EFIL has been following the topic of migrants and refugees in Europe and is investigating the potential contribution of AFS and EFIL on the topic. The main initiative in this field has been the Study Session ‘Active citizenship in the refugee crisis’ held at the European Youth Centre in Budapest at the end of August 2016. EFIL then decided to share its recent experience in the field with other youth organisations interested in the topic at the Human rights and Migration network meeting, organised by the European Youth Forum. EFIL’s representative there was the EPOT member Noomi Sophie Peter (AFS Germany), who was alos a preparatory team member at the above mentioned Study session.
The meeting took place on 20-23 October in Vienna, with the objective to discuss the direction of the network and decide on the next steps. Especially since the recent rise in migration to Europe has left many organisations with the urge to contribute. The network seeks to give a voice to youth organisations on these topics and aims at showing the potential and resources that youth organisation have and can contribute with.
The network is still being built and developed. The meeting started by getting to know activities and a scenario game by a Swedish organisation called The Young Republic. They are working on Active Citizenship education in Sweden and other countries. After the de-briefing we also got a small introduction into their work and their programme GAMIFY. The second day was dedicated to the introduction of our organisations, sharing of best practices and current projects. There were also inputs by a speaker from the UNHCR, a member of the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe and a field trip to the organisation Don Bosco youth network.
Everyone at the meeting was convinced that it is a very good initiative to start this network and everyone was very motivated. Some organisations have already conducted projects: Don Bosco youth network is organising youth meetings and German courses, in Switzerland young people are organising discussions between young migrants and refugees and leading politicians and in Belgium young refugees can do internships and can volunteer in different NGOs. Noomi presented the outcomes of EFIL’s Study session. Participants at meeting agreed on the fact that the situation in the different European countries varies, but that we can learn a lot with and from each other.
The European Youth Forum is supporting the project and helps to formalise it, but there is still a lot to do. One of the outcomes are working groups on different topics like a coherent strategy, a collection of best practices and a list with all the information of all member organisations.
Noomi’s impressions ‘I found it motivating and inspiring to see all these organisations, people and ideas to shape our societies and work on a more inclusive and youth-friendly world. The network highlights that everyone can contribute and young people should have a voice when it comes to shaping future societies’.
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Photos: ©European youth Forum, ©EFIL