Low activity rates, extremely high unemployment figures, precarious employment conditions and the situation with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic compromise the future of a generation that feels frustrated, condemned to social marginalization and handicapped for the full personal autonomy and a future outside of their families. In addition, the figures obtained from official statistics offer impressive results. It is known that the national youth unemployment rate is the first highest in the European Union, with 39.5% in January of this year 2021. On the other hand, according to the Active Population Survey of the National Institute of Statistics in the Community Autónoma de Madrid, the youth unemployment rate during the third quarter of 2021 is 27.76%. Likewise, it is relevant to note that about 30% of young Spanish university students cannot find a job four years after graduating, which can lead them to a situation of social exclusion, after all the work and effort made.
In this way and taking this situation into account, Helsinki Spain in collaboration with the Community of Madrid has once again launched the “Pro Bono – Pro Youth” Project, aimed at university youth between 18 and 35 years of age who is in a situation of unemployment or vulnerability and social exclusion to offer them job guidance and encourage social collaboration. Thanks to the personal interview, the employability training session, individualized mentoring and volunteering, the project has helped more than 1,000 young people.
Throughout the years of the project, although the objective of “Pro Bono – Pro Youth” is to improve the employability of young people, it also sets the challenge of getting each of the participants out of unemployment thanks to a network renewed contacts and new tools acquired after the training and orientation process received. Due to such work, the project was selected and awarded with an AEIF (Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund) grant from the United States Department of State as it was considered an innovative project within the area of entrepreneurship and youth employment and counted, among its mentors and mentors, with fellows and former fellows from the Department of State. Throughout the past six editions, it has also received support from the Ministry of Health, Social Affairs and Equality, the United States Embassy, former alumni associations of the US Department of State, and the Eures Network.
This year, the training course will take place online on December 9, 2021, so from Helsinki Spain we encourage you to register through the following link: https://forms.gle/swqPmcJh5Aof2y7K6
REACT (Rapid Expert Assistance and Cooperation Teams) is a five-week training program on conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation for professionals who are interested in peace operations and contributing to global efforts for international security.
We have already launched the call for applications for the XXVI edition of the REACT project for all professionals interested in being deployed in peace operations and contribute to the global efforts to build international peace and security.
The deadline for the submission of applications is March 1, 2022.
The course has a duration of five weeks for a total of 220 hours: it starts on May 30, 2022 and ends on July 1, 2022. This year’s participants will be in Alicante until June 26 and will then move to Segovia for practical training in handling critical or emergency situations while deployed in hostile environments.
REACT, since its creation in 2003, maintains its main objective of preparing professionals with diverse career paths interested in joining the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) REACT. The course is divided into seven modules covering topics such as conflict prevention, public international law, international criminal law, refugees and internally displaced persons, children and armed conflict, peace and security, the United Nations, OSCE, NATO, the European Union, etc.
REACT is the only training course of its kind in Spain and to date has trained more than 400 people. Throughout its 25 editions, the Helsinki Spain Association has worked under the conviction of the transformative power of education and the need to train people from all types of countries and situations in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict, as the best tool at our disposal to contribute to global efforts for peace building.
More info about the REACT programe
From September 9 to 15, 2021, the second and third phase of the third edition of the project “Team Innovation 2021: Sustainable Development Goals, Tourism and Human Rights. Innovation and future work on the Camino de Santiago”, an initiative created by Helsinki Spain, thanks to the financial support of the ¨Xunta de Galicia¨.
Currently, the tourism sector represents more than 10% of the world’s GDP, is directly responsible for 14% of global emissions and 1 in 11 people work in it. Spain is a world leader in the sector, and in turn this is one of the main pillars of its economy and employment generation. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new environmental emergencies and the socioeconomic reality, this sector faces new challenges and requires new strategies for its sustainability. Therefore, it is necessary to promote and implement initiatives that contribute to the creation of decent jobs, the promotion of social entrepreneurship and the preservation of the environment.
The project culminated with a final phase that consisted of the ¨III University Forum¨ on September 15, in which the participants after 5 days of pilgrimage, presented their proposals for the promotion of sustainable tourism development, which contains the protection of human rights and contributes to the economic growth of the region.
One of the proposals was made by students from the ¨University of Girona¨, entitled ¨SANTIAGO 5 SENSES¨, which had the following objectives:
The project proposal seeks to internalize even more, the experience of the Camino de Santiago, not only to engage in a walk or pilgrimage, but to perceive in an integral way everything that makes up the road. The road should not be understood in a literal way, but also in what makes it up and surrounds it, such as: the aromas of the forests, the taste of the food and local products, the sound of nature, the touch with the soil where millions of people have walked for hundreds of years, and finally, everything that can be developed.
This proposal is accompanied by recommendations and experiences, in which those interested will be able to upload their reviews, so that those who make the journey can take into account more data and details, as if it were a path of the senses, all through digital tools such as: Instagram with the user: @santiago5seseses, and also through web page.
The University of Alicante, Autonomous University of Madrid, University of Valencia, University of Girona, University of Cadiz, University of Malaga and the Diplomatic School of Spain participated in the project.
The sponsors and collaborating institutions were:
After the academic and theoretical preparation for the participants, in terms of SDGs, Sustainable Tourism and Human Rights, the practical part was carried out, which consisted of walking the Camino de Santiago.
The last stage of the project was divided into two groups, one group would follow the French Way and the other the Portuguese Way, which consisted of 5 stages and more than 100 kilometers to be covered. The groups were made up of different university students, from different degrees, universities and nationalities, thus enriching the academic and above all personal knowledge of each of the participants.
With the ¨Project TEAM INNOVATION 2021¨, we sought to create an inter-university environment of debate and learning, supported by the physical experience of what it is to walk the Camino de Santiago, and thus generate awareness that tourism is not only an extractive activity, but can also be an alternative activity, in which the vehicle of transport is your body, the villages of arrival of each stage, are your “accommodation”, and the motive that drives all that is inclusive and diverse. Everyone is free to give meaning to their “Camino”, which starts from the religious pilgrimage, the personal/spiritual encounter, sporting activity, and many others; and these are some of the reasons why the Camino de Santiago and the TEAM INNOVATION 2021 Project, collaborated for learning and realization of some of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Camino de Santiago is an experience that, as in the past, traveling or pilgrimage, becomes a means to obtain knowledge, moments, being also an adventure of personal transformation in itself where values such as freedom, trust, solidarity or the effort to achieve a goal. For this we must bear in mind that the person who walks has all the time in the world, is free to spend hours visiting a town or going around a mountain, following the course of a river or going up a hill, after which they end up looking at the horizon the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago.
With the Team Innovation 2021 Project we seek to create an interuniversity debate that revolves around issues that are on the order of the day such as the 2030 Agenda, Human Rights and Sustainable Tourism, shaping possible responses in view of the future of the Camino de Santiago itself. Where is the Camino de Santiago heading? Trying to answer this question is part of the collective work among young university students who participate by contributing their experiences both in the online study process, as well as in the actual completion of the Camino de Santiago, where they will share moments along the way and in the shelters, culminating everything the process in a university forum at the University of Santiago de Compostela in which the knowledge found and the possible practices that can be carried out in the Future of the Camino de Santiago are transmitted.
But beyond the critical knowledge that the students acquire, they also gain in a personal feedback between the nature that surrounds the Camino de Santiago in its different stages, the local communities through which they travel and the cultural-historical heritage of which they are Can enjoy. All this is intertwined in the own person in a formula of knowing oneself.
A colleague who participated in previous editions commented to us:
“The experience of the Camino was what taught me the idea that the difficulty of being away from our homes and everything that we see as something normal in our daily lives, that feeling of finding ourselves as strangers in unknown places, to see in the faces of some an attitude of fear or indifference and the opposite, to receive the hospitality and solidarity of the people almost daily “