Type – Akira is a nonprofit and non-governmental organization founded in January 2017 in Naples (Italy), registered in the Regional Register of the Associations of Social Promotion of the Campania region, by the Executive Decree n. 393 26/6/2019. The organization is composed by educators, trainers, youth workers, journalists, ICT specialists, psychologists and criminologists.
Scope – The association was founded to promote the psycho-physical and social wellbeing of young people. It pursues civic, solidarity and social utility purposes, by carrying out the following activities of general interest, making predominant use of the voluntary work of its members: social interventions and services; health interventions and services; education, vocational education and training, as well as cultural activities of social interest for educational purposes; interventions and services aimed at safeguarding and improving the conditions of the environment and the sensible and rational use of natural resources; interventions for the protection and enhancement of cultural and landscape heritage; scientific research of particular social interest; organization and management of cultural, artistic or recreational activities of social interest, including editorial activities, to promote and disseminate the culture and practice of volunteering; extra-curricular training, aimed at preventing early school leaving and at school and training success, preventing bullying and combating educational poverty; services aimed at including or reintegrating unemployed youth into the labor market; social integration of migrants; organization and management of amateur sports activities; charity, distance support, free supply of food, goods or services in support of disadvantaged people; promoting the culture of legality, peace between peoples, nonviolence and unarmed defense; promotion and protection of human, civil, social and political rights, promotion of equal opportunities and mutual aid initiatives.
Beneficiaries – In the past 3 years the organization reached over 3.000 youngsters (mainly secondary school and university students, young adults and young people Neither in Emplyoment Nor in Education or Training) and about 500 trainers, educators and youth workers, through workshops, debates, seminars and conferences on themes that vary from bullying and gender violence to personal development and entrepreneurship.
Network – The association works in partnership with nonprofit organizations at regional, national and EU level and public institutions at local level, by promoting synergies and cooperation to promote and affirm the principles of solidarity, non-discrimination, equal opportunities, respect for the human being and social inclusion, the right to education, culture and lifelong learning. In three years the organization has cooperated with more than 20 organizations all over Europe and over 50 entities at regional and national level. AKIRA has been partner of, inter alia: Italian Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports, Drug Addiction Operative Unit of the Prefecture of Naples, International School former NATO base, French Institute “Alexandre Dumas” (Grenoble in Naples), Unicef, Italian Red Cross.
Main areas of expertise – Thanks to the mixed composition of its group of members and volunteers, the organization has expertise in the main following areas:
- Media and communication (journalists, writers, video-makers, marketers, social media managers)
- Education and Training (teachers, trainers, criminologists, psychologists)
- Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (innovation manager, mentors, business developers and trainers with international experience)
- Project Management (project managers with experience, inter alia, in KA1 and KA2 Erasmus+ projects, Europe for Citizens, AMIF, Horizon2020)
Themes the organization is focused on:
- Bullying and cyber bullying prevention
- Gender violence prevention
- Soft skills development
- Non-Formal Education promotion
- Social isolation prevention
- Social innovation and Entrepreneurship Education
- Digital skills development
Here a brief summary of our activities and experience:
Bullying and Cyber bulling
Since its foundation, Akira implements, in secondary schools of its region, activities aimed at preventing bullying and cyber bulling. From January 2019 till December 2019, on a voluntary and experimental basis, it conducted a research, at regional level, in local schools with the project “Smile to Life – Dream Box” which aims to prevent bullying, cyberbullying and new deviations. The project provided workshops with students, based on non-formal education methods and at the same time an analysis of emotions and concerns expressed by the students, in form of written texts and drawings, within the ‘dream box’, operated with the support of a graphologist. Experts supporting these activities: psychologists, educators, criminologists and communication specialists.
– It regularly organizes raising-awareness initiative into local schools about gender violence;
– it organized, in partnership with universities, other associations, professional associations and administrations, the two editions of the “Women and Justice” project (2018 and 2019), which led to the establishment of territorial task forces against all forms of violence;
– it is currently organizing, in partnership with other nonprofit organizations and public institutions, a training course about techniques and intervention procedures for the protection of minors that are victims or perpetrators of violence. The course will be hosted by the Venice Juvenile Court in Fall 2020, with national high-profile lecturers and professors. Experts supporting these activities: psychologists, educators, criminologists, lawyers, cyber-crime specialists, social workers.
Soft skills development
– It was selected as a partner by the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in the project “VII International Art Festival for road safety and legality – Eye to life” (2017), receiving recognition and patronage from the UNESCO National Commission. The festival was the concluding moment of an educational path in fifteen schools in the region Campania that involved students between the ages of 14 and 20, teachers, parents and school administrators. The volunteers and experts of the association carried out activities aimed at developing young people’s soft skills (e.g. critical thinking, emotional intelligence, as means for preventing social emergencies (new pathological addictions and those relating to dysfunctional and problematic relationships and behaviors related to Internet, objects, activities, lifestyles, time management, consumption, self-perception, vulnerability);
– it carried out in several schools at regional level the “Festival of Emotional Intelligence”, aimed at supporting secondary school students to understand their own emotions, others’ thoughts and feelings, empathize and connect with other peers;
– it periodically addresses to volunteers and youngsters workshops aimed at strengthening communication skills, teamwork, critical thinking and creative problem solving;
The organization is a committed promoter of Non-Formal Education and adopt NFE in most of its activities to support young people in becoming active contributors to the development of their communities. Most of Akira’s trainers and educators gained experience in NFE at European level, by participating as participants or trainers in mobility projects in the frame of the Erasmus+ Programme. All the training activities the organization carries out with young people reflect methodologies and practices of NFE, thus adopting discussions, teamwork, interactive role-playing and simulation games, icebreakers, team-building activities, living libraries, drama, treasure hunts, energizers.
Social isolation prevention
The organizations carried out, in partnership with other regional and national nonprofit organizations, research, conferences and seminar on the theme of social isolation, in order to identify effective strategies to prevent the phenomenon. As applicant organization, it will implement, from March to December 2020 its first E+ project “kHIK it – Strategies to engage socially isolated youngsters” (Erasmus+ – 2019-3-IT03-KA105-017178), together with its partners from seven countries. kHIK it will analyze the characteristics of the phenomenon of social withdrawal in the realities of the partnership network, involving trainers and youth workers in the definition of suitable lines of intervention to intercept and recover young people in condition of social isolation and guidelines to structure information and prevention plans in schools, to be addressed to students, parents and teachers, in order to identify and prevent cases of social disease before it can become deviant.
Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Within the organization, social innovation is a mindset. The members of the organization take care of maintaining and sustaining the enabling factors for innovation: they support volunteers’ innovation capability by offering training and capacity building opportunities and encouraging diversity, in order to be able to create innovative approaches and strategies to meet the social needs they work for in a better way than the existing solutions; they have and encourage a network approach, promoting openness inside and outside their environment, actively exploring and looking for connections with other stakeholder to increase the impact of their activities. Since September 2019, the trainers of the organizations implement workshops aimed at supporting young people to develop their innovative ideas and transform them into social entrepreneurship projects, by adopting innovative methodologies and frameworks.
Digital skills development
Akira implements activities with students and young adults aimed at strengthening their digital skills, to let them understand new digital tools and how to responsibly them. Among the activities of the organization in this field:
– it implemented an education path on digital competences in local schools with the project “Secured”, aimed at allowing students, their families and school staff to acquire knowledge necessary to recognize and protect themselves from cyber crimes, such as flaming, grooming, harassment, cyberstalking, hate speech, revenge porn, sextortion, self-defeating challenge. The activities were centered on understanding new digital tools and their potential, and, at the same time, their dangers;
– as applicant organization, Akira will implement with its partners from 6 EU countries, the project “DeDAC: DEsigning Digital Advocacy Campaigns” (Erasmus+, 2020-1-IT03-KA105-018168), aimed at improving the quality of work of youth organizations and youth workers, equipping them with the skills and methods for their professional development in the field of digital youth work and digital communication in particular, today more than ever needed to intercept young people, transfer to them the common fundamental values of our society and prevent their violent radicalization. The main activity will be a training course, in which youth workers will be able to acquire new tools and skills and share experiences, knowledge and good practices on the topic of digital advocacy, through non-formal education activities and in-depth thematic sessions with digital specialists.