What is HEBE Project?
The HEBE Project is an investigation that focuses on youth empowerment. The HEBE Project is an investigation that focuses on youth empowerment. The line of research began in 2010 with a project focused on the participatory evaluation of community actions as a methodology for personal and community empowerment (Ref.: EDU2010-15122). In the 2013 call, the research focused on young people and their spaces, moments and processes of empowerment (Ref.: EDU2013-42979-R) and in 2017, the research gave continuity to this last project, also identifying the factors enhancers and limiters of youth empowerment (Ref.:EDU2017-83249-R).
The HEBE Project is led by the University of Girona and researchers from four other universities have participated in the research team: the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the University of Barcelona, the Pompeu Fabra University and the Autonomous University of Madrid.
The concept of youth empowerment
The concrete definition for our idea of empowerment is as follows:
“It is that process which increases the likelihood of a person being able to decide on and act consistently regarding everything that affects their own lives, participate in decision-making and intervene in a shared and responsible way with regard to the collective they form a part of. This requires two conditions: that they acquire and develop a series of personal capabilities (knowledge, attitudes, aptitudes, skills…), and that the environment facilitates their being able to use these capabilities effectively.” (Soler, Trilla, Jiménez-Morales and Úcar, 2017, p. 22)
In 2014 and 2017 calls, The HEBE Project was focused on working on the following objectives:
- Define and identify which are the spaces, moments and processes that intercede in the empowerment of young people.
- Identify the enhancing and inhibiting factors of youth empowerment through the analysis of discourses and practices of educators.
At the beginning, the research focused on the first of these objectives, starting fundamentally from the stories and the same youth experiences. Afterward, the research went deep into the second of the objectives, based on the perspective and analytical capacity of the educators who work with young people.
Some of the questions to which we answered are: How can youth empowerment be promoted from the different socio-educational spaces? What are the empowering elements of youth empowerment for educators? What difficulties and limitations find the educators in the accompaniment they carry out in youth empowerment processes? Are the educational processes promoted by administrations and public policies effective in empowering young people?
To achieve the objectives of this project, the research was structured based on different lines of action in which a mixed methodological approach was applied: quantitative and qualitative methodological tools.
The concept of empowerment was deepened through the theoretical analysis of the term. From the application of a questionnaire to young people about their perspective regarding empowerment and also by reading the life stories of groups of young people, in addition to the analysis of the results for the preparation of a battery of empowerment indicators and, finally, through the Audiovisual Pedagogy Workshop that has given rise to the creation of the HEBE Project webdoc.
At first, the HEBE project started from young people. The application of the questionnaire to a sample of 890 young people helped us to delve into the spaces, moments and processes that, according to the young people themselves, intervene and determine their capacities for agency, autonomy and, ultimately, empowerment. Quantitativeand qualitative results were extracted from this collection of information, which can be consulted in the relevant articles. Four participatory evaluation processes were carried out with young people, to learn about their experiences and opinions on empowerment processes, and the life stories of six young people were also collected. This material has also served to contrast and validate a proposal for empowerment indicators, as well as the creation of articles and other dissemination materials that you can find here.
In a second moment, the study subjects are those education professionals who work with young people (youth workers, teachers, social educators, pedagogues, street educators, sociocultural instructors, etc.). In this case, the research was structured into three lines:
- The analysis of youth workers’ accounts, using fieldwork diaries and audiovisual pieces.
- An online questionnaire administered to an intentional sample of youth workers to determine what work they do on youth empowerment and involving an in-depth analysis of the different dimensions of empowerment.
- Empowerment indicators displayed in a rubric format for the evaluation of youth empowerment actions and programmes.
The results of the HEBE Project served to generate knowledge among educators and to identify the elements that could best meet the empowerment needs of young people. In addition, they contributed to decision-making in different areas of public policy.
Among some of the concrete results it is worth mentioning:
- The scientific contribution that can be consulted in the disseminationsection of this website.
- The HEBE web.doc. An interactive documentary in which a group of young people share their experience on the processes, places and times where they encountered empowerment throughout their youth. It also includes an audiovisual pedagogy workshop as a youth empowerment experience and creative space.
- The Hebe rubric for evaluating youth empowerment actions and programmes. A tool based on the nine dimensions that have been associated with youth empowerment, according to which 27 indicators have been developed that are broken down to facilitate their analysis and subsequent evaluation by education teams wishing to incorporate youth empowerment in their work.