We believe that motherhood - especially in the first years - is an exceptional moment: we go through unexpected changes, we meet and overcome challenges, we transform. We acquire and strengthen new skills, the so-called "soft skills": problem-solving, empathy, managing, and many others.
Becoming a mother is a rite of passage into the next phase of our adult lives and into our interconnectedness with Mother Earth. It is a unique transformative experience mainly overlooked and sometimes misunderstood in modern societies. Through this project we learn to look at this journey with new eyes, discovering our gifts gained through the journey of motherhood and finding our authentic ways to accept and use them consciously in our lives.
Motherhood is a powerful informal learning process: through this project, we aim at supporting mothers in getting the most out of it by connecting with their inner and outer nature.
The general aim of Mother nature is to equip professionals with adult learning tools and skills to support and empower mothers in developing, recognising and validating skills acquired through the informal learning experience of becoming mothers in order to foster employability, socio-educational and professional development.
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Increasing the participation of women in the labor market is crucial to meet the Europe 2020 target to achieve an overall employment rate of at least 75% by 2020.
In 2014, women comprised almost 46% of people active in the EU labor market (EU’s Labour Force Survey 2014), a rate which is increasing but still lower than those of men in almost all Member States.
According to a Eurofound research, “motherhood is one of the key determinants of female labour force participation” (Eurofound 2016, The gender employment gap: Challenges and solutions, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg). Our target needs’ assessment has confirmed that in the role of mothers women are often left behind in their ability to fully engage in career path, as motherhood is demanding a lot of their time and energy. On the other hand, our assessment, as well as other researches show that very often motherhood changes the perspective that women have on their career and that, in spite of being a hurdle, the experience of maternity may highly enhance some of the soft skills that are a key-factor for joining the labor market (i.e. problem solving, decision making, leadership and management, empathy, negotiation, etc.) (see Zezza, R. Vitullo A. “La maternità è un master”, 2014 and Katherine Ellison, “Mommy Brain”, 2011).
Our target group needs assessment (a survey-based enquiry lead between Dec 2016 - March 2017 addressing professionals working with mothers and mothers with children aged 0-3) has also shown that:
The most relevant issues faced by mothers are stress, time management, adjusting to their new role, work-life balance.
The most relevant concerns related to employment are: work/family life balance, conflicting roles, financial stability, refreshing professional competences, changing career path, not being able to find a job.
Lack of support by public services or private organisations for mothers in adjusting to their new roles, self-awareness and personal transformation, integration and validation of skills acquired through motherhood and workforce reintegration, in most of the countries of the present partnership.
Relevance of peer to peer supporting groups.
After so much dreaming and planning, in November, 2017 we start Mother Nature project! We, the project team of 9 inspired women and 1 man from Hungary, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and UK met weekly over 2 months, through computer screens to set up the frame, workplan, basic agreements, logistic details, working culture. We also informed our colleagues and national networks about our plans and set up local teams.
After months of online preparation over the 5 countries we finally met in January, 2018 in Sunny Hill eco community, Kostelec, Slovenia. It was nice to meet in person, get to know each other, really feel like a team, exchange ideas and educational methodologies, share about our own experience as mothers (and fathers), start working on the planned training methodology, complying the draft of the first planned training course.
A national Mother’s Journey event in Italy was the first occasion to bring together mothers and learn together using the Mother’s Journey framework.
In the following months project team members individually researched about educational methods, approaches and contents that can be accomodated in the Mother Nature programme. We met online to develop the training plan, create the graphic design and branding of the project, and the website that will accommodate the content. A FB page was also created to keep in touch with involved people and to get the word out.
By March, 2018 our website was up and running and a call for participants for the international pilot training event was sent out in each of the project countries.
In April, the National kick-off event in Hungary was organised, alongside with a full-day Mother’s Journey workshop.
In June 2018 we had our first pilot training! 21 mothers (and their families) gathered in Téreny, Hungary with 7 facilitators. See the beautiful photos below.