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#09#EN - Newsletter April 2013


March-April  2013




These concepts tell us that the street of today is not the same as yesterday. A street is represented through its symbols which will have enabled and will enable towns to be built at the whim of Man.

It is also the cry of an alliance or a conflict between the past and presenting the history of civilisations, of an exterior towards an interior moulded to either exclude or integrate men. This means that many streets come into being at the instigation of man’s art.

Some call it urbanisation.

But the street has merely become a stage for political powers and its inhabitants like a mirror which reflects the image of a child and their education.

Except that, in order to face certain issues, the street workers strives to communicate, forge ties, educate, support...but cannot be the street worker they want to be.There is no pretence in this line of work because all masks will one day either be melted away by the sun or frosted over by an icy wind.

Street work is a real vocation, reaching out to others without prejudice.It involves actively listening and empathising with the “contextual reality” of others.

Social workers are like the eyes of the street’s silence.And yet there are many of these silences that together keep quiet about pain but can scream of suffering. Dynamo International: standing together makes us strong.

Marie-Claire Lavater

Regional Coordinator for Europe, Dynamo International Street Workers Network



Dynamo International in Dublin to combat child poverty and promote child well-being

On 10 April 2013 in Dublin, I had the pleasure of taking part in a round table discussion organised by Eurochild, the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), UNICEF and the Irish Government, on the motion “Taking action to fight child poverty and to promote child well-being”.

High-level politicians and experts took part in the discussion: the Irish Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, was joined on the panel by Lieve Fransen, director of the European Commission’s Europe 2020 strategy; Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, Christopher Whelan, professor emeritus from UCD’s school of sociology; and Gordon Alexander, director of UNICEF’s Research Office in Florence.

The event saw the launch of UNICEF’s new Report Card 11 on child well-being in rich countries and a high-level discussion was held on the European Commission’s recommendation,"Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage"(adopted on 20 February 2013).

This recommendation is the fruit of an extensive consultation process in whichDynamo International- Street Workers Networkwas involved along with several other networks and associations. This recommendation comes at a crucial time when social policies are threatened by the austerity measures adopted by the majority of the European Union’s member states.

Faced with this situation, it is essential to maintain and indeed strengthen outreach-based social initiatives such as street work, preventive action, youth work, etc. Unfortunately, as things stand, it is these very projects that are the target of budget restrictions.

To ensure that this recommendation becomes a reality, the International Street Workers Network has highlighted key recommendations addressed to political decision-makers. 

Edwin de Boevé, Coordinator of Dynamo International Street Workers Network

 Here is the full text of my contribution

Poverty, social exclusion and human rights–International Conference in Prague

The Czech association of street workers (CAS) is organising an international conference on poverty, social exclusion and human rights. The event will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, on 13 and 14 June 2013.

Street workers from the four corners of the country will be in attendance, in addition to university experts, public authorities and experts from abroad (around 200 people). There will be round table discussions and workshops. Participants from Slovakia, Germany and Great Britain have confirmed attendance.

The annual prize for the best Czech street social worker and the best organisation will be announced during the conference. The winner will be awarded the "Casovana bota" ("boot Time").

This conference is part of a three-year project funded by the European Social Fund. The full name of the project is "Strengthening the quality of social services through EU countries’ best practices"and its primary objective is to strengthen the effectiveness of street work in the Czech Republic and cooperation with other European countries.

Karolina Panuskova

Czech member of Dynamo International – Street Workers Network

Photos of last year’s “Time boot” prize.

For more information: panuskova@streetwork.cz



News from Martinique: Medal for the secretary of “La rue de chez moi”

On 15 March, Claude Fitte-Duval, a specialist youth worker and socio-urban engineer, was awarded the health and social affairs medal by the Minister for Urban Affairs, François Lamy.

Claude is currently the secretary of « La rue de chez moi », a member organisation of Dynamo International. He is also in charge of  PAAL/OMASS, a structure which receives and provides support to people in street situations, people with drug problems and to their families.

This medal recognises Claude’s commitment to socialwork, which, according to the State representative, spans over twenty years.

When he was awarded the medal, Claude explained the motivation behind his commitment: “I accept this medal like Combat, the journal Albert Camus would hold out tome. In a few brief words, I would like to share with you two or three virtues of commitment: not noticing the time passing, and the joy of sharing with you in building a better world. Thank you everybody.”  

Dynamo International – Street Workers Network European Pilot Group meeting, Thessaloniki, 24 – 29 March 2013

The European coordinators of Dynamo International-Street Workers Network met in Thessaloniki, Greece, from 24 to 29 March 2013.

Members from Belgium, Albania, Slovakia, Portugal, France, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Martinique, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Romania, Holland and United Kingdom discussed their project activities as part of the EU’s Progress Program.

Our Greek partner, ARSIS, which did a marvellous job of managing logistics, organised grassroots visits which enabled the social workers to gain a better understanding of the local situation.

As part of the meeting, a conference on "Solidarity and Social Support through street work" was organised by ARSIS and Dynamo International –Street Workers Network on 27 March 2013.  The speakers included political decision-makers as well as representatives of local Greek authorities. The 140 participants at the conference had the opportunity to find out more about street work in other European countries through an interactive discussion with members of the Network.



Seminar on“Participatory Organisational Diagnosis”, Lisbon, 8 – 12 April 2013

The seminar on “Participatory Organisational Diagnosis”, with support from the PROGRESS program, was held in Lisbon during the week of 8 April.

Twelve participants from Greece, Albania, Italy, Czech Republic, Nepal, DRC, Bolivia, Portugal, Belgium and Poland met in Portugal to continue the work begun by Mourad Ghanem in 2012.

The objective was to gain a better understanding of how national platforms work and thus help to strengthen the International Network of Street Workers. The challenge: each was to analyse their onion (= their platform)… work hard, and this often led to laughter and tears (the onion effect). The photos serve as illustration.


Send us your contributions on community-based action in street work!

As planned, in 2013 we are publishing a document on community-based action. This is a particularly rich, diverse and complex topic. In order to assess this diversity and depth of experience, I would like to invite you to take part in gathering information by way of a questionnaire.

 The “Questionnaire for the Network’s Street Workers” will help us to collect as many specific examples and useful grassroots information as possible.

It is important to distribute it widely and to use it to organize sharing of practices with other Street workers.

In order to guarantee diversity and respect for specific regional characteristics, all this information will be analysed by continent.

Each analysis will therefore lead to a separate chapter on community-based action in each of the four continents. Your examples can then be gathered together in the final documents.

You have until 30 June to send in your answers and other documents, which will give the drafters the time to write, translate and publish before the end of the year.


Results of the Belgian project“Sharing knowledge and practice with European street workers working in the area of male prostitution”

2012 saw the development of a project proposed by the Belgian not-for-profit association, ALIAS, (member of the “Traces de rue” association), which works with male sex workers on the streets of Brussels.

Members of the Alias team, along with representatives of two other Belgian associations (Boys Project and Icar), met with associations in Germany, France and Bulgarian order to share experiences and practices in working with male prostitutes, who often keep a lower profile than women working in this field.

The discussions highlighted, in particular, the challenge represented by the Internet for street workers wishing to enter into contact (or maintain it) with people earning money by offering sexual services. The truth is that in the neighbourhoods of some towns, street prostitution has dropped significantly because people prefer to use the Internet as it is safer and subject to fewer repressive controls. A road map of these discussions has been drawn up, pooling together the activities of the associations visited, the local context to prostitution and legislation in force.

In addition, this document includes a report put together with the participation of associations from eight European countries (Belgium, United Kingdom, Romania, Austria, France, Bulgaria, Poland, and Germany). The compilation of these results helped to determine the characteristics of sex workers, the way this population moves from one town to another or even from one country to another, the more or less strict legislation on the activity and those who practise it, police controls which have direct impact on the visibility of prostitution, and the presence of street workers online to establish contact with sex workers who can no longer be found on the street.

These two documents will soon be published on the Network’s website in several languages.

“Call for contributions: Street workers, tell us your story …”

Street work is by no means a walk in the park: on the ground, striving to support vulnerable populations, to help them in their efforts, organizing activities to try to forge and consolidate bonds of trust, street workers are constantly trying to be creative and innovative.

However, they are constantly calling themselves into question, thinking about what they see on the street, and how they, themselves, feel about their job. In addition, in some countries, their work makes them vulnerable to threats, or frequent violence which leads them to feel isolated; this is only reinforced by the lack of recognition given to their work. In short, it is no fairy tale!

This is why, alongside the various methodological tools that the Network has published these past few years to strengthen the skills of grassroots workers, we felt the need to collect personal accounts from street workers on how they perceive their job, their relationship with others, the effects of the crisis which impacts them personally because street workers, like the people they are trying to help, also face poverty. These personal accounts can come in any form.

Do you want to tell us an anecdote about a specific situation you have experienced that had a positive or negative effect? Don’t think twice about it! Would you prefer to tell us about a typical working day demonstrating the outreach aspect of street work? Go for it!

Please click here to tell us your story. 

On last 22 March, the Bulgarian association “Alliance for children and youth” organised the conference “A way to knowledge and positive change” in the National Child Protection Agency in Sofia.

The results of the project “Comprehensive model for social work with children and families at risk” (2010 – 2013) were presented.

Aim of the project was prevention of early school-leaving and homelessness or institutionalisation, through development and provision of integrated services in the community and enhancement of parental capacity of families with children at risk. The project reached 102 children and 50 families. 75 children were enrolled in school or kinder garden, 99 children were registered to a GP doctor.

The event provided an opportunity for experts and professionals in different fields to share their ideas and proposals for a more efficient and sustainable interaction in supporting children and families from vulnerable groups. Participants included representatives from the Sofia municipality ( educational and health departments); Regional Education Inspectorate, Ministry of Health, Child Protection Agency’s experts; Sofia University, Crisis Center for children victims of violence, school and social NGOs.

Ulyana Matveeva

Bulgarian member of Dynamo International-Street Workers Network 




News from the DRC: CATSR sets up home in Bandundu, with support from Dynamo International and Wallonie Bruxelles international

Slowly but surely, Street work is becoming a reality across the whole of the DRC and it is no longer a secret to anyone.Following in the footsteps of the city province of Kinshasa, Western Kasaï, Katanga, Equateur and Bas Congo, the province of Bandundu has just received its regional representation of the Street Work Support Committee (CATSR), an organisation bringing together over one hundred child protection organisations.

A training session was organised from 25 to 31 March 2013 by the national coordination of CATSR. This is made up of Edho Mukendi Kafunda, national coordinator of CATSR,Antoine Ketikilain charge of training at CATSR and Beckmay Kayembe.The delegation set out from Kinshasa, and brought together twenty participants in the town of Kikwit (Bandundu province),and taught them about Street work by virtue of the support from Dynamo International and Wallonie Bruxelles International (WBI).

As such, twenty new street workers entered the open circle of defenders and mentors for street children and other vulnerable people living within Congolese society. A provincial CATSR committee was elected. It is led by Jean Bosco Kasingaand a team of grassroots workers has been set up.

The training session was opened and closed by the representative of the Mayor of the Town of Kikwit, who was on mission in Kinshasa. It is important to underscore that participants at this training session included members of civil society organisations as well as representatives of public State services.

Edho Mukendi Kafunda, Coordinator of the Street Work Support Committee (CATSR)

International Day for Street Children

  The International Network of Street Workers supports the Consortium for Street Children’s “Home Street Home” campaign.

On the International Day for Street Children, held every year on 12 April, the International Network of Street Workers, bolstered by the 48 countries it represents, joined the Consortium for Street Children’s “Home Street Home”campaign.

This campaign advocates for official recognition by the United Nations of this international day.

Millions of children across the world call the streets their home. Edwin de Boevé (director of Dynamo International – Coordinator of the International Network of Street Workers) would like to share a few thoughts relating to grassroots experience.

 The full text is available here.

News from Morocco: review of efforts made by Entraide nationale, Reference Centres for young people in difficulties

Part of Entraide Nationale’s strategy is to provide social protection to young people in difficulties. This programme aims to carry out social workto help young people in difficulties or living in street situations. It strives to offer this population with alternative ways to integrate through a suitable support process.

Within this context, Entraide Nationale has set up a social program to prevent emigration amongst young people in the towns of Tangiers, Nador, Fkih Ben Salah, Ben Guérir andKhouribga. Funding was partially provided by the Spanish Cooperation.

This program works on three levels:

Developing technical and managerial capacity for EN’s decentralised services and its associative partners in caring for young people in difficulties;

Establishing and upgrading host facilities to take care of young people and provide them with the conditions they need to integrate;

Setting up protocols for raising awareness and promoting the idea of combating emigration, in particular amongst parents and young people who aim to emigrate.

To read the full report, click here



Write on the EU blogs!

For a personal, insider's view on EU affairs, try a Commissioner's blog. Several EU Commissioners have their own blogs - as do some senior Commission staff in individual EU member countries.

The official list of EU blogs is available here



Building Tomorrow's Europe, 7 – 8 May 2013, Bonn, Germany

On 7 and 8 May, some 400 participants from Europe and beyond will come to Bonn to discuss current issues and explore new approaches in youth policy and youth work across Europe.

The conference is organised by “JUGEND für Europa”, Germany's National Agency for the EU program Youth in Action and a centre for European youth policy and youth work, has supported European integration for 25 years, particularly by promoting the mobility of young people and experts as well as youth policy cooperation across Europe.

For more information

Extraordinary meeting of the International Pilot Group of Dynamo International – Street Workers Network, 7 – 12 October 2013, Bucharest, Romania

An extraordinary meeting of the International Pilot Group of Dynamo International – Street Workers Networkwill take place in Bucharest (Romania) from 7 to 12 October 2013.

The main topic of this meeting will be the future structure of the International Network of Street Workers, following on from decisions taken at the meeting in Rouen in 2012. The meeting is for Network members. More information will be sent to national platform coordinators in the coming weeks.


My street godchild

His name isMihai. He was born on 16 August 2011. At this time, I was in the midst of moving to Romania. I was dealing with logistic matters, trying to make sure that our arrival in Bucharest would be as smooth as possible, especially for my two daughters who, at the time, were aged one and six years old.  Whilst I was getting my bearings in a big house in Herastrau, Mihai began his life in improvised housing on the site of a former foundry. Whilst we were enjoying the comfort of heating in winter and air conditioning in summer, Mihai was living with his mother, father, sister and three other people with whom they shared one room which did not have electricity or running water or any piping. They used wood for heat.

I started to sponsor Mihai through Parada in October 2011. It’s simple. It involves donating 100 lei per month. Parada then uses this modest contribution to provide him with some clothes, blankets or hygiene products. At Christmas, I sent him a special parcel, with more in it than the parcels requested by Parada. It included: a ski suit, so that he can keep nice and warm when trudging around outside; ski boots to keep his feet dry when taking his first steps on wasteland and a few toys and sweets for a bit of Christmas magic.

I have very few photos of him. I want to help him without being too present. Soon, I will leave Romania, but he must build his life here. The Parada team will always be there to care for him, so long as I continue to make donations. So long as we keep making donations. There are still many children that need sponsoring.

And in a corner of my heart, the little round face of Mihai, my street godson, will remain forever.

By Maité Mougin

Thank you to Ionut Jugureanu (PARADA), Romanian member of Dynamo International Street Workers Network, for this article.                                                                


L’information contenue dans cette publication ne reflète pas nécessairement la position ou l’opinion de la Commission européenne.