and validation of knowledge, skills, and competences, supporting  and training in terms of equity, diversity, and inclusion in intercultural environments and diverse pairs.

1. HORIZONTAL – Development of relevant and high skills and competences
Our program is dedicated to adults of different origins (multicultural environment), pairs and marriages, also low skilled and low qualified adults, who will improve their soft skills competencies (including inter-cultural knowledge), increase their quality of life, decrease the risk of exclusion or breaking up their relationship, learn and acquire skills of building diverse family as a social unit, empower them to deal with every day challenges being a part of diverse society and also raising children facing their own difficulties growing in a diverse family. Atalaya and our partnership organizations have variety of accessible and suitable for this project methods we want to share, exchange, improve and implement both in a testing phase (working in a pilot meetings with cross cultural pairs), then preparing a unique cross cultural pairs Guide (Intelectual Output), finally disseminating the results in cross cultural environment, societies and all directly and indirectly related circles.

2. HORIZONTAL – Social Inclusion
Mixed couples from Poland, Italy and Spain face barriers that forbid them to participate properly in their daily lives, taking
into account that are victims of stereotypes based on race, cultural marginalization, religion radicalization, economical and social status, etc. For this reason, we plan the following activities:
-During the needs based phase, the members of our strategic partnership will identify the main participants’ exclusion factors.
-The factors will be presented to the mixed couples during the group meetings and workshops testing different supportive methods contributed by each partnership organization.
-The participants will discuss the factors and will find solutions to confront them, increasing their awareness, self esteem and supportive psychological and soft skill strategies.
Our program will cover their needs and will bridge the gap between their obstacles and opportunities improving the terms on which they take part in society and enhancing social psychological development and will have the following main results:
– Have more visibility in a mixed pair
– Identify their personal and social difficulties
– Have tools to integrate into exclusion situations
– Understand other culture entity, also their children coping with same / similar obstacles
– Have tools to support other disadvantaged groups (by gender, culture, age, disability, etc.)
– Develop of social, civil, intercultural competences

3. ADULT EDUCATION – Extending and developing educators’ competences
Adults with whom we work, can often experience learning challenges due to the the mistreatment that they have been exposed to throughout their lives. This mistreatment comes from different types of social oppression (racism, economic background, belonging to an ethnic minority, etc.), academic or working difficulties. As adult trainers, we need to be aware of and have a deep understanding of the origins of the conflicts and we also need team-work tools in order to work together with our learners on these causes. For example, understanding how emotional discharges work is one of our main needs. The participating organizations witness, daily, when working with low-skilled adults, the basic need to relieve emotional tensions, continuously. Situations where anger, frustration, violence or other negative expressions appear, are very common, making effective teaching on any topic or skill enormously difficult. Other important field of interest is gaining, improving and developing cross cultural competences. It will help us to have more tools to stop conflict situations, to achieve greater security in our work environments and greater integration of the disadvantaged groups with whom we work.

Each partner has examined available materials, statistics and data regarding national and EU level activities dedicated to specific target group we want to access in this project. Please find attached file with detailed description and segmentation of target group audience per country (Attachment nr 1). As we couldn’t find relevant information and we want to engage participants from the very beginning, we decided to do preliminary needs analysis among target audiences. Atalaya team prepared a special open question survey (31 questions) we translated into English and delivered also to our partners. We reached and interviewed 8 culturally diverse couples in Poland (16 people), 23 representatives in Spain (21 from heterosexual couples and 2 from homosexual couples; regarding the civil status,16 correspond to marriages while 7 were from other type of couples). Italian partner had a recent research as they worked on similar issues in their project and could deliver data and needs analyses based on their previous experience.
According to our research (both Atalaya’s and our partners) and qualitative survey based on interviewing mixed couples, it appears, that they are facing problems such as cultural identity (the abandonment of traditions, religion, studies), communication problems (ignorance of their couple’s language, differences in the tone/volume of voice, use of bad language, sense of humor), emotional instability, parental and tradition or values direction (attitude to work, failure, family, raising kids, religion, sense of duty, time management, corruption, competitevness), influence of the partner’s family, division of family roles, financial approach, educational system, dealing with death, emotional support), exclusion (due to racism, classism, sexism, bureaucracy). This couples are extended to high risk of divorce or failure. Statistics say that the number of divorces in mixed compounds is higher than in monocultural ones. This fact means that they are more risky compounds. In extreme cases, they also face radicalization problems (in religious context among family members), harassment and even violence. This data concern mainly Italy.
Within our project we’d like to access and influence all individuals, couples and social groups, which might feel somehow excluded because of their background culture or origins and needs support in terms of living in culturally diverse couple and/or family. What, according to all presented data, affects the forming of healthy and stable cross cultural relationship or marriage. In our work, we’d try to access following groups of target audiences: expats, foreign students, earning / working migrants, formal immigrants, employees of the mobile labor market, low skilled or low qualified people discriminated because of their country of origin (family, labour market, society), pairs / marriage couples raising second or third culture kids or planning to enlarge families.
We would access the target audiences personally (our team member lives in cross cultural marriage and has contact with multinational society in each of partnership countries); through our work activities (we collaborate with institutions dealing with intercultural topics and international business organisations, we have access to multicultural environments on every day basis);
collaborating with strategic partners involved in cross cultural issues (also described in attachment nr 1 for each partnership country).
Participants will be involved in a phase of collecting the needs / identifying the real and alive problems they are facing in every day life. They are also considered to be part of LTTA trainings, if possible, to bring own perspective and give a real input to program development. Finally, they’ll be engaged in final practical guide both with their feedbacks during testing phase of the project (workshops, group meetings, individual sessions) as a testimonials with their own real stories that could inspire other people in similar situation. Our Meet Me Halfway guide is aimed to be as practical as possible and give the possibility to support our participant, their children and families, also close environment (culturaly diverse societies and minorities) when the project ends.
For this purpose, each entity will select people who, due to commitment and experience, are prepared to communicate their
experience, while at the same time, are able to share, transfer and disseminate their new knowledge and skills.
Other group of participant are entities stuff members, both managers and adult trainers. They will take part in the program activities and put into practice new knowledge and gained skills.

Before the project kick-off meeting all partners sign a partnership agreement. This includes the terms of working together, responsibilities of each person working on the project, a draft of the project schedule, all methods of monitoring progress and methods of communication. During this meeting each organization will also make a list of the goals for their institutions including a list of key indicator which will later be used to monitor their progress as well as a list of expectations they may have (for each stage of the project). Prior to the first meeting in Poland, each organization is responsible for gathering all information, descriptions and documentation they will be presenting.
Each team is responsible for creating a 5 day LTTA program which will introduce all participants to the new method, that partner provides to the program (Cross cultural communication, NVC mediation, Gestalt counseling, Dragon Dreaming, Emotional Management – what we agree to put into a program). This should include instructional time, workshops, planned time for feedback, discussion etc.
Each country will choose 2-3 organization reps that will travel to the partnering countries. This includes selecting leading trainers and coordinators. We also consider inviting mixed couple representatives from a local country to take partially part in the meeting (Half / one day) as an option. We would also like to invite local organization stuff members to take part in LTTA trainings, especially those involved in a project matters.
Participants of the learning activities will sing an agreement with their sending organisations to settle the conditions of their participation and commitment. Participating entities will also contact their national associated partners to communicate the initiation of the project and their respective roles.
In preparation for the upcoming trip to a chosen country travel arrangements will be made (buying airline tickets, lodging reservations, organizing materials needed for the seminars and workshops). A Facebook group will also be launched in order to facilitate all necessary travel arrangements, inquiries, or answer any questions which may arise. This will also allow setting dates for subsequent trips to other countries and creating a final schedule of the entire program.
At the beginning of each international training each participant will set individual goals for themselves. The aim is to achieve these goals over the next quarter (both during the LTTA and during the later workshops).

Planning and scheduling:
These tasks will provide actual and accurate planning for the various support activities that need to be carried out. In order to ensure proper time management an outline for international visits and stages of the project has been initially created – to be discussed and finally approved by all entities during kick-off meeting in Poland. This task is specifically dedicated to the establishment of the project management plan. This plan will describe the organization of the project team, the management procedures chosen for the project, the quality procedures and schedule matrix.
Procedures referring to management and quality control will be defined by Atalaya (as project coordinator). Financial guidelines intended for all project partners will also be developed. We will make a detailed financial plan, to be used by the partners to monitor costs within their activities.

Progress and cost reporting:
These tasks will establish a clear reporting structure and process for the whole project to the European Commission and activities
within the program. Activities to be performed in this task are:
– Provide templates for the reporting instances to all concerned participants
– Maintain a document repository on-going reporting
– Submit reports and cost claims on time and in the quality required
– Create periodic reports (management, progress, financial)

Communication management and administration infrastructure:
– An Agreement will be established at the start of the project. Different procedures and tools will be implemented to perform fast and effective communication in the project. To assure a continuous chain of up-to-date communication between partners on the
project’s progress and status, we will plan and arrange project coordination meetings / telephone / Skype conferences. Management
coordination also includes setting up of the administrative and financial project management, ensuring the activities are done in
time, as well as logistic coordination, and the quality of the project results. Furthermore, the preparation, organization,
writing down summary notes and follow-up of all scheduled project meetings will be considered part of the management and coordination
activities.

Substantive documentation and implementation:
– Agree on and prepare recruitment documentation (criteria of inviting participants, including low skilled and qualified ones)
– Prepare or adapt appropriate templates for survey / participants’ interviews
– Prepare or adapt participants’ on-going feedback criteria and forms (needs based program)
– Other necessary documentation if required

The communication facilitators and coordinators of each partnering country will inform others of any potential changes to the program as well as come together during skype meeting to discuss progress.

POLAND – NVC Mediations and Cross-cultural competence
NVC Mediations – method firstly founded by Marshall Rosenberg – American psychologist, who invented Nonviolent Communication (NVC), called also ‘a language of a heart’ or ‘giraffe language’. It’s a four step model of communication focused on naming facts, emotions, needs and requests. Based on that, Ike Lasater and John Kinyon from USA, under M. Rosenberg’s mentoring, have integrated and developed a new methodology of conflict resolving process, named NVC Mediations. NVC Mediations are about listening to—and really hearing—ourselves and others. What is unique about using NVC Mediations, also in multicultural environment is:
– approach every conflict as an opportunity
– conflict leads to connection
– self connection is crucial to achieve connection with others
– understand and communicate our needs with clarity, and with empathy for the universality of those needs
– we mediate all kinds of conflicts: internal, interpersonal and external
– NVC Mediation helps navigate difficult situations
– this method is universal to work with different individuals and groups, including children
Cross-cultural competence:
CCC is a soft-skill competence, which consist of 3 parts: Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes towards other cultures.
After the development of CCC, cross-cultural couples can be strengthened and supported in such ways:
– Broaden understanding of the influence of the culture on personal, daily life
– Developed methods of cross-cultural, adequate communication
– The abilities to minimize stress in cross-cultural relationship, which is an outcome of cross-cultural clashes
– Developed knowledge about most important cross-cultural psychology theories (such concepts as the the cultural dimensions, ethnocentrism, culture shock, etc) and their practical implications on a daily life behaviours people living in cross-cultural relationships
– Deeper understanding of cross-cultural relations in a way of dealing with cultural clashes, building culturally aware relation, creating culturally responsible home

ITALY:
Gestalt Counselling – an activity in which you listen to someone asking for help. Counselling has among its priorities the attention to the body and the messages that this sends. The counselling functions are:
1) To limit a problem, to highlight it, so that user knows what he has to face and whether it is better to do it alone or with the help of someone
2) Strengthening individual awareness of problems, which is one of the main ways through which prevention works
3) Help each individual to define goals, make decisions and solve problems in relation to personal, social, educational or work difficulties.
The Gestalt counsellor helps mixed couples to formulate new points of view on their problems and their relationships, in a flexible way, through the search for the production of awareness, which guarantees greater effectiveness in terms of change and comparison of cultural differences. In the meetings, the counsellor will be able to identify the representations and the cultural resistances that create adaptive difficulties and which disrupt interpersonal relationships. The counsellor will help couples, clarifying their emotional components and acting as a facilitator of communication, so that the partners find or retrieve the effective way to get in touch and to solve moments of impasse in communication. The counsellor’s work will also aim to make sure that the partners become aware of the possibility that their insecurities due to the failure of a romantic relationship could be passed on to the children.

SPAIN:
Emotional Management- the method developed by Permacultura Cantabria during more than 14 years has proven to be efficient to prevent conflicts, release tension and reduce stress among couples, families and adults in general. It is based on two pillars: deep listening and favoring emotional discharges (crying, yawning, laughter and trembling). We have to bear in mind that everybody receives mistreatment systematically, due to the color of their skin (racism), their age (ageism), their gender (sexism), their financial capacity (classism), their physical appearance, etc. Therefore, a foreign person belonging to a minority culture will be more vulnerable of being abused than others who belong to the dominant culture groups. Emotional Management, apart from offering tools, which allow us to work on our own conditioning and the abuse received due to our identity, also aims to make visible these social oppressions, so that we can organise ourselves to stop them. Besides this, Emotional Management will allow cross cultural couples to better solve their daily conflicts between the partners and also with their children.
Dragon Dreaming – Thanks to this method we are able to design activities built upon a culture of a triple win-win-win. A win for ourselves personally, for the communities we live in and for the Earth as a whole.

The indicators that will be used will measure the quality by evaluation sheets prepared before the program starts. Evaluation sheets will be fulfilled by participants. For the local partnership measurements a partnership organization will be responsible, however evaluation tools and its implementation will be discussed and presented during first kick-off meeting. Project effects will be under on-going evaluation – every month a tel-conference is planned during which we will discuss and evaluate on-going results.

Main indicators:
– Satisfaction from interpersonal cross-cultural relations – before and after project (% or 1-10 scale),
– Practical application of our methods and tools in cross cultural couple / family / with children (% or 1-10 scale)
– Increased well-being of mixed couples / their families (% or 1-10 scale)
Our success would be achieved if half of participants move on this scale at list one point up and the other half move 2-3 points up.

– Progression of the works – number of personal meetings, Skype tel-conferences, on-going meetings among staff members plus number of mixed couples interviews, number of group meetings/workshops with our participants, number of individual consultancies, percentage of a Guide written, website work progress (descriptions, layouts, etc.),
– Result and its dissemination – number of Guide downloads (over 100), number of people potentially having a chance to read and use the Guide (impressions over 500)
– Number of people getting familiar with the project and its results – 3000 (based on access of our and partnership organizations access trough WWW, FB fan pages, collaboration with partnership organizations, etc.)

On Atalaya previous project management experiences and worked out tools, we’d give a support, use those measurement and evaluation tools. Our team members are people working on a daily basis in both Erasmus+ and local projects. The finance control will be also supported by professional bookkeeping outsourced company with grant projects experience.

Project risk management:
– ABSENCE (illness, pregnancy, other circumstances) – we have chosen other deputies that can exchange missing persons during the project implementation
– WITHDRAWAL – we’ve gone trough long lasting and detailed recruitment; Atalaya has a few contacts on a reserve list in case of the necessity of changing partners (organizations from Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Italy, Netherlands and Greece).
– PARTNERS’ NON-PERFORMANCE – we already have a half year history preparing the application form together in this partnership. It’s a low risk component. Although, we are aware it might happen. In that situation we can get partner to focus or change people from their team. Having a good monitoring, we will be able to act fast in case of this situation, get to know the reasons of non-performance and try to work it out directly with the partner. Failing to comply, implies that its budget will be shifted from the “defaulting” partner to another partner that possesses the competencies.
– NOT ACHIEVING TARGETS – Monitoring procedures will detect early any under-achieving partner and the project will encourage open and honest reporting of problems, so that the solution could be found as soon as possible.
– LOW VISIBILITY OF RESULTS – Dissemination plan and campaign will mitigate such risk, proposing specific activities and messages for target audiences. The partners will make use of their networks to promote the project.

Budget management:
– LACK OF BUDGET – Risk assessment and monitoring during the project will minimize this problem. Optimize the budget in some activities (buying travel tickets, etc.). Additionally, in case of some delays with getting another tranche, each partner is capable of bearing some costs (for example for travel) and wait for a refund.

Interpersonal and communication management:
– DELAYS – We can prioritize work and shift resources by reducing effort for non-critical tasks, even if this implies a shift of resources between partners.
– CONFLICTS – We are specialist in conflict resolving (NVC Mediations, Counseling) and in our teams we have competent experts that could mediate in conflict situations.

Participants’ management:
– RECRUITMENT PHASE and / or ABSENCE – We’ve done research and also interviewed people who would be potentially our participants. There is a high interest of participation among them. We can engage different organizations and channels to reach appropriate representatives. To decrease risk of non participation, we also consider inviting only one person from a couple to take part in the program.
– Other solution is that on each group workshop, meeting or individual consultancies, there might be a different group of people invited to avoid a risk someone lives a country or can’t take part in a whole duration of a program.
– PASSIVE PARTICIPATION – in our team, we have trainers who work on a group process, which means that one of our competence is engagement people in learning and development activities; we have an access to specific psychological tools (needs based process) to access the participants’ needs and involve them into scheduled activities. Additional option might be a reserve list of participants in case we face an unsolvable problem (psychiatric disease, taking medicines or others that are contraindications to take part in workshops/ group meetings).

The purpose of the IO is a practical guideline for cross-cultural couples – the unique on-line publication in form of interactive PDF file (exercises, QR codes, links to additional materials and testimonial video) bringing new quality of tools, methods, know-how and inspirations how to deal with intercultural issues both for mixed couples, families, present or future parents. It will be accessible on the Atalaya Foundation sub-website.
In this Guide we are answering the needs that are not covered by up to date governmental, European or other programs in local, national or transnational meaning. Upon to our research (Poland, Italy, Spain and EU) and initial interviews (qualitative personal interviews with almost 40 people in Poland and Spain), we found out that mixed couples are facing a lot of communication, inter o intra-personal and social problems. We want to support and give them practical tools in answering their needs in context of multicultural environment they are belonging to: better understanding each other, improving their relationship, empowering themselves dealing with social exclusion or marginalization, raising children together, dealing with family roles and contacts, building a strong and healthy social unit – cross cultural family. In terms of including participants to our program from the very beginning, we’d like to examine them further on collecting more information about real needs and desires among mixed pairs, also in parental roles or being excluded. We would also work on IO in common dialogue – by inviting them to get familiar with and test the methods delivered by each partner, learn them and test them in natural environment and also come back with the feedback. We would have pilot training sessions (workshops, group meetings) and individual consultations.
What is innovative in working on IO is both the new approach, collecting different methods and culturally diverse European countries experiences and including experience with different social groups. Innovative is also the form in which the result will be available – on-line interactive publication to be downloaded for free, containing self assessments tools, testimonials, materials and knowledge.
An overall concept for the guide is to make it as much practical as possible. It will remain on-line guide containing the way of communication adjustable and applicable for vast numbers of people on local, country, regional, European and worldwide level and both for different cultures as well social groups (eg. Millenials). There are several rules to follow in cross cultural communication, as open minded approach, ability to adjust, emotional intelligence and empathy competences. That’s why this guide and given tools might suite different people and nations. We are planning to implement Guide to future educational activities, both in Atalaya and our partnership organizations. It would bring continuity and dissemination effects further on, even when the project ends.
Our Guide will count approximately 150 pages divided into proposed chapters. It would be prepared in a form of on-line interactive PDF, readable also on mobile devices. We plan to use QR active codes and additional links (with useful links, materials, additional attachments as a added value – those also would be attractive additional dissemination activities as well).
Meet Me Halfway Guide (idea for IO index / chapters) – we plan to cover following topics:
1. Introductory
– why did we decide to touch on this topic?
– for whom is it dedicated?
– how can You use it?
2. Definitions
– Diversity
– Inclusion
– Cross-cultural partnership
– Cultural shock
– Third culture kids (TCK)
– Culture dimensions
– Cross-culture communication
3. Problems and needs in mixed couples
– name all that appeared and collected in Poland, Italy and Spain, based on initial research and interviews
– additional data gathered after the project approval
4. Methods descriptions and practical application
– NVC mediations
– Cross cultural competence and communication
– Gestalt Counseling
– Emotional Management
– Dragon Dreaming
5. Active methods – examples of specific interactive exercises / practice that could be done by the readers themselves:
– ADULTS and CHILDREN activities, like:
– train Your cultural sensitivity
– get to know Your partner’s culture better
– active listening
– self connection
– self empathy
– giving empathy
– mediate Your conflict
– 3 chairs model of resolving conflict
– children’s supporting methods of work
– family engaging crosscultural games
– others
6.Testimonials / cases descriptions / if possible video interviews
– describing real authorized stories based on individual interviews
7. Parenting and raising children in cross-cultural partnerships
– third culture kids – TCK
– bilingual challenges
– educational challenges
8. Summary
9. Bibliography
10. Where to find further help
– helpful links, publications, resources
– Strategic partnership organizations

 

 

DIVISION OF WORK

 

The writing of the Guide will be collaborative. The index of the publication and the basic
content of the chapters were agreed during the preparation phase. The participating
organisations could suggest modifications of the proposed chapters, as well as add other
chapters, if needed, once the writing has started. All the information will be put together
through online platforms, such as google drive. The communication between the
participating organisations will be fluid and periodic. At least one follow-up teleconference,
among the three contact persons of the participating entities will be set up every two weeks.
In addition, a periodic evaluation will be carried out to monitor the evolution of the indicators
proposed for each task (writing, layout, translation, publication and dissemination).
Each partner is responsible to accurately describe and provide all required materials and descriptions of a method, being the expert in – Poland (Cross-cultural competence and NVC mediations, Spain – Dragon Dreaming and emotional intelligence, Italy – Gestalt Counseling).
The methods will be practically used during sessions, workshops and consultancies for participant to get their feedback and adjust them into a practical and most relevant way for cross cultural Guide for mixed couples.
Once the Guide has been fully written, the Atalaya will carry out a final revision of its contents. After verifying that the content is right, Submeet will be in charge of the layout and graphic design. Each organisation will translate the Guide into our respective languages. The layout of the fourth languages’ versions will be prepared by Submeet.

IO – ideas to test the methods and Guide ideas with target audience / engaging and involving them to participate in co-creating final result:
♣ Ideas for exploring and testing methods with target group
♣ Individual consultations re cross-cultural issues and empathy communication (NVC, mediations competencies) in terms of: needs analysis for the (IO) Meet Me Halfway Guide; collecting cases to be described in IO (authorised testimonials); support them / coach them with everyday challenges and cross-cultural knowledge
♣ After each set of consultations, the next part / chapter will be described for IO (Guideline)
♣ 2-3 days group workshop meetings in Warsaw’s neighbourhood in terms of testing methods / pilot chapters within target groups. Two or three workshops depending on frequency to be scheduled. The goal of this meetings is to find out more about issues our participants are facing in everyday life being and living in cross cultural relationships / families; to give them appropriate support in field of cross-cultural and NVC communication; develop their interpersonal communication skills by teaching them NVC meadiations; collect feedback and materials for IO – Meet Me Halfway Guideline book; allow them experience and draw benefits from common support group and share during these meetings and in future.
♣ After each group workshop, the next part / chapter will be described for IO (Guideline)

The possibility to interchange of active methods of adult education (5 different methods to bring new value). We will use methods and experience of different countries, different culture approach and different styles of working in multi national environment. The three partners will create a Guide that will be an international useful tool for the development of sustainable projects in any part of the world. We have different backgrounds – psychological, social and supporting groups or individuals. We will discuss European identity among trainers from different countries in context of mixed couples. The crucial value is the new quality over the borders and boundaries that we create literally and figuratively.
The objective of the participatory trainings as learning activities included in the project is to have the opportunity to observe a series of good practices from all of the members of the strategic partnership in order to be able to replicate them and foster the cross cultural competence and emotional capacity of mixed pairs representatives, reducing the risk of exclusion. The aim is to promote a sense of European identity in the participant and a link between the different entities and the establishment of new partnerships in the future.

 

C1.Poland

This multicultural project is based on a wide set of our experiences and methodologies which are used by us and our partners on a daily basis. During the LTTAs each country will present its methodology and on-going experiences working with participants. Above all, these trainings might also include sessions with target group reps. It will allow to include the participants’ perspective and answer their real needs and problems. As the trainings and working on the final result (the Guide) would be staggered, all the presented methods and the best practices would be included both while working live with beneficiaries and to the guidebook for mixed couples.
POLAND: Cross-Cultural Competence, NVC Mediations
SPAIN: Dragon Dreaming, Emotional Management
ITALY: Gestalt Counseling

The participants would be 2 people from each partner organization plus 3 people from Atalaya (7 in total).

Brief description of a LTTA activity:
The LTTA will take place in a specially selected place nearby Warsaw to make appropriate conditions for sessions and learning activities. It will last for 5 days, from Monday to Friday.
We will provide both knowledge input as experiential learning on methods. There will be also space and time for brainstorming, creativity discussion and mind maps dedicated to he Guide (intelectual output). We’d also arrange socializing activities and cultural entertainment to present Polish culture and heritage.

1. INTROduction + integration + discussing how to match methods within Guide needs (intelectual output)
2. Cross Cultural Competence:
– what it is? definition
– how it helps in terms of intercultural relationships?
– why is it crucial in terms of building strong and healthy cross cultural relationship / family unit
– experiential learning and building self competence
– experiential learning activities (cultural models, dimensions, applying, reflections)
NVC Mediations
– what it is? definition
– how it helps in terms of intercultural relationships?
– experiential learning activities (9 skills of a NVC mediator, 3 chairs model)

Technical visits of local cross cultural pair and inner needs / feedback
– social activities

Daily structure – to be reviewed and edit:
07:30 Optional activities to wake up (yoga, streching…)
08:30 Breakfast
9:00 I.- Theorical and practical session
11:00 Coffee Break
11:30 II.- Theorical and practical session
13:00 Lunch
15:00 III.- Team work (working on Guide)
17:30 – Summary of the day
19:00 Dinner and activity for cross-cultural team building

 

C2.Italy

the participants would be 2 people from each partner organization plus 3 people from Atalaya.

Brief description of a LTTA activity:
The LTTA will took place in Pescara and it will focused on GESTALT COUNSELLING (GC);
we will address the following sub-topics:
(a) overall understanding of GC – concepts, methods, examples
(b) evaluating the effectiveness of GC towards mixed couples – good practices, feedbacks, existing literature
(c) further exploitation of GC, useful for the Inteectual Output – after wrapping all results up, participants will agree which contents shall be included in the I.O.
The LTTA will last five days (Monday to Friday) and will be composed by class lessons (for (a) and (b)), technical visits (for (b) and (c)) and a workshop (for (c)).
All partner will participate with chosen adult trainers and managers from their staff: along with participants with technical background / expertise on the project theme, each partner will involve some staff dealing with project management, because during the LTTA we will also have a dedicated session of project management, apart from (a), (b), (c), to check the project status and decide proper countermeasures to catch any eventual delay up.
Apart from the aforementioned activities, the hosting partner (SubMeet) will also organize some social event as icebreaking activity and to let all participants understanding better the local circumstances and the social and cultural environment where they will spend this week.

C3.Spain

The training for adult trainers and managers will be held in Cantabria (north of Spain). The designed programme is based on a working structure of vertical and horizontal axes.

The vertical axes have to do with the evolutionary moment of the group:
VA1. Meeting each other (to know who we are, which our potentials are and what we can share).
VA2. Sharing and learning (about feelings, emotional discharges and conflict resolutions).
VA3. Collaborating (developing common tools to enrich the project results, especially the intellectual outputs).

The horizontal axes (or working lines) gather activities around one or more of the objectives of the project.
HA1. Activities related to the group creation, sharing experiences and cohesion (relate this with the project objectives if possible).
• Programme presentation, group creation and motivations.
• Sharing good practices on emotional management from each partner
• Identifying the emotional needs of our respective target groups.
• The importance of emotional management in situations of exclusion
• Agreements, impacts and non-formal learning in projects (final evaluation and the letter of commitment).

HA2. Activities related to the main content of the course, that is the introduction of the basic notions of Emotional Management (relate this to the project objectives).
• Listening techniques and key ideas of Emotional Management.
• Emotions, feelings and emotional discharges (crying, yawning, laughter and trembling).
• Social oppressions. Understanding them, in order to understand human behaviour.
• Sexism and racism in our lives and institutions.

HA3. Activities which aim to go deeper in the method learned and include it in the intellectual output (relate this to the project objectives).
• How to work on emotions in teams and/or individually.
• The challenge of working with adults on emotional management
• The importance of the emotional discharges in marginalisation or traumatic situations.
• How to listen cross cultural couples in their daily conflicts.
• How to offer perspective and reality (acceptance and positive feedback) to cross cultural couples.

HA4. The fourth line is associated with the future collaboration among participants (relate this to the project objectives).
• The Euromotional network (working on emotional management at European level)
• Knowing other Spanish entities working on inclusion of migrants, refugees, etc
• Deep teamwork about future k2 related with inclusion/support of disadvantage groups.
• Presentation and feedback of those ideas.
• From the abstract to the particular. Commitments’ assumption and future alliances.
The methodology, during the course, will be, mainly, participative/active using also some tools from the Dragon Dreaming method.

Daily structure – to be reviewed and edit:
08:30 Breakfast
9:00 I.- Theorical and practical session
11:00 Coffee Break
11:30 II.- Theorical and practical session
13:00 Lunch
15:00 III.- Theorical and practical session
17:00 Coffee Break
17:30 IV.- Team work
19:00 Evaluation
20:30 Dinner

1. Our participants will benefit all the described above quality and quantity indicators. The will be aware of culture influence on their lives and behaviors. They will gain new skills and competences to deal with cultural differences in aim to cultivate their relationships and parenthood in diverse environment. Finally, they will empower themselves in dealing with obstacles and difficult situations they are facing being a part of minority or a subject of marginalization.
2. Participating organization will develop both cooperation, intercultural knowledge and cross-cultural competences, working out the new innovative approach that could be used in future organizational projects. They will also raise English language skills of organizations’ members and broaden organizations’ collaboration networks.
3. Mixed couples will benefit also from the society support (by building, strengthen network and connections during the program, also by making a publicity and paying attention of public audience to a topic while disseminating activities) and specific tools and knowledge they’ll receive.
4. Through an outreach campaign that includes different Erasmus platforms and social networks, the project and its results are
intended to inspire other European institutions who are concerned about the participation, inclusion and cross cultural issues.

 

Local Level
At a local level, it is expected that the cross cultural pairs will strengthen the sense of belonging, will improve their performance in context of cross cultural issues, in context of being parents of TCK or bi-cultural children, will improve problem solving abilities and increase resistance to exclusion. They would also know where and how to ask for a help (in between themselves, in cross cultural community, in organizations they would recognize during the project and specialized professional supportive staff and social workers). They will be also equipped with specific psychological tools, helpful in dealing with everyday obstacles. Our intention is to network cross cultural society, so they can continue their contacts and support even when the project is finished.
Organizations staff members will improve their capacity, knowledge and skills both as a trainers and coordinators. They would be able to transfer this knowledge to sustainable future projects and activities.

Regional and National Levels
In regional and national levels, the results of the project will affect the community of the participating organizations and people with whom they interact. Moreover, we will built publicity around the crucial topic nowadays of diversity and inclusion. We will influence the public opinion by publishing and communicating statements, needs and stories of our participants and final IO result regionally and internationally using the channels of all organizations (partners, strategic partners, former and present collaborating NGO’s, list of organizations engaged in migration policy and topics).
Our mixed pairs representatives will also transfer their new knowledge and skills in their daily interaction with other people of their communities, enhancing their motivation and their social psychological development.
The organization employees will increase their awareness about social exclusion and non-discrimination. They will have tools to integrate into exclusion situations, bringing new solutions to confront these problems, reducing the risk of marginalization.
In a national level, in certain ways we would be ambassadors of our own countries, improving the perception that the other participants will have about the culture of each country.

European and International level
It is expected that through the transnational activities carried on during the whole project, we will acquire an international perspective. This means, that the project will not only have a local, regional or national focus, but an international vision. We will also disseminate the program results trough EU EPALE platform, Erasmus+ social media pages and groups and other sustainable channels (ex. SIETAR international network) to spread a useful tool helpful for other beneficiaries, trainers, social workers, stakeholders. Our project contributes to the Erasmus + community, as we will share our results within the Erasmus + network,
so that other centers and organizations can be inspired by the project. We hope that this may encourage European Union institutions to keep on allocating resources to cross cultural and inclusion topics and activities.
At a national, European and international level, through the dissemination of the project results, Meet Me Halfway Guide in
the social networks, websites, multiplier events, etc., we expect to inform and persuade other youth and entrepreneurship entities to
train their communities on the topics of the project.
The project or its parts can be easily transferable, since these types of activities (consultances, workshops, special psychological and cross cultural tools) can be applied to the improvement of competences in numerous societies and circles as schools, NGOs, companies, public institutions.

All dissemination actions will consider:
· definition of specific objectives of dissemination, depending on the phase of the project and depending on the target audiences to whom they are addressed different messages. These specific objectives will be framed under the general aim of disseminating the project results, outcomes and benefits, but will be important for the particular audience, sector and project phase
· identification and selection of target audiences. We identify different groups: public authorities, culturally diverse couples, social workers, other organisations involved in cross-cultural topic, i.e.: Poland: SIETAR Poland – Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research, Women’s International Group, Social Dialogue Commision for Foreigners at Warsaw City Council; Spain: Cantabria Acoge, Red cross Cantabria; Permacultura Cantabria also collaborate with the European Projects Service of the Cantabria Government, editing the on-line European Newsletter, that is also disseminated by all regional development agencies of Cantabria (Campoo Los Valles, Liébana, Saja-Nansa, Valles Pasiegos and Asón-Agüera-Trasmiera). They publish the results of all our projects on it. Permacultura Cantabria will also share project results with national universities and NGOs working on interculturality or having studies published about cross cultural couples: the University Institute of Research on Migrations, Ethnicity and Social development (IMEDES) at the Autonomous University of Madrid; the University of Granada, Save the Children Spain, etc.
· definition and development of messages to transmit to each target audience in the different phases of the project
· definition of a set of success indicators will allow evaluating the impact of the dissemination activities their relevance in accomplishing the stated objectives.

 

Our project will engage the following dissemination activities:
· Workshops, conferences, publications: it is crucial that Meet Me Halfway project and its results are well known by policymakers, social counsellors and workers, end users, journalists and citizens. For this reason, the project partners will join events and conferences addressing social integration and cultural mediation issues.
Moreover, the progresses and results of the projects will be widely disseminated through the general media and social media (i.e.: FB, TT) and each partner websites. We will also use our and partner’s social media accounts:
– https://www.facebook.com/PermaculturaCantabria/ (more than 5000 followers),
– https://twitter.com/PermaculturaCan (more than 600 followers),
– https://pl-pl.facebook.com/fundacja.atalaya/ (more than 730 followers),
– https://www.instagram.com/fundacja_atalaya/ (more than 130 followers),
– https://twitter.com/FundacjaAtalaya (more than 440 followers)
– https://www.facebook.com/Submeet (more than 1000 followers on our Facebook page, with 300 views per month)
We will also use media and communication channels, which we are already in cooperation with:
– IT: ZONALOCALE, webnews at regional level: http://www.zonalocale.it/
– IT: CITTANET national webnews: http://www.cittanet.it/
– IT: Il Messaggero – regional newspaper
– PL: mailing list of associated partner SIETAR Polska (more than 100 members) and other organisations, which Kinga Bialek is a member off: Antidiscrimination Education Society mailing list (more than 80 users), Social Dialogue Commision for Foreigners at Warsaw City Council mailing list (more than 30 organisations on the mailing list).
– PL: professional accounts of Polish team: Kinga Bialek LinkedIn profile (more than 4000 followers), Twitter account (more than 300 followers.
– ES: local government of Cantabria information channels.
· External cooperation and knowledge exchange: the project partners will seek interactions and will establish joint activities with other associations, projects and initiatives. In particular, the consortium will target the ones developing horizontal activities like social services, for exchange, dissemination and training purposes. Cooperation will be established with projects, association and networks with a common background.
· Final conferences: the conferences will be organised in all 3 partnering countries at the end of the project period in order to present the outputs of the project to policy makers, research community, social partners and end users. The final conferences will be the important opportunities to discuss the results of the project, possible future collaborations and to decide about the future steps that could be taken.

The project team has been involved in the cross-cultural integration and support for culturally diverse people or cross-cultural dialogue for many years. People involved in the project will carry on with their daily activities after the project completion, so they will aim to strengthen cultural integration and the adaptation of people with different cultural backgrounds. The practical guide can be used fully as a self-development program for mixed couples, but it can be also used in parts and can be an inspiration to similar activities for mixed couples, no matter what the country of origin of the entities is. The knowledge acquired during the project will also be used in the continuous training plan of the organizations involved. It could cause continuity of future project dedicated to train social workers in context of cross cultural competence. The program will bring up new solutions to contribute to the social inclusion and foster collaboration among organizations and different sectors.

ACTIVITIES

 

 

 

Brief schedule

DAY 0 (Travel day: March 23).
DAY 1 (March 24. We’ll start the course around 9h).
DAY 5 (March 28. We’ll finish at 13h).