Live Below the Line

Live Below the Line

The Integra Foundation

Helping youth in Slovakia to understand better the challenges of living in poverty.

Contact | Website

Target country: Slovakia
Start date and end date of the Action: 1 June – 30 November 2015

The project “Experience(it)” engaged Slovak youth experientially in the realities of life faced by poor young people of their age in Africa. Through spending the night in the cardboard box, tasting an imitation of African food, and experiencing how giving feels by sending a donation SMS to support projects which aim to improve the lives of disadvantaged African youth and understanding fair trade, the project sought to leave a lasting impression that would influence attitudes and behaviour towards issues of poverty.

A total of 212 young people actively participated in all aspects of the program in ten different locations in Slovakia. Additionally, “Experience(it)” promotional activities were carried out through a further 7 events with an estimated participation of 827 participants, thus, in total approx. 1,030 participants were reached.

The best approach was to bring the Experience(it) in a box with Experience(it) on the plate and Experience(it) in your wallet activities to locations where the youth already spent their summer time – to various summer camps. 10 camps welcomed us in Žilina, Uhrovec, Chvojnica, Bratislava (2x), Banská Bystrica (2x), Pezinok, Hlohovec and Záhorská Bystrica. The topics covered in the educational part of the activity were: Quiz on facts about Africa and development cooperation; presentation of statistics about poverty and child poverty in Africa and worldwide and development cooperation on EU and national level; videos depicting how Kibera slum life looks like; examples of projects which address issues Kibera inhabitants face; and different ways how youth can get involved.

We also had a visitor from Ethiopia who met with youth groups, and youth in churches and schools, presenting issues faced by youth in Africa. During his 10 day visit to Slovakia, our Ethiopian guest met with and gave presentations to 12 separate groups with an estimated audience of 520 people.

As a result of the project, 22 participants in Experience(it) activities sent a one-time SMS donation. 12 participants signed up for regular SMS donation. A total of about 150 Euros was donated thus far though this channel. Additionally, 6 students who participated in the Experience(it) program have registered to sponsor an African child to attend school.

The response of the summer camps which participated in the programme was very positive, with multiple invitations to repeat with a broader participation in 2016, as this experiential way was found to be very effective in introducing youth with such issues. All participants registered a very positive response to the activities in terms of new information and motivation to engage in issues surrounding poverty alleviation in Africa.

Within the project, also a “Life Below the Line” cookbook was produced (250 copies) and 60 people participated in its launch. The response so positive that the Integra Foundation decided to re-print a further 500 copies for distribution during 2016. Approx. 40 separate fair trade product purchases were made at the launch of the cookbook and a survey indicated a 41% intention to begin purchasing fair trade products.

Also 1,000 informational brochures were produced and distributed during July and at the beginning of August at two large youth festivals in different parts of Slovakia and in connection to the Experience(it) activities. The project was further promoted on Integra website and Facebook. During the project Integra was approached by 6 new volunteers interested in taking part in the action.