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Pupils take part in European project

Left to right: Rowanne Clarke, Nicola Gavin, Eimear Bane, Sam Slater, Juan ­Condon-­Mariscal, Enda Brody, Ashley Minogue, Ciara Moir are some of the pupils taking part in the project.Scariff Community College transition-year pupils, along with Fishbowl Youth Club, Scariff, are part of a core group working on the first Irish Youth Democracy Project.
The project, which is run by Léargas, the National Agency for the EU Youth in Action Programme in Ireland, aims to inspire active European citizenship, solidarity and tolerance among young Europeans and to involve them in shaping the European Union’s future.
This project is the first of its kind in Ireland and follows the EU Youth policy directive encouraging involvement by young people with the democratic process and interaction with decision makers.
Nine pupils from Scariff Community College and two pupils from Scariff Youth Reach are participating and together, they will take on the challenge of the research-based project.
The pupils will explore the strong and weak points of each system and aim to come up with action points for improvement.
The process includes workshops, discussion groups and PR, which will be documented on film.
The project has an intercultural and European dimension, with a large Italian school of 1,500 pupils and 70 teachers running the programme simultaneously. The project is being facilitated in Italy by two youth organisations in Rome, Il Monastero and Binario Uno.
This week, the pupils and leaders will embark on the next stage of the process, when they will travel to Rome this Monday. While there, they will meet with the teachers and municipality staff and work towards a common understanding and ideas for good practice.
The group will also spend a week with their Italian counterparts in comparative workshops, discussions and training sessions on the many aspects of democracy and governance systems relevant to their own lives and experiences.
The research process will also be documented on film. Training in filming and camera use is an integral part of the project and is supported by Fishbowl and its volunteers.
The footage will then be added and edited by the pupils for their film. The research will be shared between the two countries and the documentaries will be shown to both the Italian and Irish participants. Comparisons will be made by each of the groups and findings will then be added to their research.
It is envisaged that the finished film by the East Clare participants will be shown at the upcoming Iniscealtra festival in Mountshannon this summer and a presentation centred on democracy will be given by the group, with guest speakers.
In the meantime, a second visit to Italy is due to take place over the next few months, where the group will have a return meeting in Rome to share their experiences and put the finishing touches to their documentary.
After all the hard work is finished, the Italian and Clare groups will plan a final celebratory event in each country and will invite members of their community to share in their experience of the project and its outcomes.

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