The kick-off seminar of EFIL’s workplan 2019 #AFSeffect: Social Impact in and through Exchanges, took place 3-9 March in Amersfoort, Netherlands. Attending the seminar were 22 volunteers from 15 AFS organisations that were highly motivated and invested in understanding the current Social Impact in and through our programmes as well as identify where we can improve.

The group started the week by reflecting on the AFS Network strategy and history and how the seminar was connected to the desired goals of the AFS Network; Developing Active Global Citizens.  After having reflected on the AFS Network strategy and history the participants explored the concept of Social Impact, especially in and through our programmes. After a lot of input the participants came up with their own project ideas on how to improve our programmes by adding certain elements to our programmes. The seminar took place in parallel with the EFIL PD meeting and the participants got the chance to share with the Programme staff their projects while the staff gave them recommendations on their perspective from on operational level.

The concrete outcomes of the seminar were that AFS is in a unique position to give tools to young people to create a positive change. We are not optimizing our potential although there are existing examples of initiatives by AFS Alumni that have resulted in a positive change on society at large. We should look into what we are already doing through our programmes and update the content in order to ensure that we are maximizing our potential of creating social impact. The project ideas of the participants that attended the seminar are based on this idea where they strive to implement in orientations, monthly contacts and overall in the programmes, elements that contribute to the development of students to become active global citizens and create a positive change.

By the end of the week the participants worked on a joint recommendation to send to their organisations and to AFS International on how we can maximize our potential of creating social Impact. The results will be shared with the network ones ready.