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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Belgium-German-Speaking-Community

Belgium-German-Speaking-Community

5. Participation

5.8 Raising political awareness among young people

On this page
  1. Information providers / counselling structures
  2. Youth-targeted information campaigns about democratic rights and democratic values
  3. Promoting the intercultural dialogue among young people
  4. Promoting transparent and youth-tailored public communication

Information providers / counselling structures

Youth Information Centres

Young people’s access to information is provided and fostered by the two youth information points: the youth information centre (JIZ) in Sankt Vith which also serves as EURODESK in the DG and the Infotreff in Eupen. The latter is also a member of the ERYICA network, and both work according to the European Youth Information Charter. Both structures are independent non-profit NGOs according the Belgian law. The Infotreff Eupen covers the north of the Community, while JIZ Sankt Vith is in charge for the south. Both follow an outreach approach since young people’s personal mobility is a major issue – especially in the south. Therefore the youth information workers visit schools and try to cooperate with youth organisations, open youth work and the Youth Office.

Furthermore the youth information provision offers a newsletter which now has 1,100 subscribers. Moreover, the two information centres also are sending and hosting organizations for the European voluntary service (EVS).

In both information points, access to the internet is provided for young people as well as individual information and consultation.

Youth Council

The Youth Council gives young people the opportunity to actively shape their future. To this end, it helps creating further possibilities for participation and promoting political education. For this reason, the RdJ encourages the creation of student councils in secondary schools and the inclusion of new members. The RdJ tries to strengthen its own membership in other committees, such as administrative boards and advisory bodies.

Youth Strategy Plan

The second Youth Strategy Plan 2016-2020 (YSP2) "Acting respectful" foresees 11 actions in 4 categories:

  • "Strong against Addiction",
  • "Promoting diversity",
  • "Political education",
  • "Emotions and self-perception".

These actions include cross-border action days, developing networking, promoting projects, building awareness, offer trainings and supporting mechanisms for young people and youth workers in order to develop e.g. new approaches for drug-prevention, for social inclusion, democracy, political education and participation in the youth field.

Especially the category “Political education” aims at increasing young people’s political participation.

The Youth Department of the Ministry of the German-speaking Community has the responsibility for the coordination of the Youth Strategy Plan.

Youth-targeted information campaigns about democratic rights and democratic values

The Youth Council and the Youth Information Centres organise both regularly youth-targeted information campaigns about democratic rights and democratic values.

Promoting the intercultural dialogue among young people

Youth decree

As mentioned in article 5 of the Decree of 6 December 2011 (Dekret zur Förderung der Jugendarbeit), youth centres have to meet general criteria to be eligible for funding. Those include, amongst others:

  • offer and provide activities that place the needs of the children and young people at the centre of their actions;
  • 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;

They also have 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.

Youth Strategy Plan

In 2014 the 2ndYouth Strategy Plan (YSP II) covering the period 2016-2020 was drawn up. The second and actual Youth Strategy Plan 2016-2020 (YSP2) "Acting respectfully" foresees 11 actions in 4 categories:

  • "Strong against Addiction",
  • "Promoting diversity",
  • "Political education",
  • "Emotions and self-perception".

These actions include cross-border action days, developing networking, promoting projects, building awareness, offer trainings and supporting mechanisms for young people and youth workers in order to develop e.g. new approaches for promoting diversity, for social inclusion, democracy, political education and participation in the youth field.

Intercultural and interfaith dialogue

This is the focus theme for school year 2016-2017 in the German-speaking Community (DG). The government decided on a corresponding action plan for pupils and trainees in all educational institutions.

The chosen theme is no accident as East Belgium too is becoming more varied. As in many places in Europe, here too we come across languages, cultures and religion from all over the world. This reality must move us to action:

  • to set up cultural and faith dialogue
  • to get to know and respect each other
  • to deal with each other impartially

and to also do this not least in view of the increased number of refugees.

Reducing prejudice, designing better coexistence, establishing togetherness. This is at the centre for intercultural and interfaith dialogue. It is intended to promote dialogue between people from different cultures in the schools of the DG.

Info-Integration

The aim of Info-Integration is on the one hand to give immigrants the information and support that they need to be able to make decisions and to determine their own lives (consultations) and on the other hand to support social actors, volunteers and civil society to dismantle barriers to the equal participation of people with a migration background in the life of society. This takes place by means of the organisation of further training (also on request), involvement in various working groups and networks, dialogue with the policy makers, awareness raising, etc.)

Promoting transparent and youth-tailored public communication

Young people’s access to information is provided and fostered by the two youth information points: the youth information centre (JIZ) in Sankt Vith which also serves as EURODESK in the DG and the Infotreff in Eupen. The latter is also a member of the ERYICA network, and both work according to the European Youth Information Charter. Both structures are independent non-profit NGOs according the Belgian law. The Infotreff Eupen covers the north of the Community, while JIZ Sankt Vith is in charge for the south. Both follow an outreach approach since young people’s personal mobility is a major issue – especially in the south. Therefore the youth information workers visit schools and try to cooperate with youth organisations, open youth work and the Youth Office. Furthermore the youth information provision offers a newsletter which now has 1,100 subscribers.

In both information points, access to the internet is provided for young people as well as individual information and consultation.