9.6 Intercontinental youth work and development cooperation
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Bilateral cooperation between Flanders and South Africa
Since 1996, there is a cooperation on youth matters between Flanders and South Africa.
The cooperation between the Department of Culture, Youth and Media of the Flemish Government and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) of South Africa focuses on voluntary work of young people and civil society.
They are also working on a publication about 20 years of cooperation, which will be published in 2019.
Bilateral cooperation between Flanders and Viet Nam
In October 2018, Flanders and Viet Nam signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to initiate bilateral cooperation in several fields, including youth. Both countries agreed to promote cooperation on the implementation of the UN World Programme of Action for Youth. Viet Nam and Flanders will furthermore review the status of children’s rights in their respective countries and focus their cooperation on promoting sustainability, in particular the Sustainable Development Goals.
Funding program global youth projects
The Flemish Government had an additional funding program for youth projects in the context of North-South cooperation. It provided opportunities for youth groups to run a project with a partner from a country on the DAC list of the OECD.
This funding program stopped in 2012, because the Flemish Parliament Act of 20 January 2012 on conducting a renewed policy on youth and children’s rights did not provide grants for international youth projects.
However, there are funding programs for international projects and youth work cooperation offered by JINT vzw.
Since 1989, the Flemish Government supports the Flemish coordinating agency for international youth work, JINT. The Flemish Government subsidises JINT through the Flemish Parliament Act of 20 January 2012 on conducting a renewed policy on youth and children's rights.
JINT was established to implement the European Youth programmes within the Flemish Community, to promote international exchange and cooperation of, for and by youth and to foster the reflection on youth, youth work a youth and children’s rights policy by all actors involved on the basis of international exchange and cooperation.
JINT does not only focus on projects within the EU, but promotes all international learning mobility through its websites, newsletters and publications.
In addition, JINT is the Flemish coordinating body for international youth work and the National Agency for the Erasmus+ Youth in Action Programme in Flanders. The youth section of Erasmus+ is called Youth in Action. It funds projects for and by young people and youth organisations. It has a separate budget and specific project possibilities.
JINT is furthermore responsible as National Agency for the implementation and follow-up of projects under the European Solidarity Corps. The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects that benefit communities and people around and beyond Europe. Topics for projects that the European Solidarity Corps could support, are e.g. citizenship and democratic participation, inclusion, environment and natural protection, education and training, creativity and culture and entrepreneurship and employment. The European Solidarity Corps includes a strong international dimension (i.e. cooperation with partner countries, through involvement of young people and organisations) under its volunteering strand.
Several Flemish-funded organisations encourage young people to participate in development cooperation activities either in their country of residence or abroad. For example: :
In Flanders, JINT guides young people across borders under the flag Go Strange. Young people with plans to travel abroad can find international exchange possibilities, such as volunteering, volunteering in development cooperation projects, studying and internships, on the website of Go Strange. Flemish organisations involve volunteers in their development cooperation projects. Sometimes, there are calls for volunteers to work in the South.
In 2015, there was a research (cijferonderzoek) on the numbers of Go Strange participants. 6.442 Flemish young people aged between 14 and 30 went abroad for an international experience via a Flemish organisation. 23% of these young people (1.512 young people) did international volunteer work.
JINT supports Go Strange and young people with plans to travel abroad through the Youth in Action-program of Erasmus+.
Bouworde vzw (Building order)
Building order (Bouworde) allows young people to approach the world differently by enabling them to volunteer in social, technical or ecological projects abroad. Bouworde strives for a world where basic rights for everyone will be respected. During a social ‘building camp’, volunteers will help others. During a technical camp, volunteers will help with building or renovation. An ecological camp focuses on working in and for nature.
This programme offers different opportunities for 15-17 year olds, 18-30 year olds, groups and schools and organises active voluntarily trips. Bouworde owns 114 volunteer camps in 38 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Bouworde is a national organised youth association funded by the Flemish Government.
Youth service Don Bosco
Youth service Don Bosco (Jeugddienst Don Bosco) supports young people to do volunteer work and offers training initiatives and various forms of leisure activities. Youth service Don Bosco also offers youth projects, youth exchanges, training projects or individual volunteer work in Europe, Africa, Asia and South-America.
Every year, youth service Don Bosco prepares nearly five hundred young people to do voluntary youth work.
Youth service Don Bosco is a national organised youth association funded by the Flemish Government. The international secretariat of Don Bosco is financially supported by the European Union, through its ‘Erasmus+ Youth in Action’-programme.