And so we round off this the year with the negative decision from the European Commission concerning our request to renew the partnership agreement as a European Network against Poverty and Social Exclusion: we had hoped for better things.
The European Commission does not appear to grasp the reality and the direct impact each street social worker has on people suffering from exclusion. Whilst it is true that we still need to raise the profile of this rather specific profession, for many authorities and administrations, street social work is now known, recognised and appreciated for its outreach work and direct impact on the most excluded populations.
Does this criticism reflect a widening gap between grassroots workers and the European Commission?
The European Commission’s willingness to sever dialogue between grassroots workers and the authorities sends out a powerful message to thousands of street social workers in Europe and further afield. Perhaps it serves as an illustration of how difficult it is to bridge differences.
The partnership between the European Commission and street workers remains a marvellous opportunity for mobilisation between the authorities and frontline grassroots workers. Isn’t there value in forging what were initially improbable ties around shared goals such as combating poverty and social exclusion? In any event, street social workers will remain proud of their freedom to take action and speak out and will continue to develop and grow through the unique characters and differences of others.
Dynamo international - Street Workers Network has been around for many years, well before any financial support came into play. It will be around for many more years with or without financial resources because the very essence of our work is, after all, the welfare of others and the defence of their rights.
What remains to be done is more important than what has already been done …
Happy holidays to all of you!
FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION
Follow-up of the conference “Social Protection, Citizenship and Street Work”
Our conference on “Social Protection, Citizenship and Street Work” took place at the Committee the Regions in Brussels on Friday 22 November.
Street workers were glad to share their concerns with key stakeholders and to exchange experiences from the ground, a step toward citizens’ involvement in policy making.
Following the opening remarks from Dynamo International and the screening of the extract of the movie-documentary “Le prix du pain” (The price of bread), a lively debate took place. High-level speakers (here) as well as a very active participation of the public made it a successful event and allowed to approach the issue from different perspectives.
The afternoon session focused on the Dynamo International- Street Workers Network’s policy recommendations on social protection, which were officially presented and discussed with the members of the Network.
To watch the extract of the movie-documentary “Le prix du pain” (The price of bread)
A full report of the event will be available soon. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
First ever EU legal instrument for Roma inclusion adopted
Dynamo International – Street Workers Network has been working in the field of Roma inclusion for many years. We therefore closely followed legislative work going on at the European level and were also involved in the working group for Roma inclusion (link: Network policy recommendations). In light of this, the Network would like to welcome the recent recommendation from the European Union Council to step up economic and social integration of Roma communities.
On 9 December 2013, 28 European Union Member States committed to implementing a set of recommendations, proposed by the European Commission, on the situation of the Roma. It is the first ever EU-level legal instrument for Roma inclusion. With the adoption of the Recommendation Member States commit to taking targeted action to bridge the gaps between the Roma and the rest of the population.
The Recommendation focuses on the four areas where EU leaders signed up to common goals for Roma integration under the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies: access to education, employment, healthcare and housing.
In addition, it gives guidance to Member States on cross-cutting policies for Roma integration, such as ensuring that the strategies go local, enforcing anti-discrimination rules, following a social investment approach, protecting Roma children and women and addressing poverty.
The Commission’s proposal for a Council Recommendation here
News from Bulgaria: HIV / AIDS prevention campaign “Life is priceless! Don’t gamble it away!”
On the 1st of December – World AIDS day, the volunteers from club S.U.P.E.R. of Alliance for Children and Youth did campaign in a popular Mall in Sofia, where they were reaching young people, giving information about HIV and AIDS and delivering condoms.
Activities are under the “Prevention and control of HIV/AIDS” Program of the Ministry of Health and volunteers are part of Y-Peer network. A mobile cabinet for free and anonymous testing for HIV was also available on the spot.
The slogan of the campaign is “Life is priceless! Don’t gamble it away!” (flyer attached)
For more information: email@example.com
Bulgarian Platform of Dynamo International – Street Workers Network
News from Albania: feedback on the Summer Camps 2013
Since many years ARSIS, Albania Branch conducts summer activities in the great park of Tirana. This year the summer activities took part in 4 weeks during June and July. Around 60 children per day out of an overall of 335 beneficiary children took part in the initiative. The age-groups varied from 4 years old to 19 years old. Most of them were attending these activities for the first time.
A team of 12 specialists (social workers and social animators) and 8 volunteers (4 of them practitioner students) supported and supervised the conduct of summer activities that included:
- Educational programs by using the Mobile School tool;
- Recreational and entertaining programs such as art works, paintings, facial painting, games;
- workshops on various topics on health-care, child‘s body, personal hygiene, self-esteem etc.
The summer activities promoted child welfare, participation, personal development, knowledge of child rights.
Most of the children that participated are children in vulnerable situations such as: children in street situation, children victims of abuse, neglect, exploitation for work and begging, violence and several forms of trafficking. Most of these attending children come from dysfunctional families, families with divorced parents, living in extreme poverty and with no access to basic necessities.
To read more please click here
By ARSIS, Albania Branch
Member of Dynamo International – Street Workers Network
University Certificate “Inter-disciplinary approach to the rights of the child", 2014
Over the past thirty years, the concept of child rights has emerged from the experience of various stakeholders working with children, whether teachers, youth workers, social assistants or educational specialists, etc. It was only later that these rights were officially recognised and incorporated into basic texts. Far from being an exclusively legal issue, the rights of the child stem from a range of disciplines and are to be implemented by multiple stakeholders.
In order to make this diversity a priority, by adopting an all-embracing and critical approach to the rights of the child, a training course will take place from February to June 2014, in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. 6 p.m.
The aim of the training course is to provide tools and methods which can be put into practical use. The programme will provide an opportunity for interaction between Belgian or foreign teachers, university lecturers, members of international organisations and NGOs as well as grassroots workers who, in their particular field, are experts in the rights of the child, which means that their approach is guaranteed to be rigorous.
For more information and to sign up.
The European Union and You
Volunteering abroad: where to start
To go abroad with the European Voluntary Service you need to find a sending organisation. If you don't already know of one, here are some places you can look:
- The national agency in your country
- Your regional SALTO resource centre for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, Southeast Europe and the Euro-Mediterranean region only
- The database of accredited organisations
Your sending organisation will help you develop your specific project and find a placement that corresponds to your interests and can host you during the time you have available. This might not be easy, but persevere - it will be worth it.
The EVS guide provides detailed information on where to start and how it all works.
For more information: Europa website
TICTAC in Romania - Multilateral Training Course to support quality in Training & Networking projects of Youth in Action
Training Course, 7-13 April 2014, Romania
TICTAC is a training course targeted at voluntary and professional youth workers and youth leaders interested in using international cooperation to enhance their local development strategies in line with the goals of their organizations. The TICTAC training aims to support participants in designing qualitative projects and becoming the pioneers of the new programme Erasmus+ Youth in Action starting from 2014.
This Training course is for max. 30 participants from the following countries: Belgium - FR, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, EASTERN EUROPE AND CAUCASUS, SOUTH-EAST EUROPE.
Contact for questions: Roxana Cristea, firstname.lastname@example.org
WORDS FROM THE STREET
The Swiss "Eldorado"
It is 4 p.m. and I have a meeting in the little grocer’s shop on F. Street where the manager, originally from Sri Lanka, has made his shop into a place for socialising where many people pop by, including people from various African communities. I often stop by to have a drink and to keep in touch with these people, particularly those without an official residence permit, who are searching for "Eldorado".
K. called me half an hour early as some young Nigerian adults were sad and distraught. One of their friends had drowned in the nearby lake the day before.
I go with them to the cemetery where around thirty other Nigerians are gathered. Their faces tell a story of anguish and anger. "Knowing" (street presence and group project developed together) most of them, I am very quickly introduced into their circle of contemplation. Gradually, after conversations in English or in their traditional language, it becomes clear that incomprehension is the overriding feeling and exasperation oozes from the tone of their discussions and the intensity of their brows. They are angry because the boy drowned during an ID inspection.
According to witnesses, the young man, who had had a few beers and didn’t know how to swim, ran away and jumped into the water in order to avoid a confrontation with the police.
These Nigerians, who are singled out and stigmatised by a large part of the region’s community, are primarily seen as drug dealers.
To read more
By Vincent Artison
Street worker platform in French-speaking Switzerland
Member of Dynamo International – Street Workers Network
L’information contenue dans cette publication ne reflète pas nécessairement la position ou l’opinion de la Commission européenne.