How long have you been involved with YGAP?
My first contact with YGAP was a participant in 2015, thereafter I’ve had the extremely fun and inspiring mission to be a part of the coordinating team. What a privilege!
Why did you get involved?
When I applied to YGAP as a participant, I did it eagerly seeking increased knowledge, more perspectives and interesting meetings. I was, to say the least, not at all disappointed.
The reason why I’m still involved might be that I was never able to graduate!
What has been your role?
Since 2016 I’ve been a part of the IFWEA coordinating team. Meaning involved in planning, recruitment from ABF and our partners as well as implementation. The last perhaps mostly with a social or group dynamic focus on the course outside of the actual course. It’s not every day you go somewhere you’ve never been before, with people you’ve never met before doing something you’ve never done before. That requires both preparation, support and perhaps a push out of that notorious comfort zone.
What, in your words, is the main purpose of YGAP?
I would say firstly, to gather and connect people from around the globe that all work towards the same goal – a more just world. To within the two weeks create space for in-depth sharing of experiences, ideas and methods and through that journey build a confident global knowledge community of worker educators and organisers. All ready, with a common understanding of global challenges and solidarity, to make another world possible.
Would you say YGAP makes a difference in the work/lives of participants?
Yes, to not only have the possibility to get out of your day-to-day bubble with all that entails for two weeks, but also to spend those two weeks testing out your thoughts and opinions together with, and towards others. Also, to share fellow participants’ experiences makes a difference. Both work and personal wise.
We’ve seen examples of participants confidently taking on a bigger responsibilities in their organisations, standing as a candidate in elections, and initiating international cooperation. In addition to that you’ll have a global network of comrades just a message away. For friendship, expertise and perspectives.
Do you stay in touch with people from the programmes?
Perhaps not as much as I would like to, but when in need of an additional perspective or certain skill I know where to look. And I know where to find a response.
In general, when encountering former participants, the joint experience of YGAP is substantial. Even though one may have the common experience of being involved in the labour movement, it is like an extra wall removed.
Has YGAP changed over the years?
Most importantly it has developed from a Scandinavian course into a truly global one with participants attending from all over the world. YGAP itself is in motion, a never-ending development with details, programmes, topics and layouts changing from one year to another, although it always, strongly, holds its core. Which is value-based participatory needs-oriented education on current topics. I believe this to be one of the success factors of YGAP.
How have you coped with the Covid-19 pandemic and YGAP?
The pandemic certainly accelerated the use of digital tools and methods and we’ve been forced to practice what we essentially learn – learning by doing. During the first year of the pandemic YGAP turned into a Game Jam. This was a course where participants from all over the world joined online and discussed and framed the challenges met into a playable tool.
Digital tools and methods are important, of course. But for me personally there is nothing I long for more than to again conduct a YGAP as we know it. To fill up Community House with participants from all over the world trying to find ways to make the same better.