During the three-day programme of the second EAYW, 29 innovative examples of practice from a variety of fields in youth work, policy and research were presented and discussed in relation to supporting innovation in youth work.
The Role of Young People in Innovation
Supporting the Development of Youth Work at the Local Level through Youth Centres
The practice is focused on youth work development in the Republic of Moldova, based on the Youth Centres network experience. The youth work developed by the Youth Centres is done locally through various youth programs, including mobile youth work, volunteering, civic and participatory initiatives, hobby activities, etc., therefore the envisaged practice highlights the way they influence the drafting of the national youth policies, the main methodologies, and tools for the youth work delivery. The development of youth work practice is realized through the Joint Fund Programme (implemented by UNFPA Moldova, with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Ministry of Education and Research (MER)).
From Initiative to Network: How to Seed and Cultivate a Youth Grass-roots Movement?
Youth watchdogging network ‘Žinau, ką renku’ (‘Learn before You Vote’) gathers young people from all around Lithuania to organize political debates before the elections as well as educational workshops. It has established the online direct communication platform www.zinaukarenku.lt. Since 2014, when we first began, grassroots have become a buzz word for many. However, often they are one-time initiatives rather than long-term networks, or initiatives that turn into organisations with full-time administrative staff. This is not the case with us. Grassroots can persist, grow and remain as non-formal networks. It seems we have revealed at least some recipe for that.
ISAVE Project – Inclusive Self-Advocacy Education and Empowerment for Young Refugees and Asylum Seekers
The I-SAVE project is an ongoing European project coordinated by Gaiety School of Acting- The National Theatre School of Ireland, which focuses on Inclusive Self-Advocacy Education and Empowerment for Young Refugees and Asylum Seekers living in temporary accommodations. The project aims to develop an innovative, youth-led educational and empowerment programme to enhance young refugees’ knowledge of their human rights, allowing them to safeguard their well-being, and to become self-resilient and independent adults.
The Transformation of an Unusable City Bus Into a Mobile Youth Centre
With the transformation of an unusable city bus into a mobile youth centre, Mladi zmaji has created a mobile unit of needed infrastructure with programmes and space for supporting youth. Rather than becoming a burden for the environment, the unusable city bus starts a new life cycle and it continues serving the residents in a different form. Youth actively participate in co-creating every day in the city. We strongly believe that the state of wellbeing of youth is affecting the wellbeing of the broader society. For this, access to youth programmes and spaces for every young person in Ljubljana is essential. Our initiative is the way forward to build more inclusive and better-connected neighbourhoods within the city of Ljubljana as a whole. The mobile youth centre connects residents in the neighbourhoods and connects the neighbourhoods to each other. It provides youth and other people a point of social life, creativity and a sense of belonging.
The story of Ljuba and Drago: https://mladizmaji.si/nase-zvezde/ljuba-drago/
City for Youth
City for Youth is a system of certification of local self-government units in the field of youth policies in Croatia. It is, in fact, a tool that serves to assess the current level of quality and quantity of such policies and gives a clear picture of the space for improvement. It is also a tool for civil society organizations and youth councils to get a clear picture of what they want to advocate to decision-makers. Certification, i.e., rewarding, aims to further motivate local communities to improve the current situation, for the benefit of all local stakeholders.
Tools and Approaches for Working With Young People Against (Invisible) Racism and Other Microaggressions
The practice focuses on working with young people to raise awareness about their own microaggressions, and reduce the level of acceptance towards this practice, which is harmful, and in the same time so common, frequent and normalized. Exploring racial microaggressions (or invisible racism) allows us to see the magnitude of the problem with racism, the levels in which it is embedded in our societies, the harmful consequences it has on minorities and the need for proactive measures to eliminate it.
Academia de Ativismo (Academy of Activism)
Jessica Alexandra, Sousa Soares and Olga Fernandes
The programme of the Academy of Activism is divided into four phases: 1) Introduction and integration of the young participants; 2) an inspiration phase, where the young people get the opportunity to know relevant activists in the most varied areas. The aim of this phase is to promote the interaction between the activists and the participants mostly through the sharing of their own experiences; Phase 3) is dedicated to training, it is a more intensive aspect of the activity and the goal is acquiring knowledge on activism and human rights; finally, the challenge phase 4) where we ask participants to create an activism project.
“Beastig” – Hip Hop Boot Camps for Belgium’s Disadvantaged Youth
Akin Fatih De Vos
Hip hop culture has always been on the rise as a youth culture and art form, ever since its birth more than 50 years ago in The Bronx. Today, it’s still more alive than ever, and especially rap has undoubtedly become the most preferred music genre for many countries’ young generations all over the planet. It is also extremely popular among youth from less privileged social backgrounds and neighbourhoods. This popularity and familiarity also make it a very meaningful empowering tool to be used when working with these young people, as a means of self-expression, education and empowerment. Fatih De Vos is a 36-year-old rapper and sociologist from Ghent, Belgium, who also works at the Flemish youth work organisation Graffiti vzw as one of the experts in hip hop-driven social projects. He’ll be more than happy to share some of his experiences 🙂.
Beyond Youth Work: A Holistic and Participatory Approach to Addressing Young People’s Unmet Needs
This practice of Ljubljana Pride Association lies within youth work, community development and social security sector and it targets a specific vulnerable group in Slovenia: LGBTIQ+ youth who experience homelessness. While the number of homeless LGBTIQ+ youth is comparatively high, neither the social security sector nor youth organisations (who often have a direct connection with this youth group) alone have the skills to address this problem. The practice aims to provide a direct response through the engagement of motivated and educated members of the community and wider collaboration with partners.
Cultures of Innovation – Between the Old and the New
A New Approach to Integrated Youth Policy
Etch Kalala Mabuluki & Lasse Siurala
For decades, one of the main aims of the European youth field has been the political promotion of integrated youth policies within the larger purpose of improving the living conditions of young people through better coordination and collaboration of existing services. European organisations (EU and the CoE) have emphasised the importance of implementing an integrated approach on international, national, regional and local levels. However, there are too few examples of successful implementations of this approach. The report “Lost in Translation – Why aren’t integrated youth policies implemented in practice?” provides a preliminary reflection on the reasons that lie behind this failure. It argues that today’s challenge in translating youth policies into practice requires a new type of collaborative governance and collaborative management.
Development and Implementation of a New Youth Policy for Malta
The national youth policy framework in Malta, Towards 2030, sets out 8 strategic goals and accompanying actions that will be implemented over the period 2021-2030. It is a policy that builds on the success of the past five years while focusing on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. It is embedded in related national policies as well as in European and international youth policies and it seeks to be flexible and innovative. It aims to support and encourage young people, both as individual and citizens, using a youth work approach. Empowering young people through the effective practice of youth work, including the digitalisation of youth work; regional and locally-based centres and supports; projects and initiatives and cross-sectoral initiatives with the voluntary, state and private sectors, are central to its vision.
#YouthInfoComp. A European Competence Framework for Youth Information Workers
Karolina Kosowska and Imre Simon
Eurodesk and ERYICA, as European youth information networks, decided to cooperate on a European Competence Framework for Youth Information Workers (#YouthInfoComp). The ambition was to go beyond institutional and legal differences and focus on the competences of youth information workers. After two years of intensive discussions and consultations, the framework brings clarity in the field and has become a strong reference. It is a first at European level. #YouthInfoComp contributes to the recognition of the sector in Europe by being a unique reference framework in the field and for all countries willing to give recognition to the profession.
Digital Learning Factory Dortmund – Rethinking (Digital) Education
The Digital Learning Factory is a former coal mine site in Dortmund, where new forms of education, training and vocational orientation are to be tried out and lived on the basis of digitalisation and digitality. The principles of encounter – movement – creativity form the main framework here. The goal of the Digital Learning Factory is to enable people to think divergently and creatively and to motivate them to go new ways. The teaching of competences is not only about teaching digital competences, which primarily relate to technology, but also about the question of which competences will last in the long term in order to be able to persist in a changing digital world of life and work.
The European Youth Work Agenda – A New Framework for Strengthening and Further Developing Youth Work in Europe!
Alicia Holzschuh and Lazlo Milutinovits
The European Youth Work Agenda (EYWA) was established in 2020 as strategic framework for strengthening and developing youth work in Europe. It is a milestone in the history of youth work development in Europe, has the potential to make future developments in this field more coordinated and opens space for a more strategic approach. It also gives the whole community of practice the opportunity to participate in the implementation through the Bonn Process. Different activities have been launched at the European Level. Several questions are of interest when it comes to the topic of innovation: How can a framework like the EYWA foster innovation? What does it take to provide opportunities for innovation, but also sustain them, within the Bonn Process?
#Youthworkworks. Research Project on the Impact of Youth Work
Inside the youth work community, we are all convinced about the value, outcomes, effects and impact of Youth Work. But the data and ‘evidence’ to support these claims are rather thin and there is an ongoing discussion on what methodologies are best suited to gather and process this ‘evidence’. Nevertheless, if we want that Youth Work will be recognized on its value, but avoid instrumentalization or if we want to improve our quality, we have to be able to make the impact of Youth Work visible. That is why we (De Ambrassade & University College Leuven-Limburg), together with the youth work sector in Flanders (Belgium), started a research project about the impact of Youth Work in Flanders. We clarified: what impact in youth work (wants to) stand for, why it is important and how it can be done.
Creating a European Learning Hub for Democratic Competences
Values Unite is a political initiative founded in 2020 to advocate for greater support and resources from the European Union for citizenship education in Europe.
Supported by European and national decision-makers, practitioners, CSO and academia, we are developing policy recommendations and campaigning for more access to citizenship competences for all Europeans.
‘It takes a whole system to ‘develop’ a youth worker’ – A Systemic Approach as an Innovative Way to Support youth Workers’ Competence Development
This practice is based on the YOCOMO Systemic training courses for youth workers. It explores the value of approaching the competence development in a systemic way. It also points out the importance of ‘systemic skills’ for youth workers. The YOCOMO Systemic is part of the European Training Strategy.
Two videos from the YOCOMO Systemic:
Going Digital, Staying Human?
“Skills at Stake – Progress”. Digital Transformation of a Peer-Education Youth Work Practice
Amanda Milan and Michele di Paolo
“Skills At Stake – Progress” is the result of a deep digital transformation applied to an ongoing peer education project, carried out with a non-formal education approach in formal education contexts. The aim of the project is to train students 15/17 years old to design ways to promote health and wellbeing campaigns in schools, combining presence activities and digital tools. Is it possible to foster non-formal education activities with schools in a digital environment? How to promote digital health campaigns with young peer educators?
Hybrid Projects in Practice: Examples, Potential and Perspectives
Our hybrid projects utilised the latest technological possibilities to foster collaboration between young artists in physically separate locations in real-time. In doing so, they enabled continued international dialogue and artistic exchange in a context of pandemic-imposed strictures. Moreover, and looking forward, the innovative nature of the practice invites experimentation, encouraging us to stretch the framework of our conceptual imagination.
“Youth Pool” is a global youth initiative launched by Inter Alia’s informal network “A Partnership for Youth”. It is a tool for youth empowerment and promotion of hybrid youth work, both in digital and physical form, without geographic and socioeconomic limitations. In a period of 8 months, the Youth Pool participants explore the challenges in their community, meet virtually people from all over the world, share knowledge and experiences, collaborate with the local community and implement local interventions to advocate for youth rights and change.
StreetSmart: Game-Changing Tools for Youth Workers
StreetSmart develops game-changing tools for youth workers to enable them to unlock the potential of young people worldwide. Discover our vision and how we want to support youth workers worldwide! 1) StreetSmart Play: an interactive content-sharing platform with hundreds of fun and attractive educational activities. 2) StreetSmart Impact: a data registration and case management app for group activities developed to improve your impact. 3) StreetSmart Learn: an online learning platform with short courses on the importance of play, impact measurement, psychology, youth work techniques, … 4) StreetSmart Wheels: a transportable blackboard on wheels combined with 300 educational panels to bring non-formal education to the street.
Maker Education: Learning by Doing and Learning to Learn
Digijeunes is a youth organisation whose mission is to increase young people’s access to digital technologies. Its practice consists in promoting learning by doing methodology in maker education through different workshop activities. These workshops are targeted towards ‘hard to reach’ youth, who may have limited access and opportunities to learn and use digital technologies. The aim of Digijeunes is to provide young people with accessible and innovative ways to learn about electronics, programming, digital creation, and more. We believe that digital knowledge is key in our society nowadays and through our workshops, our participants have the chance to explore STEM careers and develop new valuable skills.
Pay It Forward Be a Social Entrepreneur (PiFbase)
Pay it Forward Be a Social Entrepreneur (PiFbase) is an innovative method developed by NGO Awesome People in Sweden to reach underrepresented groups of young people in entrepreneurial activities by fulfilling the dream of someone else.
The method has been tested in Sweden, Romania, and Finland with great results and a comprehensive method material has been developed to support the implementation and quality assurance of the method.
All open resources connected with the method can be found at www.pifbaseinternational.com.
MYTHNET SARDINIA: A Case of “Unaware” Digital Youth Work
In the late 90s and early 00s, we ran a volunteering project, Mythnet Sardinia, to collect rural legends, edit and preserve them in a digital, interactive, and multimedia-rich support system. Volunteers learned a complex programming language while at the same time interacting with the local culture and elder citizens and living a deeply involving intercultural experience. Was this digital youth work? Or was it just youth work, full stop? Where is the threshold to define youth work as being “digital”? What are the core digital youth work ideas and principles, and how does working with coding and creative/interactive multimedia content help in filling generational and rural/urban gaps?
Note: This practice was selected, but not presented during the event.
Memory Walk is an interactive one-day long activity developed by Karakutu in Istanbul as a non-formal rights-based youth work method. It includes the exploration of memory spots in the street by solving clues (designed like a treasure hunt) and then reflections on the stories of the spots within a closing session in an indoor space at the end. Memory Walks aim to raise awareness of youth on discrimination towards marginalised groups, to increase their knowledge and skills on defending pluralism and coexistence and to create occasions to bring together civil society activists and academics to search for alternative ways of creating an enabling environment for civil society within the scope of human rights.
Note: This practice was selected, but not presented during the event.
Building Resources for Supporting Innovation in Youth Work
Participation Resource Pool – Dive Into the Best Practices & Tools for Youth Participation!
In a world where separating “fake news” from reliable information is getting progressively difficult and where both on and offline worlds pose new challenges on all levels of our lives, our goal is to educate and spread the importance of Youth Participation, Media and Information Literacy and Digital Transformation in the youth sector. SALTO PI created the Participation Resource Pool because we want trainers, youth workers, youth leaders and educators to have access to the best and most up-to-date online tools to foster young people’s critical thinking and capacities to increase quality of youth participation.
Web Platform on Inclusion and Diversity in Digital Youth Work
‘Inclusion & Diversity in Digital Youth Work’ is a platform created by SALTO Inclusion & Diversity focused on inspirational practices and information on inclusive digital youth work, in the context of the EU Youth Programmes (Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps). It offers articles, podcast conversations, educational materials and practices, from a wide range of topics such as addressing diversity in online activities, challenges and barriers faced by young people and youth workers, digital divide, digital youth work competencies and quality, as well as policies and frameworks to support (inclusive) digital youth work.
“Visible Value” Resource Library on Recognition of Youth Work in Europe
The web platform Visible Value II developed by the European Commission – Council of Europe Youth Partnership brings a greater focus to the subject of the recognition of youth work. The pages explore six areas linked to the recognition of youth work: About recognition, inspiring recognition practices and tools, recognition stories, national situations, European policy developments and recognition resources.
Based on the concept of learning in youth work this practice developed by several Erasmus+ Youth National Agencies addresses the recognition of and quality of learning process development in youth work. It has been developed in cooperation with stakeholders from formal and non-formal contexts. With the proven experience, Erasmus+ and ESC invest in systemic impact both in formal education of youth workers and in the training of youth workers. In FOCUS learning we build on collaboration of experts from higher education and the youth sector to develop material like podcasts, videos, posters, learning cards etc. to be used in all types of learning environments.
‘Quality Youth Work and How to Measure it’? Insight into the Revised Dashboard on EU Youth Indicators
As part of the dissemination strategy of the ‘Proposal for an updated dashboard of EU Youth indicators’ (DG EAC, April 2021), created by the European Commission’s Expert Group on EU Youth Indicators (and led by Senior expert Sladjana Petkovic and Ecorys), this session aims to provide a brief introduction into the structure and purpose of the revised qualitative and quantitative Dashboard indicators (including both contextual and descriptive indicators under the Core actions of the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027, and new policy indicators linked to the 13 instruments of the Strategy). The participants will have an opportunity to reflect on the relevance of the revised Dashboard in supporting comparative youth research, youth policy and youth work monitoring and evaluation in Europe.
MOOC: Innovation Tools for Youth Workers and Organisations Active in the Youth Field
Several policy documents point clearly to the need for innovative practices in the field of Youth. This is one of the first courses on innovation specifically adapted for the youth field. We plan to reach a wide array of youth workers and organisations and allow them to access free innovation tools and knowledge that are normally only available for paying for-profit clients. Some of the contents will be: future oriented organizational cultures, innovation management systems, ideation tools, etc. We are at the design stage of the course.
Note by the editor, December 2023: The MOOC was finalised in 2023 and can be accessed here: