We live now in an ever-changing environment. Our personal lives are affected by various global factors which are themselves co- and interdependent: climate change, migration, terrorism, wars - and all social factors coming from these phenomenon: fear, xenophobia, closed society. All these issues can be targeted at rational levels to decrease fears (eg. by providing information), however fear is much more deeply rooted in our biological being. We are afraid for our lives, culture, family, and way of living and all the above factors have a clear impact on these at an everyday level.
Being able to face fears, to connect to emotions, and to live a positive life is a basis for being able to feel empathy, acceptance towards others. Emotional intelligence is the competence to understand our feelings and feelings of others, and based on this to be able to act upon them and act based on them. Therefore the most important area we have to work on is to help young people to understand themselves, their emotions, senses, feelings better in order to be able to control them better. This can come from several levels which are included in our project: meeting others, meeting animals – and meeting themselves through these encounters.
Our main focus is the Animal-Human Interaction, and our aim is to develop a training course and belonging materials about how connecting to animals and nature can help humans to develop prosocial intra- and interpersonal skills such as empathy, self-reflexion, resilience or coping. During the project we will develop and test materials with and for youth workers, which they can use within their youth development work to reach the previously mentioned development goals with youth.