9.6 Intercontinental youth work and development cooperation
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Several international solidarity schemes for young people promote international cooperation between young people, but also between youth professionals in France and other countries
The international Solidarity scheme
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been running the VVV/SI – City-Life-Holiday/International Solidarity (Ville, Vie, Vacances/Solidarité Internationale) scheme since 1991, and the JSI – Youth, International solidarity (Jeunesse, Solidarité Internationale) scheme since 1997. The progam targets youth groups of 15 and 25 y/o and preferably of mixed gender wishing to carry out projects (cultural, entrepreneurship, environmental protection) in partnership with young people of their age from other countries.The projects put forward under theses schemes must be led by young people and must help young people from Northern and Southern countries to come together to work on international solidarity projects, both abroad and in France.
The two sponsorship schemes are based on partnerships between the public authorities ssuch as the ministries in charge of youth and the ministry of foeign affairs and associations (NGOs) that develop solidarity projects.
The VVV/SI programme is also intended for young people with fewer opportunities living in disadvantaged urban areas
Young French people who apply for these call for projects must be supported by a sponsor, an association governed by the French law of 1901 belonging to one of the seven groups of international solidarity associations recognised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
Since their creation, the schemes have enabled the cofinancing and completion of over 600 international solidarity projects realised by young people in over 35 different countries and in France.
For further information on such schemes, see Chapter 2 Voluntary activities. Stand-alone law.
International solidarity initiatives
The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) has adapted its “International Solidarity Initiative (ISI)” from June 2019. This call for projects will now allow young people to continue to get involved in solidarity actions and to “contribute to the development of a global citizenship”, in a context where cross-border travel is limited by the Covid-19 crisis. The ISI aims to provide financial support for intercultural exchanges and the involvement of young people in international solidarity projects. It does this by experimenting with new means of action (not involving travel), such as setting up online projects, virtual discussions and in-person discussions in France in small groups (of young people from France and elsewhere).
The action to support the French-speaking world at international level is run within the institutional context of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF): 56 member states and governments and 19 observers, of which France is a member. The main instrument to promote cooperation for young people (and sports) is the Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers of Francophonie / Conférence des ministres de la Jeunesse et des Sports de la Francophonie (CONFEJES).
The CONFEJES plays the role of a permanent ministerial conference responsible for identifying policy directions for young people. It is also involved in running the action programmes to support young French-speakers in Southern countries. In particular, France supports the Youth Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme / Programme de promotion de l’entreprenariat des jeunes (mainly micro-enterprises) for young people from “Southern” French-speaking countries.
The OIF study report on youth policies in the French-speaking world.
The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie publishes a study report on youth policies, drafted in close collaboration with CONFEJES and with the support of Quebec. This makes an inventory of the public policies to support youth in 29 States and governments in the French-speaking world and documents their practices (governance structure, good practices, programme design and implementation, etc.). It outlines the challenges faced by the member countries and makes recommendations.
Multilateral cooperation (between states) to support young people
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ calls for Youth projects
Fostering greater cooperation between States is achieved through various schemes, including the calls for projects which give young French people the chance to experience professional mobility or international solidarity.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ calls for “Youth” projects comprise a programme fostering intercontinental cooperation involving young people. It is intended for local authorities and results from a determination to encourage youth internationalisation and support local authorities’ commitment to international youth mobility in the context of their external action. In 2015, the Ministry launched an initial call for projects in support of decentralised cooperation, “International Youth Mobility 2015-2016” (Mobilité internationale des jeunes 2015-2016).
This call for projects is now in its seventh edition.
This call for projects aims to develop decentralised cooperation partnerships. The themes of the projects are those the local authorities traditionally manage (environment, culture, heritage, tourism, etc.), but they also cover citizenship and international solidarity education (ECSI), in order to raise awareness in the regional populations of global issues and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The projects are aimed at all 16- to 30-year-olds, including those with fewer opportunities. This call for projects programme has enabled more than 320 young people to travel in Europe and internationally since its launch in 2015.
The offices supporting young people
Apart from these Ministry of Foreign Affairs programmes and schemes, the bilateral offices such as the Franco-German Youth Office/ Office franco-allemand de la jeunesse (OFAJ) and the Franco-Québécois Youth Office / Office franco-québécois (OFQJ) are also involved in this interstate cooperation, via actions to support young people and youth exchange programmes.
Franco-German Youth Office / Office franco-allemand de la jeunesse (OFAJ)
The OFAJ aims to promote exchanges between young people and youth workers. It supports around 8 000 projects by and for 190 000 young people per year.
Franco-Québécois Youth Office / Office franco-québécois pour la jeunesse (OFQJ)
The OFQJ aims to develop relationships between young French people and young Quebecois, to promote an opening up of these relationships to the whole French-speaking world and to contribute to promoting this. Since its creation, more than 150 000 young people have taken part in actions initiated by the Office.
(For more information on OFAJ and OFQJ see Chapter 2.6)
The AFD – French Development Agency (Agence française de développement) has entrusted the online associative platform, Solidarité Laïque, with managing a Concerted Multi-stakeholder Programme (Programme concerté pluri-acteurs) for Tunisia. This programme, called "Let’s get active" (Soyons Actifs/Actives), aims to strengthen Tunisian civil society’s ability to reduce inequalities in access to rights in particular.
This triannual programme (2019-2021) is based on different themes, including:
- supporting social innovation projects run by civil society in education, socio-professional insertion and the Social and Solidary Economy (ESS),
- strengthening the capacity of civil society
- enhancing the influence of civil society on public policies