Shaping Europe Together: Youth Seminar in Strasbourg

In a few days, Youth Express Network will be welcoming 45 young people from 15 European countries in Strasbourg for the third and last activity of our Work Plan: “Tog(AE)ther Europe: Living, Working and Shaping Europe Together”.

This activity, supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission, will focus on:

  1. Evaluating the impact of the whole Work Plan 2017 on participants and organisations involved (including the 2 previous activities: “Living Together: Our challenge!” and “Working Together for an Inclusive Europe“);
  2. Giving advocacy and lobbying tools for young people to claim for their rights;
  3. Encouraging youth participation at local, national and European levels;
  4. Raising awareness, among decision-makers, on access to Social Rights of young people;
  5. Promoting the role of young people and youth/social workers to participate to policy-making fostering social inclusion for youth;
  6. Presenting and disseminating the ENTER Recommendation of the Council of Europe.

During this 4-day seminar, the participants will have the opportunity to draft policy recommendations together. Youth Express Network invited representatives of European organisations, authorities and institutions to attend the seminar and listen to the recommendations of our group of Young People and Youth/Social Workers.

Our pan-European Team will be composed of 4 facilitators coming from Bulgaria, France, Italy and Romania. Once again, our adventures will be drawn by Coline Robin, Graphic Reporter.

“Shaping Europe together”
Evaluation seminar

in STRASBOURG (France)

from the 2nd to the 5th of October 2017


Toolkit: Inclusive European Youth Projects

During our last seminar “Working in Europe Together”, the participants (young people and youth workers), brainstormed and developed together a toolkit for inclusion workers engaging young people with fewer opportunities in European projects, Y-E-N projects mainly.

The toolkit conception was the focus of a full afternoon. The facilitating team suggested the World Café methodology to harvest ideas and reflections from the participants. Groups were formed and each of them spent some time brainstorming and sharing good practices and suggestions on 3 specific questions : What should youth workers do? What should young people do? What should Youth Organisations do?

For each of the questions, the participants identified solutions, advices and good practices. Together, they compared their experiences and came up with efficient processes of selection, preparation and follow up for Youth Projects.

You can now find all of these key informations in the Toolkit : Inclusive European Youth Projects, drawn by Coline Robin, the talented graphic facilitator who worked with us in our 2 last projects, Living in Europe Together and Working in Europe Together (see reports here).

This practical booklet is intended to help inclusion workers who work everyday with young people with fewer opportunities in European projects. It aims to enable European youth organisations to reduce the exclusion of young people with fewer opportunities in European individual or group experiences.


Graphic Reports “TOG(AE)THER EUROPE”


The graphic report on our last activity “Working together for an inclusive Europe” is here! It was made by Coline, graphic facilitator, who has been following and drawing us for our past two activities.

You can also read our previous graphic report on the very first activity of this year’s work plan, the youth seminar “Living in Europe Together, our challenge!


Working Together – Day 5

Day 5 was our last day in Timisoara! The program focused on two things: the presentation of the different projects created previously by the participants and the evaluation of the whole week.

In the morning, each group that had developed a project the day before presented their work to the rest of the team. In total, 7 projects were presented.

  1. The Art of Togetherness“: to increase & raise awareness on social rights & inclusion through art.
  2. Participation Through Youth Mobilisation“: to increase youth participation through mobilisation in the Youth Work field.
  3. Don’t be afraid to show your True Colors“: to break stereotypes & increase acceptance & inclusion towards LGBTIA+ in Europe.
  4. CAT: Citizens Against Terrorism“: to raise awareness on extremism & prevent youth to fall into extremism.
  5. EVS for Everybody“: to send & host organisations from European & Eastern Partnership.
  6. Campaign against Cyber-Bullying“: to involve & raise awareness on the issue and train young people and educators to recognise & help victims.
  7. Gender-Based Violence“: to support victims & map the local situations.

The afternoon was dedicated to an evaluation of the 5-days Partnership Building Activity. Overall, the participants felt that they learned a lot and really understood Y-E-N, its work and the opportunities that can come out of being a member of this big family of European organisations. They were able to create several partnerships and created a special bond that, we hope, will allow beautiful projects to see the light.

Our next activity will be the Evaluation Seminar, third and last activity of our annual plan “Tog(ae)ther Europe“. It will take place in Strasbourg during the first week of October 🙂 And we can’t wait to meet everyone again!


Working Together – Day 4

Fourth day of Working Together was the beginning of the development of the participants’ projects.

On the morning, the participants were given a training on Project Management, using the « Project Management Timeline », 10 crucial steps in any project development. After that, they were invited to present individually their personal ideas of projects based on the issues they face at local, national and European level. The topics that came out were human rights for teachers, gender based violence, climate change, sustainability, peace & environment education, active local youth, radicalisation & terrorism, cyber bullying, tolerance, social enterprises, social inclusion through arts, EVS, LGBTQI+ rights, human rights education without language barriers, E.U. and eastern Europe partnerships…

The major part of the day was dedicated to brainstorming in groups. The various topics were packed in 5 different themes and groups were formed. The brainstorming was guided by the “Open Space Technology” (O.S.T.), an approach to purpose-driven leadership. The O.S.T answers to 5 rules : whoever joins the group IS the right person, whatever happens IS the only thing that could have happened, whenever it starts IS the right time to start, when it’s over, it’s over and the last rule, the Law of Two Feet (“If you are not learning or contributing it is your responsibility to respectfully find a place where you are”). Like this, 4 ambitious projects emerged from the common ideas of our participants. The topics selected were: creative methods for social inclusion, active youth to make a change, prevention of terrorism & radicalism for a more tolerant society and LGBTIQ rights & tackling gender based violence.

At the end of the day, the participants were shown a french documentary about new initiatives and new ways of changing the world at local level. The documentary covered the fields of Agriculture, Economy, Energy, Democracy and Education.

The program of this day aimed at giving the youth workers and young people the right impulses to create beautiful projects together and it worked. With 5 big collaborative projects spread in several European countries, Y-E-N has once again allowed organisations to meet and work together!

Working Together – Day 3

During the third day of our Partnership Building Activity, the participants were introduced with more details on Y-E-N’s values and its Vision 2020, the contradictory notions of Integration and Inclusion, and the ENTER Recommendation.

The rest of the day was dedicated to 4 inspiring Study Visits of local social and youth initiatives and local organisations.

The first two visits were located in the same property, an old hat factory rehabilitated and now kept alive by a few beautiful initiatives. Our first stop was at the Non-Profit Social Enterprise AMBASADA. Created on 2014, AMBASADA forms a meeting place for NGO’s, freelancers, artists, musicians, passionate people and, among others, young people with disadvantaged backgrounds. The participants were able to get advices on project guidelines and left the place with a beautiful example of good practice at local level.

We then visited another project installed in a little building a few meters away from Ambassada’s backyard, Basca, a human scaled initiative focused on circus and art. From circus workshops to cultural events such as art festivals, Barca aims at having positive social impact on young people and the community.

The third visit was actually an encounter as we met with Ghita, co-founder of the Butterfly Dreamer Organisation (who also kindly accepted to facilitate our GA a few days before) who presented to our participants the organisation, its network of over 40 organisations throughout the world and their passionate work.

Last but not least, we went on a walk to join Eugen, one of the founders of Youth Express Network. He showed us the office of our member organisation, the Intercultural Institute of Timisoara and explained to us its daily activities, its structure. We also had the chance to hear him tell us the history of the city of Timisoara and its role in the Romanian Revolution in December 1989.

What a day for motivations and productive energy! Day 4 and 5 will be the beginning of the group’s main objective: coming up with projects for Y-E-N’s Work Plan of 2018. They certainly will not be lacking of ideas after this day!

Working Together – Day 2

Day 2 was dedicated to Youth Work. Through various activities, the participants were invited to reflect and define what youth work means for them, what it is and what they think it should be.

After having clarified the stakes and current context of Youth Work at European level (Council of Europe, Europe Union, ENTER Recommendation, Youth Department of the COE, EYF, Salto, Erasmus+), the group was asked to present the specific situation of Youth Work in their country.

In little groups, they introduce to the others the profile and status of their Youth Workers, the challenges they face and the support they can find. Together, they compared the different situations and could thank to that wide perspective draw a realistic map of European Youth Work. They highlighted the common struggles and motivations of European Youth Workers and discovered the many differences and realities of their neighbours.

During the afternoon, the participants worked together on the creation of a toolkit for Youth Workers to implement during the creation of a Youth Projet. They did so with a World Café.

In groups, they brainstormed on three questions: What should youth workers do? What should young people do? What should Youth Organisations do? For each of these questions, they identified solutions to the issues they face daily and imagined efficient processes of selection, preparation and follow up for youth projects.

Thanks to the motivation, collaboration and passion of these youth workers and young people, Y-E-N will be able to produce in a few month an essential toolkit for youth workers and organisation!

Working Together – Day 1

The first day of any Seminar is always intense! It is usually a special day dedicated to discover each other and build the healthy and strong foundations of a productive group.

To do so, the first morning of this week’s activity “Working Together for an Inclusive Europe” started with a few energizers and icebreaking games. Through these, the participants got to discover each other’s passions and learn a little bit about their respective experiences in NGO’s and Youth Work. To prepare themselves for the 5 days of work awaiting, they also were invited to fill the traditional board of Fears, Expectations and Contributions.

The organisation FITT, our host and long time partner of Y-E-N, was then presented to our participants, as well as our local member organisation, the Intercultural Institute of Timisoara. The latter was organising the same morning a “Human Rights start with Breakfast!” conference, and the participants of both events (Y-E-N’s and the conference) were invited to meet in the afternoon for a NGO’S FAIR.

To prepare this meeting, the participants drew posters presenting their organisation, its vision, target groups, methods, etc… The Fair was a great success and our participants were able to exchange some contacts with the people attending the conference.

The afternoon finished on 4 Team Building Activities which called for various skills from the whole group: communication strategy, non-verbal communication, time management, leadership and co-responsibility, problem analysis and resolution, respect and trust…

Our introduction day ended on that cheerful note and an intercultural evening. Already, the group feels cohesive and eager to change the world, “petit à petit”, city by city, all together. 🙂


Working Together: Partnership-Building in Timisoara

Working Together for an Inclusive Europe” is the second activity of our Work Plan “TOG(AE)THER EUROPE“. The main objective of this Partnership-Building Activity is to really raise the capacity of our Network and Member Organisations by working together for a diverse and inclusive Europe.

To achieve this, the 5 days seminar will try to:

  • highlight the impact of local and international Youth Work for Social Inclusion and Diversity
  • develop the network and create new partnerships among the members to claim together for a better access to social rights for young people with less opportunity
  • encourage our member organisations to engage in a coaching strategy for young people in order to implement and share good practice and innovative initiatives at local and European level.

The PBA is currently taking place in Timisoara, Romania. 23 young people are gathered there in the local Youth Center, home of FITT, long time friend organisation and Host of the Activity.

The promotion of mutual understanding and cultural awareness by working together in diversity will be the motto of this activity that will raise the capacity of our members and encourage collaborations within the network.

This project is supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.

Our first experience with graphic recording: WOW!

Our first activity of the year took place earlier this month in Thessaloniki (Greece). This youth seminar entitled “Living in Europe Together” gathered 37 young people from 11 European countries and managed to create an enabling environment for new ideas, youth collaboration and a few promising actions of advocacy.

To recount the week and capture the spirit of the 5-days-activity, we decided to change a little bit our usual method and bring more color to our pedagogical report. To do so, we called on the expertise of Coline, graphic facilitator.

What is graphic recording?

Graphic recording (sometimes referred as reflective graphics, graphic listening…) is a visual process used in various events such as meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences. Its aim is to capture the ideas and expressions of a group or an individual in words, images and colors.

Inspired by architecture, design, computer engineering, art and psychology, graphic recording is often produced in large scale imagery, allowing a work process to be summarized clearly and recorded in real time. This visually translation of complex content allows people to reach their goal with more efficiency and to keep a better lasting memory of the working session.

Graphic recording combines the skills of note-taking, art and story-telling.

Graphic recording

Meet Coline, graphic facilitator

Coline is artist and graphic facilitator. She studied architecture at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais in Paris and at the Technical University of Istanbul. She did a European Voluntary Service in a Berlin-based NGO and is since then active in an international network of creative engaged people. Living between France and Austria, she works from project to project, from country to country.

Visit her portfolio to know more about her work and maybe contact her if you would like to introduce graphic recording in one of your beautiful youth projects 😉

Graphic recording

Living Together: our first activity visually recorded

Graphic recording was definitely an added value during this Youth Seminar and both the participants and the team were enthusiastic about Coline’s work. Between each activity or at the end of an intense day; we could see the participants coming near the drawings, studying them, reliving the things they had participated in with their eyes and really marking their own memories with the whole purpose and conclusions of the day.

It is a fantastic reporting tool which gave life to the participants ideas in real time and allowed them to be even more focused and productive. We can’t wait to repeat the experience in Romania in July for our second activity of the year, the Partnership Building Activity “Working together for an inclusive Europe”.