Structured dialogue: sharing our experience

We were invited last Monday to take part in the Seminar “Shaping European Youth Policies in Theory and Practice”, co-organised by the French and Croatian agencies and supported by the EU-CoE youth partnership.

There, we presented our annual Work Plan of 2017 “TOG(AE)THER EUROPE : Living, working and shaping Europe together”, its challenges and results. The interaction with the participants allowed us to give them advices on how to implement European projects in link with Youth. We also got to hear about other local and national realities concerning the development of these projects in other countries.

Tog(AE)ther Europe, when young people meet policy makers

Co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission and the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe, our long term project of 2017, “Tog(AE)ther Europe“, aimed at promoting social inclusion for young europeans and their access to social rights, as well as giving them the opportunity and space to meet and interact directly with policy makers.

Some of the results of this project were:

  • the development by the young people of 9 Action Plans to implement at local level
  • the concrete implementation (to this day) of 2 of their Action Plans, in Italy and in Spain
  • the development by the young people of 5 examples of concrete actions to suggest to the policy makers
  • the candidacy of one of the young people to the municipal elections of his city, Dordrecht (The Netherlands)
  • several meetings between our young participants and policy makers: 7 in total.

Our difficulty : reaching the European policy makers!

During this project, we faced a major issue: out of 60 invitations sent directly to the MEPs and PACE members, we were concerned to see that none of them came to meet our young participants. This observation convinced us to write and address them an open letter in order to inform them of their passiveness towards young people involved and willing to take part in the decisions of Europe.

Our advice on Structured Dialogue projects

We were able to advice the participants of the seminar to focus their attention and efforts on local policy makers (as opposed to European policy makers who don’t always show enough interest).

Local policy makers are often willing to meet with European young people and hear their suggestions. We hope our advice will help other organisations to find success with their projects.

Cross-border activity in Strasbourg

This week, Youth Express Network hosted its first cross-border project of the year. This German-French thematic visit was organised in collaboration with our long-time partners Arbeit und Leben in Bayern and the OFAJ-DFJW.

The group of young people was composed of 13 vocational school students from Weiden, Germany. Aspiring to become specialised educators, they spent 5 days in Strasbourg were they met with french young people studying in the same field.

During these 5 days, they were given the opportunity to visit Strasbourg and its museum and European Parliament. They also visited the IFCAAD – a french school dedicated to social and educational work – a French-German kindergarden and our member organisation Association l’Etage.

Next week, we will welcome another group for a thematic visit on the food profession.

Tell your Y-E-N Story [Facebook Challenge]

At the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Youth Express Network, we wanted to tell our story. Above all, we want to hear the stories of the people who joined us through our exciting adventures towards Youth Inclusion!

To give to our online community the opportunity to share bits of their Y-E-N stories, we launched a Facebook Challenge. Through it, we hope to read lots of anecdotes throughout the year: the stories of how they met Youth Express Network? The stories of their best memories with the Y-E-N family? The most memorable projects they participated to..

If you would like to take part in this online storytelling experience, here’s how the Youth Express Challenge works:

– Write your little story as a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram post. Don’t hesitate to add pictures or videos
– Tag your Y-E-N friends and invite them to tell their story as well
– Use the #youthexpresschallenge on your post. It will allow us to collect all of your testimonies afterwards
– Copy these instructions somewhere on your post for your friends to continue the chain

We can’t wait to read your stories!

READ THE STORIES HERE!

Digitalise it!: Kick-off meeting

On February 24th and 25th, the 6 partner organisations of Y-E-N long-term project « DIGITALISE IT » (KA2 Strategic Partnership – Exchange of Practices) gathered in Strasbourg for the kick-off meeting!

This meeting was the occasion for the partners to recall the aim, objectives, steps and expected results of the project, but also to set important management and financial rules in order to launch the project for good!

The partners also had the chance to meet with Leo Zbanke, expert in digital storytelling, who will be in charge of the pedagogical content of the 2 trainings on digital storytelling that will occur in 2018: the first one will be a training for youth workers which will take place in April 2018 in Ostia-Rome (Italy), and the second will be a training for young people that will take place in July 2018 in Strasbourg (France).

The project will go on in 2019 for more international activities but also experimentations at local level with the digital storytelling tool!

Stay tuned!

Project supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission

Dear MEPs and PACE members, this is our Open Letter

In 2017, we coordinated the project “TOG(AE)THER in Europe: Living, working and shaping Europe together” financially supported by the Erasmus + programme of the European Commission and the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe. The project aimed at advocating and lobbying for the social inclusion and access to social rights of young people in Europe, by empowering them and providing them a space to meet and dialogue with policy-makers.

During this project, we confirmed once again that young people are ready and willing to share their ideas and needs of the present and future. Unfortunately, we were disappointed to find out that no member of the European Parliament came to meet with them to listen to their needs and ideas or engage into dialogue with them. The invitation was sent 2 months prior to the event to 60 European decision-makers (MEPs and PACE members).

We decided to send them an Open Letter. Here’s that letter.

ACTION DAY #2: Think Healthy!

Youth Express Network uses the ENTER Recommendation as a tool for advocacy on access to Social Rights for Young People. This year, and to celebrate our 25th year of successfully working towards youth inclusion, we wanted to put a spotlight on some of those recommendations by, each month, initiating or communicating on 1 action related to 1 recommendation. 1 month / 1 recommendation / 1 action.

ENTER recommendation #2:
Promoting healthy lifestyle.

In February, we wanted to focus on the Recommendation on Health: « Promoting Healthy Lifestyle ». We asked our Azerbaijani member organisation Common Sense Youth Organisation (CSYO) to be part of this challenge!

Think Healthy!

CSYO has been involved in awareness campaigns on the risks of smoking for years now, a cause that has more recently been addressed by the Azerbaijani Government which passed a law against smoking in public spaces. For theses reasons, CSYO made their Action Day a Movie Day, and invited their Young People to a projection and debate around the film “Thank You for Smoking”, a satirical comedy on the Tobacco Lobby.

PHOTO ALBUM HERE

This action day is part of the 25 years project. Learn more on this project here: http://youthexpressnetwork.org/25-years-project/
Have a look on the ENTER rec. here: https://www.coe.int/en/web/enter/the-recommendation

EU4YOU – Kick-off meeting in Bulgaria

Our first meeting of the year took place in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, at the end of January. It was the Kick-off meeting of our Capacity Building project “EntreprenEUrship for CultYOUre” (EU4YOU), hosted by Active Bulgarian Society (ABS). This seminar gathered social workers from 8 different organisations coming from Argentina, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Lithuania, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.

This international project will last for 2 years. It will allow its 8 partners to share good practices in order to develop innovative complementary pathways for boosting employability of young people through social youth entrepreneurship, as well as to provide them with tools for cultural entrepreneurship.

During this 7 days meeting, the participants got to know each other, the various organisations involved and the ins and outs of the project.

Together, they developed an action plan for the future months. Find here bellow a timeline of the chronological timeline of the project EU4YOU.

They also got to share some Team Building activities, meet with guests from Blagoevgrad region, visit the city and surroundings. As an introduction exercice, they developed in small groups five ideas for social enterprises which were later presented to all the partners and discussed in detail.

One of the result of the 2-year-long project will be a Toolkit on social entrepreneurship and cultural management, giving practical directions to young people on how to create, manage and sustain an enterprise.

Watch the video that was made by ABS volunteers during the seminar:

READ MORE ON ABS’ ARTICLE

EU4YOU is supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission

ACTION DAY #1: Your voice matters!

Youth Express Network uses the ENTER Recommendation as a tool for advocacy on access to Social Rights for Young People. This year, and to celebrate our 25th year of successfully working towards youth inclusion, we wanted to put a spotlight on some of those recommendations by, each month, initiating or communicating on 1 action related to 1 recommendation. 1 month / 1 recommendation / 1 action.

ENTER recommendation #1:
Promoting meaningful participation opportunities in the planning & management of their living environment.

2017 gave us a taste of structured dialogue, but in 2018 we want to take it a step further. As part of the European Working Group on structured dialogue with young people, Youth Express Network is running an online consultation to find out what matters to young people and to give them space to have a direct say in the future of the EU youth policies & the EU Youth Strategy 2019+.

Young people! Make your voice heard!

FILL THE FORM HERE

This action day is part of the 25 years project. Learn more on this project here: http://youthexpressnetwork.org/25-years-project/
Have a look on the ENTER rec. here: https://www.coe.int/en/web/enter/the-recommendation

2018 will be special!

In a few days, Youth Express Network will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of its creation! A quarter of a century! To make it count, we planned great surprises, and the show starts Today!

For 25 years now, Youth Express Network has been working with youth organisations from all over Europe. Since its creation, the network has developed more than a hundred international, European and local projects together with its member organisations and partners.

To mark this special anniversary, we wanted to tell our story. The story of a network and how it all started, the stories of the young people who contributed to build the network, family stories, stories of our projects, sometimes crazy ones, stories of Youth, from 1993 until now.

2018 will be a year to remember. Stay tuned on all of our social medias where we will post videos, pictures, challenges and action days every months.

Watch the 1st Chapter of our video project here:

Brigitte_Ludmann

All of the stories

Joint venture for ENTER ADVocacy!

Between the 13th and 17th of November, Youth Express Network and Youth Social Rights Network met at the European Youth Centre of Strasbourg to hold the study session: “ADV-ENT-ure: Joint venture for ENTER ADVocacy!”. This Study Session, supported by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, gathered 28 young people coming from 19 different countries!

The objective of the Study Session was to reach Youth Councils and Youth Organisations working closely with authorities at local and national level and to increase their capacities to improve the access on social rights of young people and the implementation of the ENTER Recommendation.

Day 1 – Getting to know each other and building a team

During DAY 1, the participants got to discover and get familiar with the programme and each other. Answering various questions, the group was able to understand the main aim and different objectives of the Study Session and reflect on various relevant topics such as inclusion, social rights, youth work and non-formal education. They also had the opportunity to express their fears, expectations and contributions regarding the programme and 5 days to come. The afternoon was dedicated to Team Building and the young people were challenged by the team of facilitators to accomplish an Impossible Mission, which they did! Later this day, they were invited to present their youth organisation or youth councils to the others and get to know each other a bit more. The day ended with the traditional intercultural evening during which the 19 attending countries were presented!

Day 2 – ENTERing Dignityland

DAY 2 started with a game of ENTER Dignityland! This cards game of Human Rights education was created by the Youth Sector of the Council of Europe. It helped the participants get more familiar with social rights and the process of decision-making. The participants were then divided in nationalities to create in groups a portrait of their national/local realities. Some of the issues mentioned were common to the majority of the represented countries. These main fields of action were identified: employment, right to organise, movement of people, non-discrimination, education, fair work conditions and collective rights. For each of these topics, the participants were then asked to share and exchange good practices. After that, the group had the visit of Rui Gomes, Head of Education and Training at the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, who kindly came to present the Council of Europe and the ENTER project. The second day ended with a Quizz evening with the No Hate Speech Movement.

Day 3 – Participation, digital storytelling and local Youth Councils

The team of facilitators started DAY 3 by introducing the Ladder of Citizen Participation of Sherry R. Arnstein. With this illustration of the eight recognisable types of participation in mind, the participants were invited to reflect on Youth Councils and their scope of action depending on their local/national context. The following activity required all of the creativity and ideas of the young people. In little groups, they filmed short videos on the access to Social Rights. On the afternoon, the group welcomed representatives of the Youth Council of the Municipality of Strasbourg. The teenagers presented their work at local level and answered the questions of our participants. In the evening, all of the members of the Study Session went out in the city centre of Strasbourg to have dinner in a typical Alsatian restaurant.

Day 4 – Advocacy: taking action

The morning of DAY 4 allowed the participants to go deeper on the definition of Youth Councils. With a Fishbowl discussion, they reflected on what is a youth councils and shared on their local practices. The rest of DAY 4 was focused on Advocacy and how to actually take action to make a change. The facilitating team first presented the various steps towards Advocacy, thus giving to the participants a concrete direction for their future plans of action. The group then had the visit of two representatives of the European Youth Foundation who explained to them how to finance their future youth projects. On the last part of the day, the group divided in 3 to start the development of their final tools destined to Young People, Youth Councils and Youth Organisation.

Day 5 – Three tools for a better access of Social Rights

Our Study Session ADV-ENT-ure ended here with the 5th day. This last day was dedicated to the realisation and final presentation of the tools created by the participant to help Youth Councils and Youth Organisation support their local authorities and convince them to implement the ENTER Recommendation, increasing therefore the access on social rights of young people. The tree tools created were: an open letter, a more youth-friendly version of the Recommendation and an online assessment tool destined to youth organisations and youth councils. The day ended with an evaluation of the 5 days of work.

The young people who participated in this Study Session will continue working on these 3 tools and deliver them to the Council of Europe once they’re finished. This Study Session was the first joint project of Youth Express Network and Youth Social Rights Network and we are happy to have united our strength and worked together towards a better access to Social Rights for Young People.

Full photo album here

This Study Session was supported by
the Youth Department of the Council of Europe