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Empowerment of vulnerable groups

By Maggie Louw, Jule Kemper, Marta Knöpfel & Jessica Teeuw.

Our team formed on the basis of a shared ambition: empowerment of vulnerable groups. We often met in the library to do research and discuss findings. While we firstly focused on females, it quickly learned that not only women are disadvantaged. To become a truly inclusive society, men and boys must be included too!

As the days shortened and restrictions became stricter, we started working from the comforts of home. We worked from Germany, Northern Ireland, and the Netherlands to interview stakeholders and work out our final product. Working online had many advantages. It opened us up to an international community that was motivated to work and connect with us digitally. We also kept working well together as a team, complementing each other by building on each other’s strengths and weaknesses with kindness, trust, and integrity.

Through our many Zoom calls, we understood that gender equality starts with certain values that must be nurtured from a young age. Therefore, we came up with an educational model (The ToolKID) which shows 3 levels of learning and being: Me-level, You-level, and We-level. These levels are connected to different learning fields: Feelings education, Values education, and Role model education. By strengthening children in these fields, we help them navigate through the challenges of the future.

As a team, we sought a lot of input on this model to develop the ToolKID idea further and make it fit the target group. We presented the idea at the Siberian Honours Education Conference, facilitated a Focus Group Discussion, organized feedback sessions with primary school teacher students (ITEPS), and conducted a pilot with parents and teachers.

In the end, we created a workbook for caregivers and teachers with an extensive selection of exercises to nurture the leaders of tomorrow. This would not have been possible without our helpful and engaged coach Naomi, who introduced us to her great network and supported us throughout this messy and busy semester. We look back at a very engaging and exciting time, and we are proud of our final value product. May it bring about a positive wave of self-awareness and responsibility for everyone involved.

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