Getting to know the neighbouring country step-by-step
The Czech-German Youth Exchange Coordination Centres Tandem in Regensburg (Germany) and Plzeň (Czech Republic) have organised territorial cooperation along the border between the two countries with the aim of bringing people, principally children, from either side of the border closer together.
" For children, the project is a nice opportunity to get to know something new and learn about similar, identical, or very different things from the neighbouring country. The children get over the worries about the other language and culture and that is important during the rest of their life. In my opinion, this is the main benefit of the project. "
The project Schritt für Schritt ins Nachbarland – Krůček po krůčku do sousední země (Step-by-step into the neighbouring country) developed activities for children aged between three and eight, their parents, child minders, nursery and kindergarten staff, teachers of first- and second-year school pupils and youth club leaders.
Ambassadors of the neighbouring country
The project targeted all border regions with the aim of building cross-border friendships from an early age so as to increase tolerance and mutual understanding. One of its main components was the appointment of ‘ambassadors of the neighbouring country' to help children from both sides of the border to get to know each other's language and culture.
The ambassadors delivered programmes tailored to the needs of beneficiaries. They comprised activities including game afternoons, language lessons, and presentation and reading sessions, all of which helped to foster a spirit of multilingualism and neighbourliness. Guidance was provided on topics such as finding partners on the other side of the border and the organisation of bi-national activities. In all, some 125 organisations, 29 ambassadors and more than 6 000 children were involved.
Cross-border trips and meetings
The ambassadors also helped to plan and implement cross-border trips and meetings. Tandem compiled a database of contacts and set up an online service to help interested parties to find partners on the other side of the border. Financial support was provided for exchanges and joint activities involving Czech and German children and their parents and teachers.
Other activities included training for educational professionals from the border area, advice for joint Czech-German projects and promotion of Czech-German cooperation. A quarterly e-newsletter, web pages with good practice examples, practical literature on cross-border activities for young children, handbook for teachers and tutors, and a Czech-German dictionary were also published.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “Step by step into the neighbouring country” is EUR 608 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 489 800 from the Operational Programmes “Czech Republic - Germany” and “Germany (Saxony) - Czech Republic” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.
Related countriesJihozápad , Czech Republic Severozápad , Czech Republic Niederbayern , Germany Oberpfalz , Germany Oberfranken , Germany Dresden , Germany Chemnitz , Germany
FundEuropean Regional Development Fund
Operational programmesOperational Programme 'Germany (Saxony) - Czech Republic'
Project duration01/2012 - 12/2014
Total InvestmentEUR 608 000
EU InvestmentEUR 489 800
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