9.6 Intercontinental youth work and development cooperation
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Programmes of voluntary service are implemented by the National Youth Service. Since 2009, a Voluntary Cooperation Service (SVC; Service volontaire de coopération) is proposed to young people aged 18 to 30 years. (see: 2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes). SVC offers the possibility to commit to a cooperation project. Its objective is to raise awareness for the problems of developing countries, to provide a learning opportunity as well as to promote intercultural dialogue. For this programme, the National Youth Service cooperates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Direction of Development Cooperation (ministère des Affaires Étrangères/Direction de la Coopération au Développement) and the Collaborative Luxembourgish Cooperation Circle of Development NGOs. A current project is situated in Argentina where young people can engage in community work.
Scout movements also organise volunteering opportunities on global issues for young people. For instance, the NGDO Guiden a Scouten fir ENG Welt manages development projects in Senegal, Niger, Bolivia and Cape Verde. The projects are funded by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. A new 4-year agreement of cooperation was signed in January 2022 so that funding is guaranteed in a long-term perspective. One main project aims at Education, Vocational Training and Employment Support for local children and young people. The project strengthens access to education, but also the quality of education. Furthermore, it promotes better academic performance of children and young people and raises community awareness of the importance of education as a fundamental right of every child and a cornerstone of development.
The organisation NGDO-FNEL scouts & guides supports numerous projects promoting the development of skills (knowledge) and capacities (know-how) of young people and adults in Nepal. A 5-year framework agreement (2019-2023) with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs includes 14 development projects, implemented with 13 local partners. The current projects include five different strategic streams: (1) social reintegration, (2) education support, (3) human rights awareness, (4) innovative education initiatives, and (5) vocational training.
Similarly, schools may be active in supporting development cooperation: The secondary school Athénée de Luxembourg, for instance, initiated in 2006 a non-profit organisation, which coordinates all the school's Third World country projects (Athénée - Action humanitaire). The organisation runs projects in different countries (South Africa, Greece, Cape Verde). The project "EDULINK: Food for Learning", for example, focuses on a sustainable, developing education, by protecting biodiversity, respecting water-found resources and conserving energy and the environment in South Africa. The projects are funded by an agreement with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and by various fundraising activities organised by and for the school community (e.g. Christmas market, Charity Run).
In Luxembourg, 92 NGOs have an agreement with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in 2021 (Direction of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, 2022). Young people may commit to volunteering activities in cooperation with these NGOs by contributing to awareness raising activities, formulating development projects, participating in fund-raising, drafting and research work.
A published list of all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) approved by the Ministry is available. The Ministry offers work experience and training courses to students and contributes to travel expenses if the student provides a report.
Furthermore, the Ministry finances and selects young experts for UN and EU programmes (Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs).
The Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency (Lux-Development S.A.), which is funded by the state and supervised by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, offers opportunities for young people interested in development cooperation after completion of secondary school. In the framework of bilateral cooperation projects, these young people may commit for a year and, after initial training at the agency, be sent to a developing country (i.e. Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Mali, Niger, Namibia, Senegal, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Laos and Vietnam) (Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs).
An additional support measure for volunteers is available in the form of special holidays (six days per year) granted for volunteering activities in the domain of development cooperation (congé de la coopération au développement). This measure is designed for representatives of accredited non-governmental organisations who are at least 18 years old.
The general development goals of cooperation activities are defined by Luxembourg's general development cooperation strategy which was adopted in 2019 and which covers the period until 2030. It includes four main objectives:
- Improving access to quality basic social services
- Strengthening inclusive governance
- Enhancing socio-economic integration of women and youth
- Promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.
The parts of the development cooperation strategy with a focus on the youth age group encompasses two fields of action:
- Strengthening of employability and promoting equal access to decent employment opportunities and entrepreneurship, by particularly targeting women and young people not engaged in education, employment or training (NEET)
- Fostering vocational training systems and craftsmanship, especially with regards to ICT and green jobs and their alignment with local labour market needs.