Fit To Belong is a project focusing on loneliness in young people.
These days, this topic is well-known for anyone who tries to explore themselves on a deeper level. A lonely person isn‘t the one who never goes for walks on their own, not the one who has a small circle of friends, or whose best friend is a content creator living a million miles away. Usually, it‘s the person who feels lack of fulfilment when surrounded by their best friends. Sometimes, it‘s the person who‘s afraid to open up and is hiding behind their smile, believing that no one cares about who they truly are. It‘s the person, who is pointlessly looking for a deep conversation in a croud of meaningless ones.
They‘re not characters from a Hollywood movie, abandoned by their family and relatives due to unfortunate events. It‘s real and closer than it looks.
KA2 project Fit To Belong funded by #Erasmus studied loneliness of teenagers. In cooperation with the universities of Manchester and Exeter in the United Kingdom, an app was created hoping to turn it into a tool used to fight against loneliness.
Today, we‘re sharing an article written by one of the project partners Lily Verity about loneliness, young people and problems relevant to everyone.
Some more ideas about Fit To Belong from psychologist and participant of the project Indrė.
,,The idea to use mobile phones for an app to reduce loneliness arose in Hackathon which took place in November. During this virtual event students presented their unique ideas and some of them were connected to the development of a specialized app. The students suggested to implement an idea called „Walk to school with a buddy“ – an app showing other students who are nearby, would like to go to school together and get to know each other. Another idea was to make new connections by grouping students with similar interests with the help of an app. This way, teenagers can interract with each other by doing the activities they love. The apps would be valid for each school separately, so that students could get to know peers around them. This idea is being developed using software by Mathieu Vanbuel – a representative of IT company ,,ATIT BVBA“, since November, while students in cooperation with representatives of the partners are considering aspects of confidentiality, security, efficiency.” – Indrė.
Project “Fit To Belong” was initiated following a publication in the UK of the results of a large-scale survey – the BBC Loneliness Experiment – that explored the role of belongingness in different cultures. In the publication, it was clear that a lack of belonging was a common, but often confusing, experience for adolescents. Here are the main outcomes of the project:
a researched, validated framework that defines the issue and offers methods & strategies to teachers, youth workers and counsellors to overcome the obstacle;
opportunity to build concrete teaching, learning, and guidance materials based on that framework and test those in real-life situations in schools and organisations.
Meeting the need for social wellbeing and belongingness outside school hours and the context of the organisation, namely at the adolescent’s home or circle of friends, whenever or wherever the adolescent feels the need.
Together with the adolescents, the project team will develop an application that will be accessible online anywhere anytime and that will respond to their needs. Especially for this task, a technical partner was recruited, with experience in educational technology.
The project is funded by Erasmus+.