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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.6 Intercontinental youth work and development cooperation

Last update: 29 March 2024

Intercontinental youth work cooperation

In this section, we will present the bilateral and global programmes for intercontinental youth work cooperation.

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. 

Since 1996, the Culture, Youth and Media Department and the South African National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) have participated in a Youth Sub-Committee. This means that both youth administrations mutually agree on themes and work programmes around which cooperation takes place over a certain period of time.

The first work programmes mainly focused on capacity development of libraries and non-formal adult education and on capacity development of young South Africans to develop youth policies. Afterwards, a cross-cutting approach of youth, socio-cultural work, arts, heritage and sports was adopted. Thus, four local community centres were 'adopted', focusing on youth, culture and sports.

As a final step in this cooperation, a report was prepared on the 20-year history of cooperation between South Africa and Flanders. 

This joint report by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in South Africa and the Culture, Youth and Media Department of the Flemish government takes a brief look at the cooperation over the past 20 years.

Bilateral cooperation between Flanders and Vietnam

In October 2018, Flanders and Vietnam 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. Vietnam 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 provided 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 Development Assistance Committee (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, the Flemish coordinating agency for international youth work supported by the Flemish Government supports since 1989.  

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 and 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. 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. 

Development cooperation activities

Several Flemish-funded organisations encourage young people to participate in development cooperation activities either in their country of residence or abroad. Some examples are presented below.

Go strange

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. 

JINT supports Go Strange and young people with plans to travel abroad through the Erasmus+ Youth programme.

Bouworde vzw (Building order)

Building order (Bouworde vzw) allows young people to approach the world differently by enabling them to volunteer in social, technical or ecological projects abroad. Since 1953, Bouworde strives for a world where basic rights for everyone are 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) started in 1959. It 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 500 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.