The planning process is essentially simple and generally known and includes some basic key elements that are in fact applicable to any kind of activities like grocery shopping or organizing a birthday party – youth exchanges included!
In order to plan a new project, you need to be confident on the following questions:
- WHY? – a question that is always torturing us but also reflecting our BIG IDEA, our visions, our goals, our aims, our perception of bringing positive change for the days to come.
- WHAT? – yes, ideas can be fabulous, but may often be too broad and vague. They need to get clear, comprehensive and solid; they need to be concrete and applicable in real life. Setting your OBJECTIVES turns to be one of the highest priorities in your work.
- HOW? – words are never enough! How can we put dreams into ACTION? How can we make our vision come true?
- HOW MUCH? – money, money, money! Idealists are what we all want to be, but we can all agree that…no money, no honey! BUDGET is equally important and should be well managed in order to seek success.
- HOW DID IT GO? –which criteria did you follow in the EVALUATION of your level of success? In simple words…how satisfied are you by what you achieved and how did you measure your level of success?
“Do not talk about us without us!” – include the final users into the planning process!
Big breath again – it’s not as complicated as it seems! To narrow the topic and adjust it to the needs of this Toolkit, we will go step by step through the planning of a youth exchange. In our case we will use the example of an “International Training of Youth Activists”, as an international youth exchange project might be a little more demanding than a local or national one when it comes to practicalities and it will help us bring light to all possible dark corners of the process.
So…when talking about “planning” what exactly do we mean? Before jumping into panic with all the ideas, questions, tasks and obligations that come along with that word, let’s make our lives easier and split it in three main phases:
- PREPARATION: (a) the things that you do or the time that you spend preparing for something, (b) plans or arrangements that you make to prepare for something – it’s not us! It’s the Cambridge Dictionary! Talking about youth exchanges though…Pandora’s box waves “hi” from the corner, as they are quite demanding projects and there’s quite a lot to be taken carte of!
- IMPLEMENTATION: Least said soonest mended! Words are good but not enough. What kind of apples shall we put into the “implementation” basket?
- FOLLOW UP: the curtain comes down, but the show never ends! After surviving the previous two phases, now it’s time for some stocktaking! So…let’s start from scratch! Follow us!