5.6 Supporting youth organisations
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Youth work is regulated by the Decree of 6 December 2011 on the Promotion of Youth Work (Dekret vom 6. Dezember 2011 zur Förderung der Jugendarbeit) which sets out the essentials of the youth policy of the German-speaking Community.
The decree includes definitions for “youth work”, “youth workers” and the various categories and types of youth work that are eligible for funding from the government. The decree was a first step towards an integrated and holistic youth approach as well as transversal cooperation between the different sectors regarding youth issues as it introduced the adoption and implementation of a cross-sector Strategic Plan on Youth by the government for each funding period of 5 years (formerly for each legislative period). It is explicitly mentioned in the decree that the government engages funded youth NGO’s, the Council of the German-speaking Youth (Rat der Deutschsprachigen Jugend, RDJ) and young people in drawing up the Strategic Plan.
The decree provides regulated funding, a legal framework for youth work and ensures anchorage of youth work within youth policy, which offers a certain level of security for the sector.
The decree governs the funding of
- youth centres,
- youth organisations,
- youth information centers (Jugendinfo),
- open youth work,
- the Youth Office (Jugendbüro)
- the Youth Commission,
- the Youth Council
Youth work takes place out of school and during particular leisure activities and is based on the processes of non-formal and informal learning and voluntary participation.
By providing appropriate opportunities, youth work promotes the individual, social and cultural development of young people, while taking account of their interests and needs.
Basically, the subsidies supporting youth policy in the German-Speaking Community are related to structural funding. The Decree of 6 December 2011 ensure structural support for youth work facilities at community level. Funding and grants are provided for the staffing costs of professional youth workers, for the maintenance of infrastructure, for equipment, and for the training of youth workers and voluntary youth leaders. The decrees set out funding conditions for community-level youth work and requires that the youth work facilities operate in line with the community-level priorities. In 2023, 2.968.000 EUR of the total government budget have been foreseen for the youth sector.
As mentioned in article 5 of the Decree of 6 December 2011, youth centres have to meet general criteria to be eligible for funding. Those include, amongst others:
- To be constituted as not-for-profit organisations based in the German-speaking Community;
- enable young people to gain self-efficacy experiences and learn shaping skills;
- support the participation of young people in their establishment;
- offer and provide activities that place the needs of the children and young people at the centre of their actions;
- ensure that the activities are supervised by youth workers or volunteer youth leaders;
- regularly inform their members and the population about their activities.
- take into account issues of children and young people in disadvantaged life situations, of children and young people with a migration background and children and young people with a disability;
Until 31 December 2021, they also had to implement at least four of the focuses of the youth work defined by the Government, which include
- socio-political and social education to promote interest in socio-political participation, of the ability to form critical judgements of socio-political processes and of the readiness for active involvement in socio-political processes;
- cultural youth work to promote creativity and cultural forms of expression;
- leisure-oriented youth work as a contribution to holistic development through sport, play and movement;
- media work to promote media skills for critical and conscious media use;
- intercultural youth work to promote skills and finding one’s identity;
- gender-differentiated girls’ and boys’ youth work for the promotion of equality of opportunity and breaking down gender stereotypes;
- cross-community and international youth work to promote understanding within Belgium and internationally, peace-keeping and the European identity.
This requirement was discontinued with the entry into force of the Decree of 14 December 2021 on 1 January 2022.
To be eligible for funding, youth organisations have to
- meet the general funding criteria mentioned above,
- carry out activities aimed at children and young people mainly at weekends and in the school holidays,
- have a application for support approved by the government,
- annually participate in the effectiveness dialogue
Youth organisations that are eligible for funding are classified into six categories, depending on
- the number of their annual members (ranging from 50 to 1000 children and young people),
- the number of activities they carry out per month and during the school summer holidays,
- if they are active in several municipalities.
Depending on the category they’re assigned to, youth organisations receive an annual lump sum grant ranging from 2,500 euros to 70,000 euros. Youth organisations with at least 300 young members may be eligible for an additional annual grant on the employment of youth workers (20,000 euros for 0.5 full-time equivalent or 40,000 euros for one full-time equivalent).
Funded youth organisations can receive an additional lump sum of 1,50 euro per day and per participating child/young person.
As mentioned in article 5 of the Decree of 6 December 2011, youth organisations have to meet general criteria to be eligible for funding. Those include, amongst others, the obligation to take into account issues of children and young people in disadvantaged life situations, of children and young people with a migration background and children and young people with a disability.