Instituut voor Equitherapie en Hippische Sportpsychologie

Description of the LDV Project on AMAT

Project Description
Partners and their roles and Functions download as PDF

1. Summary

Summary of the planned Partnership
Our objectives are to build a multi-dimensional framework of contents, legal and organizational aspects of quality criteria . So we will also assist mental health organizations by giving them tools to compare different forms and competences in Animal Mediated Assistance (AMAT) in the different European countries.

Animal Mediated Assistance includes measures for educational, social, therapeutical or rehabilitative activities being carried out by professionals with the help of the animal as subject within the triangular process (the client, the animal and the professional undergo a relation on which the process is based).The involvement of the animal is supposed to be a sort catalysator within the intended process.

Further our work will result in European cooperation within lifelong training for AMAT.

According to the outcomes of the former Pegasus project dating from 2003 to 2005 and other studies there is no discussion about the efficiency of AMAT, if properly done according to well defined quality criteria. But because of the lack of an official framework for teaching an practice of AMAT in European countries and means of official quality control we cannot exploit those opportunities efficiently. Furthermore this deficiency disables the upcoming generation of well educated specialists in AMAT to establish themselves as professionals and to enable cooperation between specialists in practice, training and quality control within Europe. On the other side the outcomes of this project could be profit to the financial deciders an clients themselves making them able to distinguish between the different offers of practice in AMAT.


2. Rationale

Motivation for this project and why this project is needed.

The organizations joining in this project are working on AMAT which means to support people with difficulties within physical, psychological, mental or social order. Working within the educational, social, therapeutical or rehabilitative field we complement and depthen the medical, paramedical and educative interventions in a very efficient way. So our project aims on what we are still missing, namely a guaranteed level of identical interventions of quality within different fields an functions in AMAT in the EU. This can only be realized by conforming training programs to a well defined level of quality and competences that we will research and develop within this project. This will result in a system of quality and security guaranties for the clients in the EU.


Project objectives and Strategy

As examples for big problems is the fact that in AMAT different professions are involved who have to undergo the training as an additional training to their basic profession and practice with clients without animals involved. Therefore we have to do with different basical assumptions at the beginning of the training and in practice we have to do with a lot of very different training programs differing from 3 days to three years. There is a broad variety in definition of competencies and methods partially scientifically well justified partially not.

To approach harmonization of practice, training and quality control of AMAT we shall on the first place work on a diagnostical review of the concrete practices, competences, profiles and trainings in the involved partner countries. In the second place we shall make a summary of the problems issued from the diagnostical review. In the third place we aim to work out the common issues resulting from the above done activities. So that these issues can be reflected on and analyzed within thematic European groups to go in depth from international standpoint and goals for AMAT.

This will result in the main factors on which our competencies, practices and training objectives can be build on .These outcomes have to be published within the groups of practitioners, training organizations, decision makers and financing organizations aiming on the system of quality standards within the European Union (as those of EASPD –European Association for Service Providers for persons with disabilities- for care).

Therefore during the project it will be necessary to involve the decision makers and financing organizations in the different countries to guarantee a fitting place within the different mental health and educational and social systems of these countries for good practice of AMAT.

We want to organize a presentation of our results such as proposals during a meeting of all groups of interest within the European Union such as politicians, financing organizations, medical health, mental health, social and educational services.

In the same time for the diffusion of our results and suggestions of a European framework for AMAT we will propose an internet Forum and information file in order to inform involved organizations and persons to emphasize the necessity of an official European regulation and to prepare the soil for realization of European quality standards for AMAT.

4 Results and outcomes

Our Working Program:

All partners are selected for their human and animal competences and/or competences in training and quality evaluation in AMAT. They want to use them by working together in this project.

The planning includes several meeting of the involved partners and internet communication in between the projected meetings


First meeting: meeting of stakeholders: july-august 2010

In a first meeting prepared by an identification questioner being filled in by all participants. We propose to each partner to make the inventory of what he knows about the practices in AMAT in his own country, the training programs and the quality criteria.


The main questions:

· "are the practices responding to the needs of the users (clients, organizations)

· "is the training accorded to the needs of the specialists in the different fields of the AMAT and in the different functions needed for an AMAT?

· "are the animals adapted to this work and is the practice accorded to animal wellbeing?"


To build the tools for this research the stakeholders of the partners shall meet as soon as the project is agreed, in a several days seminar. Specialists in communication will assist us.

We are interested in a formal, but also personal approach (through personal contacts , meetings in little groups and theatrical working groups). We have all experienced the difficulty of heaving a real picture of the situation in AMAT through a formal approach only: it must be complement by the words and feelings of the client and the professional.

We need scientific approved tools (in social investigations) for such an approach, so to be able to make a local overview sent to the coordinator for a synthesis which will be the basis for the topics and methods being proposed in the second meeting.


Second meeting: Seminar march 2011

Between the stakeholders of each country accompanied by the persons mainly involved in the first enquiries, and with technical specialists and as well students and deciders being involved AMAT.


The question that will emerge is:”

how can structure the problems found and to analyze the underlying reasons?"

We may expect:


Before the next meeting this meeting will be prepared by working in little European thematical groups in between spring and summer 2011

These groups will be formed at the second seminar built by persons of different countries who have similar interests, competences, and experiences, so to be able to get further on in the comprehension of a specific question, by studying different practices , according to different trainings

for instance:

· which methods are applied by working with children with social difficulties?

· why these methods?

· which efficiency: at once, later on?

· what was the training of the professional, his assistants, his animal?

· how can we understand their results ,compared to others with other methods?

· what may be the influence of environment: family-social workers-economic conditions-and so on.

The groups, have to extract from their researches the factors which are decisive in the result of the practice.


They can apply to the scientific commission (we make a link with a Cost program)and spread their worked out information within the group of participants.


The groups involved in a same theme are supervised by one or several stakeholders representing the different countries. They have to organize the work and meetings needed by it, to help the members, and to send to the coordinator partial synthesises centred on the factors that appeared as decisive in a type of practice. As a result of this analytical work each thematic working group is expected to work out the primary factors that have to be taken into account in the further suggestions which should lead to the intended transparent framework of quality in AMAT within the EU with special emphasis on the lifelong training aspect within this framework.


Third meeting: Seminar autumn 2011

Based on the results of the thematic working groups a synthesis of these results should bring us to the further development of our product namely the certification program of education, training and quality control in AMAT based on the integration of all the gained result per thematical issue. The overall report and intended framework will be prestructured and a redactional team will be formed to prepare the final report and distribute it to all the partners.


Fourth Meeting: Basic European Certification programm of Education, training and quality control in AMAT: spring 2012

In this meeting the participating partners are aimed to agree to the structure of thereport for the final report for the Leonardo agency, but also to reflect on a probable project of "transfer of innovations", to be able to see how the European countries may adopt our proposals, and how we may help them. This will be realized in the last project meeting bringing together all partners and the responsible person being concerned with the realization.

This development has to be sufficiently finished to be ready for presentation within a European meeting of all the partners as well as political, financial, organisational and social deciders, who are expected to promote and realize our proposals for the European framework for AMAT.

In this finishing meeting the report of the project group will be presented to an extended public and disseminated by different types of media.


Fifth meeting: European meeting "everybody": winter 2011

This meeting is supposed to bring together the project partners and all those who are supposed to work on realization and to profit from the definitive realization of the final project proposal.

Media being invited for dissemination of the results within the EU.

5.European added value.

What is the added value of your project towards a more intensive European cooperation

This project enables the European organizations being involved in AMAT to constructively exchange their knowledge and practice in order to develop a qualitative framework approved by the European Commission. This will lead to transparency and quality control of AMAT for all the involved partys: clients, practitioners, trainers, pupils, social and medical organizations. Political and financial decisions can be based in the future on this framework within the EU. This would lead to more efficient practices in AMAT to more efficient organisation so to open opportunities for real professionals and to simnplify the communication between them and exchange of professionals, training programs and lifelong learning for AMAT from one country to the other within the EU.

6. Impact

What impact do you expect partnership activities to have on (pupils/learners/trainees and staff) and on the participating institutions.

For pupil with a basic qualification in mental health, social or educational domains combined with animal knowledge and experience it will open a way to an European acknowledged professional position in AMAT. For well educated practitioners a European Certification System in lifelong learning, training in AMAT will allow them to adapt the costs according to their qualification and efficiency. For the clients this transparent qualification system allows them to find the professional who meets their special needs in AMAT. For the financing organisations and the political deciders it leads to guarantee professional efficiency and safety and animal security in AMAT according European quality standards.


Project main Focus
 .1. Topics
the main thematic area(s) of our partnership


2. Educational/training fields

4. Horizontal Issues


F. Project Implementations

1.Distribution of tasks

Please explain the distribution of tasks between participating institutions and the competences required from each of them. Also explain how you will ensure the active involvement of all partners in common partnership activities.

Our partners are selected to their competences in practice and training and quality control in AMAT. Specific competences for the functions within this project we will summon up in the first phase of our planning. (for detail we refer to D.4.)

Each involved organisation is responsible for gathering the needed information for the diagnostic phase in his county and has to refer it to the coordinator and present the results in the next meeting. According to their specific competences and interests each partner has to join a European thematic group and has to actively perform one of the tasks defined by this group. By doing this we hope to guarantee to profit from the knowledge and specific competences of all involved organisations and countries within European context.


F.2.Cooperation and Communication

Please explain how effective cooperation and communication between participating institutions will be organised.

Next to the in D.4. described meeting and work planning there will be organised working group contacts by e-mail and via skype. Further there will be personal meetings as described in D.4.

Standard questionnaires will be distributed to support and as tools to prepare and evaluate these meeting activities.


3. Participant's involvement

...The way the diagnostic phase of this project is planned guarantees that all relevant involved persons will be actively involved by the participating organisations according to their specific competences and already underlying research will be introduced by the participating organisations.

Further the type of students and training, namely the lifelong training for adult with a basical profession leads to the fact that mainly within the trainings for AMAT the students are actively involved in training development, training research and evaluation.


F.4. Integration into ongoing activities

A part of the diagnosis phase will be to conduct data from the students, their development within the training programs and the growth of their professional competences in AMAT will be reported from each organisation. In some organisations at the moment their already exists an active participation of the students in research on the training programs on AMAT.(for more information we refer to Annex .......)Some organisation could involve students directly into this projects by proposing a research on the topics related to this project within their trainings thesis.

F.5 Evaluation

During the first meeting the targets of the project will be definitely formulated insuring that the coordinator and the participating organisations will provide the project group with all necessary data for evaluation.

For pupil with a basic qualification in mental health, social or educational domains combined with animal knowledge and experience it will open a way to an European acknowledged professional position in AMAT. For well educated practitioners a European Certification System in lifelong learning, training in AMAT will allow them to adapt the costs according to their qualification and efficiency. For the clients this transparent qualification system allows them to find the professional who meets their special needs in AMAT. For the financing organisations and the political deciders it leads to guarantee professional efficiency and safety and animal security in AMAT according European quality standards.

This project finishes with publication of the multidimensional framework of contents, legal amd organizational Aspects of quality criteria in practice and training in AMAT. How this wil be put in practice in order to lead to the expected impact for on well educated practitioners, clients and financing organisations and political decision makers by establishing a transparent certification system in lifelong training and learning in AMAT should be the subject of a following project like "transfer of innovations”. Within this project the effective impact of the developed framework could be evaluated.

6. Dissemination and the use of results

During the working process all the participating organisations are permanently involved and are asked to disseminate the information within their organisations and local communities and to put into practice the decisions we took with them. By handing over and publishing the intended product of this project, namely the above described framework for practice and training of AMAT within the EU the realization is prepared. In a following step this realization can followed up and evaluated regarding its effect on the wider lifelong learning community. We think that this realization is only effective if realized in the local communities by our partner organizations and sustained by the European political decision makers. This two essential aspects will be positively prepared by this project.

C.2.5. Intensive contacts and work on quality criteria and training issues in AMAT with the FATP, the Fitram and other partners in this project.