Almost 50 young people aged 18-30 participated in the NYCI seminar ‘Engaging with Youth and the World: From Policy to Practice. The seminar took place in the Emmaus Centre in Swords, Co. Dublin on Thursday 29th and Friday 30th April 2010.
The young people explored the new European Youth Strategy, focusing particularly on the field of action Youth and the World. Over the two days they interacted with policy makers from Ireland and Europe, developed new skills through interactive workshops and made concrete recommendations around implementing the youth and the world field of action.
There is a need for policy coherence between education, employment, youth and social inclusion (‘cross-sectoral approach’).
Participants called on the Irish government to support youth work organisations to implement the European Youth Strategy (and provide adequate funding to implement it)
Integrate development education into youth worker’s training
Engaging young people in a critical dialogue when talking about global justice issues. This could also touch upon what sacrifices they think they should make in order to contribute to improving the situation of environment and the ‘majority world’
Influence policy-makers – promote dialogue between young people and decision makers
Electing ‘youth ambassadors’ who would visit elected representatives to hold them to their commitments
One of the most praised concepts was mainstreaming; that is to say, how development education could be incorporated into all aspects of youth work. To that end, a checklist with examples could be compiled
Peer-learning and mentoring, e.g. having experienced people come back as returned workers/volunteers etc to speak to groups of youth workers for instance through Comhlamh, Amnesty Ireland, NYCI, Léargas…
Funding - More accessible funding; one-on-one assistance in filling out applications from national agency; raise profile of national agency; mentoring system where people with experience of the Youth in Action application process can support new applicants
Promote opportunities such as volunteering, education and employment with regions outside Europe
Use of code of conduct on images and messages in development – self monitoring leads to challenge around monitoring the guidelines
Qualified people in each organisation to deliver global justice programmes
A big thank you to all the participants who made the seminar a great success and to the facilitators, note takers and everyone that helped organise the event. Thanks must also go to the policy makers for contributing their expertise: Nessa Childers (MEP); Jim O’Donovan (Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs); Hans Zomer (Dóchas); Carmel Madden (Irish Aid); Christoffer Grønstad (European Youth Forum); Matthias Fiedler (Irish Development Education Association) and Michele Grombeer (Executive Agency, Youth in Action).
(Photos: Emmet Sheerin)
Finally, NYCI would like to thank the European Commission and Irish Aid for funding the seminar and Léargas for their support throughout.
The conference consisted of the following distinct elements:
- Presentation on the European Youth Strategy (Jean-Marie Cullen, NYCI)
- Panel discussions
- Presentation on Youth in the World budget line of Youth in Action (Michele Grombeer, Executive Agency, Youth in Action)
- Findings and recommendations from the roundtable discussions
- Evaluation of the conference by participants