„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“

AN OVERVIEW OF THE ACTIVITIES OF BRUSSELS OFFICE IN APRIL

29th April 2021

This month of April was an intense moment for the work of the YMCA Europe Brussels office, especially under the advocacy point of view.

Many consultations and statutory meetings were organised to build our platform of requests to institutional actors and many other stakeholders.

Have a look at how we brought our young people's voice to the table this April!

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Consultation on the next funding model for Humanitarian Aid Volunteers

On the 1st of April, the YMCA Europe Brussels Office participated in a consultation on a new model of costs for the Humanitarian Aid Volunteer strand of the European Solidarity Corps.

Considering the specific nature of volunteering outside Europe in emergency area, the Office brought to the consultation the perspective of the YMCAs involved in such projects, and their needs.

We brought concerns regarding the inclusion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in volunteering opportunities, and the need for funding to enable close mentorship and support.

Consultation on the state of youth rights in Europe

On April 2nd, the YMCA Europe Brussels Office participated to the European Youth Forum consultation of its members on the state of youth rights in Europe.

Thanks to the recent consultation of our young people on the new Strategy, the Office was able to bring the results of the discussion we had with young people from around 23 countries in Europe, highlighting priorities and needs.

The results of the consultation will appear in a report in a few months.

YLSI work on European panel

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The YMCA Europe Brussels Office had three meetings during the month of April to cooperate with the World Alliance of YMCAs in identifying important European institutional stakeholders for a panel to be presented in the context of the Youth Led Solutions Summit dedicated to the Future of Work.

The Summit, which will take place from June 7th to June 9th, will have many important global stakeholders discussing the new trends regarding work and the rights of young people to access it.

COMEM

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On April 18th and April 19th our YPG members Alex Taylor and Katerina Lokoupolou participated as official delegates to the European Youth Forum Council of Members.

The important statutory meeting featured the admission of new full members to the YFJ, but also important discussions about new roles and strategies for the advocacy of the European Youth Forum.

We gave our feedback focusing on social rights, mental health and support for disadvantaged groups, according to the broad directions of our new strategy.

A new Advisory Council on Youth for the Council of Europe was also elected with 20 members.

Programme Group Consultation

The Brussels Office participated on February 22nd to the consultation organised by YMCA Europe on the new YMCA Europe Strategy, bringing the views of the Youth Policy Group, the Programme Group on Advocacy.

The Group gave feedback on the overall Strategy and especially on the parts regarding Representation and Relevance, aiming at an Advocacy Work Plan in the years ahead, to work upon with other YMCA Europe bodies and member organisations.

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Meeting on funding possibilities for a refugee project

The Brussels Office consulted with the Chair of the Working Group on Migrants and Refugees to explore fundraising possibilities for refugee work in Europe.

This gave us an opportunity to explore new funding programmes just published by the European Union, such as the new Erasmus+ Programme, the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV) and the new AMF programme.

The Global Youth Summit: in our young people’s words

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During the weekend of April 23-25 YMCA Europe Brussels Office participated, along with the YMCA youth delegation, to the Global Youth Summit, organised by the Big 6 and WHO.

Our Youth Policy Group member Mirjami Kallinen participated too, and this is her testimony:

“The Global Youth Summit was incredibly thought-provoking and forward-facing. The sense of community and one world, one people was so strong, when we gathered together to gain knowledge, empathy and strength for the future. One thought that stayed in my mind during the whole summit was that the time to act is not next week or tomorrow, but here and now. The sessions I chose to participate in (and I truly mean actively participate - I'm pretty sure I exhausted the chat with my thoughts and questions) were mostly related to health, mental well being, gender-related issues and the digital divide. What I loved most about the summit is that it wasn’t just talk and hype: we heard of incredibly concrete solutions and actions from around the world to be adjusted and utilize within our own communities. I am proud to be a part of this group of activists and workers from around the globe!”

Future of Europe coordination meeting on Social Rights

Between April 20th and 22nd , the YMCA Europe Brussels Office participated to a series of coordination meetings to draft a common European Youth Forum position on the Future of Europe Consultation, soon starting.

The Future of Europe is a structured consultation the EU will hold with all levels of society, in as a direct way as possible, to determine EU citizens’ wishes about competencies and future trajectories and aspirations for the EU.

We as YMCA have been present from the start of this process, and we will continue to see it through, to make sure the voice of our young people is heard in this very defining  moment in the future of the European Union.

EYF consultation on greening youth sector

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On April 27th the Brussels Office participated in a consultation held by the European Youth Foundation through the Task Force of the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ).

The consultation verted on the draft of guidelines for introducing the perspectives of climate neutrality and sustainability as well as the “greening” to the Youth for Democracy programme.

YMCA Europe Brussels Office participated to an initial review of best practice of green checklists, and provide feedback on the draft sustainability checklist, drawing from the work done in the context of the World Alliance of YMCAs Resource Group for the Environment and the example of the Asian Alliance of YMCAs and their practice of greening, but laos the discussions held in the taskforce for COP26.

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