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.
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, SNJ cooperates with the ministry of Foreign Trade/Direction of Development Cooperation (ministère des Affaires Étrangères/Direction de la Coopération au Développement) and the Collaborative Circle of NGOs in the Field of Development.
Scout movements also organise volunteering opportunities for young people. For instance, the NGO Guiden a Scouten fir ENG Welt manages development projects in Senegal, Niger, Bolivia and India. The organisation ONGD-FNEL Scouts & guides pour le développement communautaire develops projects in Nepal.
Similarly, schools may be active in supporting development cooperation: The secondary school Athénée de Luxembourg, for instance, took the initiative to create a non-profit organisation, coordinating all the school's Third World country projects (Athénée - Action humanitaire).
In Luxembourg, 94 NGOs collaborate with the ministry of Foreign Trade/Direction of Development Cooperation in the domain of development cooperation. 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 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. The Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency (Lux-Development S.A.) 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) (webpage of the ministry).
An additional support measure for volunteers is available in the form of special holidays (6 days per year) granted for volunteering activities in the domain of development cooperation (congé de la coopération au développement).
The general development goals of cooperation activities are defined by Luxembourg's general development cooperation strategy. 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 policy 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.