Natural Building and Youth work 

‘Youth work ‘is a broad term covering a large scope of activities of a social, cultural, educational or political nature both by, with and for young people. Increasingly, such activities also include sports and services for young people. Youth work belongs to the area of  ‘out-of-school’ education, as well as specific leisure time activities managed by professional or voluntary youth workers and youth leaders and is based on non-formal learning processes and on voluntary participation’ resolution on a renewed framework for European co-operation in the youth field (November 2009)

Youth work has a long tradition of supporting young people’s understanding of the world around them and promoting such values as justice and equality; in the last years sustainability has been more and more present. “To create a world that is more just, peaceful and sustainable, all individuals and societies must be equipped and empowered by knowledge, skills and values as well as be instilled with a heightened awareness to drive such change. This is where education has a critical role to play. (UNESCO 2014)

Natural building is part of the frame of sustainability but it did not create a strong link with practice and skills. And that’s where most learning experiences can sprout. 

In practice that means that natural building practices, ethics, principles are transmitted with non-formal methods, through practice and theory. Starting with introduction activities and explanations about the general concepts and then getting deeper in the topic, connecting with broader topics such as Climate change, traditional knowledge, and inclusion. Whether it is practice or theory teamwork is one of the foundations of such activities and tries to counter a more and more individualistic society. The idea is not to give one option or to expect that all of them will radically change their lives so far. It is to first demonstrate the complexity of our society and of the issues that exist and to show what can be alternatives. 

The main challenge is that natural building, and building sector in general is seen as a sector that is or for low standards workers (too physical, low salaries, poor education) or too elitist (architects, engineers: so long studies, with hard chances of succeeding) 

This problem is yet true but also gives the chance to youth to know about the basics of Natural building and is pushing to arouse interest, through non-formal or formal education (studies with recognized diplomas are crucial to the growth of Natural building). 

The potential outcomes for youth work, through Natural building are not only a better knowledge of the topic itself, but also comprehend the connections that it has as an answer to global issues and the power it can have to create a better society. 

Keeping crafthumanship of traditional building alive, if the movement and sectors grows, the employability will raise and this field is yet to explode (unfortunately) with upcoming global crisis. Natural building aims also for equity and diversity, for the makers and also the beneficiaries of it: from a human and a natural point of view.