Democracy Builders – Youth Exchange

From the 1st to the 8th of December, three young people from Youth Express Network took part in the youth exchange Democracy Builders, which brought together 40 young people from 8 different European countries.

Coordinated by one of our Romanian member organisation Association Youth Vision, the event aimed at supporting the active participation of young people in democratic life, developing the dialogue between them and representatives and facilitating understanding of the European legislative process. 

Laura was one of the french participants 🙂 Here’s her take on what happened there 😉

“Over the week, we all reflected about what the European institutions are, like the European bank, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the European Union, and worked in groups on different workshops.

This week was very rewarding for me because I was able to speak in English all week but it still requires a lot of effort. It is important for me to work on topics that concern me to try to make a difference because as they say, youth is the future of tomorrow.

Being able to cut back from my daily life by participating in these kind of event allows me to continue to progress and to make the voices of young people heard.”

This project was supported by
the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union

Full member of the European Youth Forum!

It’s official!! Youth Express Network is now a full member of the European Youth Forum!

Between the 21-23 of November 2019, our president and 3 other members of our Board attended the European Youth Forum’s Council of Members 2019, in Amiens, France. Among many topics discussed and voted by the members of the YFJ, one point of the agenda marked a milestone for Youth Express Network: the official approval of our Full membership!

For the past decade, many current and former board members, coordination office members and member organisations contributed and worked on this membership process!

This membership will allow the network to make the voices of young people heard at an even bigger scale: over 100 youth organisations all united to represent and advocate for the young European people’s needs and interests.

“The vision of the European Youth Forum is to be the voice of young people in Europe, where young people are equal citizens and are encouraged and supported to achieve their fullest potential as global citizens.” – European Youth Forum

Here’s to new cooperations and continuing to make the voices of Youth heard, recognised, valued and appreciated!

💪

Digitalise-it: local workshops and evaluation meeting

Our KA2 Strategic Partnership project “Digitalise it!” has now come to an end! Before we officially close it, here’s a look-back on the last impacts it had on Youth Express Network: the implementation of local workshops using Digital Storytelling.

Local workshops


One-shot movie – In May 2018, Emmeline (Y-E-N Network Coordinator) organized an improvised workshop on digital storytelling within the Training of Trainers « The Art of Togetherness ». The workshop invited a few trainers to learn about the structure of a story and the filming techniques. The results of the workshop are 3 one-shot movies realized in duos.

Photo storytelling – In April 2019, Y-E-N Office team led a series of 3 workshops with young migrants and refugees from the organization « Ateliers Vagabonds ». The participants could learn the techniques for photo making such as the rules of composition and storytelling through photo. By the end of the 3 workshops, they created 2 photo stories.

Pocket Films – In May 2019, Margaux (Y-E-N Communication Officer) and expert trainer Leo Zbanke, led a workshop on the creation of pocket films (short films made with smart phones) in the frame of the event « 24H Europe » organized by Arte, Strasbourg Eurométropole and Europe Creative.

Storytelling on mobility – In June 2019, Y-E-N and Parcours le Monde – Grand Est partnered to organize a 1-day long workshop for young people who participated in mobilities with the 2 organizations. Emmeline from Y-E-N and Cécile from PLM-GE, invited the participants to reflect on their personal story by several means: oral and visual. By the end of the day, they all wrote their mobility story.

Media literacy and creation of memes – In October 2019, Y-E-N Office team led a series of 3 workshops on the creation of memes and reflection on media literacy with school pupils. These workshops were organized in the frame of the « World Forum for Democracy » Off program of the Municipality of Strasbourg.

Closing

Between the 4th and 6th of November 2019, the partners of our KA2 Strategic Partnership project “Digitalise it!” gathered in Strasbourg, France, to close the project with a final evaluation meeting.

During 3 days, the partners of “Digitalise it!” evaluated the 2-year long partnership on Digital storytelling: 2 Training Courses, 2 Study Visits, 3 transnational meetings, many local workshops implemented by each of the partners.

Our partner’s local workshops and dissemination

You can read here the article our partner wrote regarding their participation to “Digitalise it!” and find more on the impact it had on each organisation:

 

Toolkit on Digital Storytelling

The last result of this fruitful project will be a Toolkit gathering methods and activities on digital Storytelling. It will be published and available at the beginning of 2020 !

This project is supported by
the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union
and the Région Grand Est (France).

Take a Way Box! – Day 2

Second and last day of our evaluation meeting “Take a Way Box!”: time to look back at what happened, reflect, evaluate the work plan, and plan for the future!

Back to the future

During the first session of the day, the participants were split in 6 different groups in order to reflect on their participation to the work plan “Shake the Box!”. Through a World Café, they were invited to answer 6 questions and share their experiences and conclusions on Youth Participation: What impact did your action have on the community? How was the collaboration between youth/youth workers/stakeholders? ; What advice would you give to a person/team working on a similar activity?; How did the action impact you in a personal/professional level?; What are you most proud of?; What are the future plans of your NGO?

Opportunities

In order to give the participants informations on financial opportunities and help them concretize their ideas of Youth Participation, the second session focused on presenting two of our financial supporters. Céline Guth for the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe introduced the Foundation and the various grants and opportunities that are available to fund youth initiatives. The team of facilitators then introduced several opportunities delivered by the European Union such as the Erasmus+ programme or the European Solidarity Corps.

Advocacy and Communication

The afternoon started with a session on the different communication tools that can be used as a way to advocate for young people. Margaux Dos Santos, Communication Officer of Youth Express Network, shared with the group the communication strategy of the network. She also gave a recap of the various communication strategies that were used during the work plan “Shake the Box!”, by the network and the various youth organisations involved in the project. At the end of the session, the participants shared their own tips and good practices on communication, creating together a Communication Toolbox.

Evaluation and closing

The last session aimed at evaluating the meeting and the work plan through various forms and methods. Certificates were given in a warm closing ceremony and the participants shared a Farewell evening.

The evaluation meeting “Take a Way Box!” marked the end of our year-long work plan “Shake the Box! – Alternative ways of participation”.

Thanks to the work and involvement of 22 different youth organisations coming from 16 different countries, we proved together that youth participation is happening right now, all over Europe, and that it can take many forms: 21 youth initiatives were implemented and 2 are currently in progress; the actions addressed major issues and topics such as the environmental crisis, social inclusion or education!

This work plan succeeded in showing the issues that young people feel concerned about and the will they share to have a positive impact on their community and change their realities! Youth participation IS real, efficient and promising!

« Shake the Box! Alternative ways of participation » is supported by
the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
and the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

Categories

Take a Way Box! – Day 1

Our evaluation meeting “Take a Way Box!” will be happening in Strasbourg, France, for the next 2 days! Gathering 64 people, this meeting is the third and last activity of the work plan “Shake the Box! – Alternative ways of Participation“.

Young people, youth workers and external stakeholders are attending this event to share their experiences of Youth Participation in the frame of our work plan and to evaluate its whole process and impacts. 

Opening and (re)connecting

During the first session of the day, the team of facilitators introduced the programme and aim of the 2-day evaluation meeting “Take a Way Box!”. The group of participants was shown the videos made during the two previous activities of the Work Plan: the seminar “Participation out of the Box!” and the training course for young people “Participation Toolbox!”. They then got to know each other better thanks to an icebreaker activity.

Time to present

The next session allowed each of the delegations (1 young person, 1 youth worker and 1 external stakeholder) to present to the rest of the group the local action they had implemented at local level in the frame of the long term project. In total, 23 actions were developed in 16 different countries over the past months.

These actions tackled issues and topics such as: environment, social inclusion of vulnerable groups, gender issues and discrimination towards/within the LGBTQIA+ community, non-formal education, youth participation and youth empowerment, health and mental health, intercultural learning and European mobility opportunities…

Meeting with European Stakeholders

During the afternoon, the group recieved the visit of representatives of European institutions and stakeholders: 

  • Patricia Gaspar, General Consul of Portugal in Strasbourg
  • Lucille Ehrhart, assistant of MEP Anne Sander
  • Joao Pereira, Programme Adviser at the CoE Unit on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Emma Smith, Assistant at the CoE Unit on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

To present their work on Youth Participation, the group was divided in three thematic groups according to the topic of their local actions: Environment; Development of soft skills for young people + access to public spaces; Access to health + inequalities and fundamental rights.

Each group got to present their initiatives to the stakeholders, explaining the challenges and successes they had faced during the whole process. Following these presentations, the participants were invited to ask questions to the representatives, share their realities and hear their advices on how to reach decision makers and involve them in their actions.

« Shake the Box! Alternative ways of participation » is supported by
the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
and the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

Categories

ENTER Youth Week: a message from the Youth

In July, Youth Express Network took part in the Enter Youth Week organised by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, at the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe.

During 4 days, hundreds of young people and youth workers from all over Europe reviewed and worked on the ENTER recommendation, evaluating its implementation at local, national and European level.

As a result of this meeting, the young people and youth workers crafted a message, delivered at the end of the gathering and transmitted to the European decision makers

READ THE MESSAGE HERE

Watch the daily vlogs of the ENTER Youth Week here!

Crossing Borders: youth exchange on the Camino

Aside from our work plan activities and the final seminar of our long-term project EU4YOU, Youth Express Network also took part in a unique Youth Exchange: “Crossing Borders”.

In June, Youth Express Network sent 5 participants to the “Crossing Borders” youth exchange, coordinated by our Spanish partner Xeración.

This Youth Exchange focused on tackling current topics such as migration, integration, identity and solidarity in a unique and original way: a mental and physical journey of 9 days on the English Camino to Santiago.

The project also included Storytelling as a tool to connect people and to tackle prejudices. It ended with an exhibition of the creations of the participants, testimonies of their experience on the Camino: stories, pictures, videos and various work of art.

This project was supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union

Participation Toolbox! – DAY 7

Last day of our training course “Participation Toolbox!”: time for harvesting the fruits of a week of work on Alternative youth participation, planning the next steps, and saying goodbye.

Debriefing the action

In the morning, the group shared about their Action day. They reflected on what went well and what went wrong, shared what made them proud, listed the things they learned from this experience.

 

My Action Plan…

The next session was about reflecting and laying on paper an Action to implement at local level. Art, mental health awareness, environmental issues, social inclusion… many ideas were shared during this inspiring time.

 

Evaluation and closing

An online evaluation form, a round of emotional last words and a certificate ceremony finally closed this 7-day training course. This week open new ideas on our young participants’ minds and from here will continue our work plan, “Shake the Box! – Alternative ways of participation”. Stay tuned for the next phases of the project: the implementation of Actions at local level and a final seminar gathering all stakeholders of the project.

« Shake the Box! Alternative ways of participation » is supported by
the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
and the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

Participation Toolbox! – DAY 6

After 5 days of learning theories, techniques and methods on Alternative ways of participation and advocacy, the participants of our training course “Participation Toolbox!” had the opportunity to put their knowledge in practice: time to implement an actual Action, in the heart of Berlin.

Last preparations

During the first half of the day, the group divided into 4 teams in order to prepare the Action that was to take place later on, in the city centre. The 4 teams and activities were: the train trash (performance), the trash dinner (performance), the quizz (live survey), and the communication team (posters, online communication, hashtags and trends).

And… ACTION!

The Action took place in Alexanderplatz. It was entitled “The solution is less pollution” and composed of 4 different activities. The first one was the “train trash”, a performance aiming at raising awareness on the harmful habit of throwing trash on the streets. The second performance was called “trash dinner”. It highlighted the issue of plastic waste ending up in our food chain. The third activity consisted in a innovative survey on climate change, good and bad environmental habit: Berliners were invited to give their opinion and answers by putting a piece of trash in “Yes” and “No” garbage bags. Finally, the whole Action was illustrated by colourful and impactful posters.

You can find pictures of the event on our Facebook page!
Video to come!

« Shake the Box! Alternative ways of participation » is supported by
the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
and the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

Participation Toolbox! – DAY 5

Our training course “Participation Toolbox!” entered its final phase on this fifth day of training. After sharing the last examples and results, the group started planning their very own group Action!

Debriefing and sharing experience

The first part of the day consisted in debriefing the visit day in a plenary session. The participants could share their thoughts about the two initiatives they discovered on day 4. They also had the opportunity of sharing their own local experiences, and talk about the organisations or initiatives they are involved in back in their cities.

Tackling the local issues

The next session focused on closing the group reflections on the participant’s local issues and challenges. In groups, they presented the solutions they came up with, solutions that they will work on implementing at local level.

Start the action!

The whole afternoon was dedicated to start the planning of the group’s action which would take place on the next day (DAY 6). The group brainstormed to choose together a cause to raise awareness on: they chose Environment (specifically the diminution of trash and waste) and called their action “The solution is less pollution”. They imagined various actions to be implemented in the city centre of Berlin: posters, two separate performances, and a survey. To be continued…

« Shake the Box! Alternative ways of participation » is supported by
the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
and the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.