Debating for a better future
Playful way of learning
Debateville organises after-school debate workshops for Brussels young people aged between 10 and 14. Every week, they practice their speaking skills together for 1.5 hours. In a playful manner, they learn how to form an opinion, develop an argument or give a speech. "Through debate, the youngsters learn to listen, express themselves and convince others. They increase their critical thinking, media literacy and commitment to their environment", says driving force Sophie Buysse. "In a safe environment, the young people learn to understand and transcend differences. Debate trains them in important attitudes such as resilience, perseverance and respect. And debate is also good fun: it motivates and gives self-confidence to develop further."
Strong and widely supported
Debateville coaches some 80 young people from September to May, with workshops on location in Muntpunt, Sint-Joost-aan-Zee, the Pianofabriek and CC Nekkersdal. "We support this initiative because it offers innovative and effective solutions for a complex problem such as the major inequalities in education", says Alizée Du Bus de Warnaff of Collibri Foundation. "The more young people form a critical mind and their own opinion, the better for society. It's also nice that Debateville is widely supported and works closely together with other non-profit, public and private actors and the wider society."
"Every young person has it in them to be as convincing as Obama, as inspiring as Malala or as sharp-witted as Stromae."
Towards an enriching collaboration
"We are extremely proud of the collaboration with Collibri Foundation, that has a solid reputation in the philanthropic world", says Sophie Buysse. "Very motivating as well is that Collibri Foundation immediately believed in our upward potential and social impact. We are impressed with the professional collaboration that is more than merely financial and strengthens us on many fronts.”
Also for schools and youth work
Debateville also uses the debate methodology for schools and youth work organisations and thus indirectly reaches some 120 participants aged between 10 and 18, teacher training students, teachers and school boards, youth workers and mentors. Sophie: "We now see more interest, because due to educational disadvantage and the corona pandemic the need for good debating skills and critical thinking is increasing." For this, Debateville focuses especially on Brussels schools of the Dutch-speaking education system, but wants to reach other municipalities, regions and linguistic communities in the long term.”
Sophie founded Debateville mid-2019, after the model of the British NGO DebateMate. Early January 2020, the first extracurricular workshops started, with 40 young people. That year, Debateville also won first prize in the Queen Paola Award for Education.