The final results of the “Italy-Brazil: Educating new global citizens” project implemented by Oxfam Italia, Vitae Civilis and OIT, with the contribution of Fondazione Telecom Italia, were presented in the Tuscan capital at the Santa Apollonia Auditorium today. The meeting allowed those involved to take stock of a project that brought together over 500 Italian and Brazilian students, networking private and public entities dedicated to the common goal of building a cultural bridge and exchanging knowledge between young people from two apparently distant worlds. During the course of the day, the following took turns in speaking to the students: Marcella Logli, Secretary General of the Fondazione Telecom Italia, Roberto Barbieri, Director General of Oxfam Italia, Areta Sobieraj, Education Representative of Oxfam Italia, Samuel Gabanyi, Education Expert from Vitae Civilis, Eleonora Corsini of the Uman Foundation, Andrea Frailis, a reporter from the Videolina network, Luca Villasanta, of the Saras Group, Salvatore Gitto e Stefania Scolaro Environment and Education Councillors of the Municipality of Milazzo, Lorenzo Tomassoli of the Municipality of Florence's Civil Defence Authority, Andrea Sbandati, Confservizi Cispel Director for Tuscany and Davide Bonsignore, International Department Manager of La Fabbrica del Sole (Tuscany).
A bridge between Italy and Brazil
The initiative aimed to support exchanges between Italy and Brazil, establishing communication between high school students in two distant places affected by common global and local issues, such as environmental protection and access to technologies. The youngsters were given the opportunity to become active citizens, with the ability to analyse their own reality, identify problems and suggest solutions, pooling assets, values and skills for the purpose of achieving a more sustainable society.
The project lasted for a year, and led to the creation of an educational social network (http://edu.oxfam.it) connecting 10 classes in high schools around São Paulo, with the same number of Italian classes in schools across Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia. The 500 youngsters involved in the initiative and their teachers set up a learning community which used a multilingual platform to develop educational and information sharing activities related to active citizenship, protecting environmental resources and accessing new technologies.
As with all projects funded by Fondazione Telecom Italia, the project was of great technological value as it allowed interaction to be developed between new technologies and schools. The Oxfam Edu platform, created by the project, allowed ideas and opinions to be easily exchanged between schools in Italy and Brazil. The social network has been developed in a way that will allow new global citizenship projects implemented by Oxfam Italia to be added, while also providing space for other projects funded by Fondazione Telecom Italia. The educational social network allowed participants to exchange ideas, knowledge and multimedia material. Compared to the existing ones, this is an innovative tool in the field of online teacher training and allows modules to be added in Italian, English and Portuguese to stimulate dialogue between multiple cultures and idioms, with a view to extending and replicating it. Oxfam Edu can also host courses for trainers, allowing a greater number of beneficiaries and greater geographical coverage by making it easier to scale up the training. Oxfam Edu was created in collaboration with Dartway PBCOM Interactive.
Proposals from the youngsters
The activities gave the classes involved the opportunity to discuss some of the issues that are having a direct impact on their reference territory and come up with proposals that were presented and discussed during today's final meeting. For example, a class in Sardinia reported the state of neglect of Cagliari's Roman Amphitheatre, now reduced to an illegal dump. The demand made by the young people is simple: invest the funds made available by the European Union to bring one of the most valuable sites in Sardinia back to life. A class from Tuscany presented a proposal entitled: "Water: Friend or Foe?" Illustrating how environmental disasters and flooding could be prevented or avoided by simply providing more information and education to citizens.
During the final meeting today, students held discussions with public and private players who can influence locally the implementation of the proposals submitted and ensure that the proposals and critical issues arising are actively listened to by those involved, as well as giving the classes the opportunity to put questions to decision-makers and vice versa. Opening a dialogue on such a complex and topical issue.
During the course of the day, participants in Sardinia, Sicily and São Paulo presented their findings in real time via an online link to Florence.
Florence, 12 May 2014