Mission Responsible

mission responsible

March 2016 – Februrary 2018

Youth Work is a Western concept given that its meaning has been gradually formed by practices and official documentation of EU member states from the 1900s onwards (CoE & EC, 2012). Actions that constitute youth work, volunteerism, non-formal learning, or even civil society altogether, in more “traditional” societies are often not effectively measured or systematised and therefore not effectively communicated or utilised.

Based on empirical evidence that Inter Alia and its partners’ network have collected during previous projects, the process of youth work development in Europe, while relatively advanced, is often inward looking–donor driven and over reliant on community funding (Devlin, 2014). Thus, youth work and projects oftentimes fall into self-repetition as regards themes, working methods and target groups while risking an overload of supply in a system with finite capacity such as the EU budget. On the contrary, youth work in “less developed” regions of the world takes drastically different forms at all counts (themes, target groups, methods, funding) due to the diversity of needs and existing means rendering youth professionals an important source of inputs regarding notions and applications of youth work. At the same time, the standards that EU-based organizations usually abide by foster efficient ways of structuring, implementing, controlling & following-up on youth projects thus supporting youth work professionalization.

The discourse on the process of youth work standardisation and professionalisation (organizational vs occupational professionalism) reflects to a large extent EU’s current introversion deriving from fundamental disagreements (top-down vs. bottom-up) and the current crisis. The MR project will maintain that there needs to be a detachment from this discourse and an attempt for an extrovert look towards present and future realistic challenges deriving from growing economic competition, social and demographic change.

Thus, the MR project will not only enhance partnership potentials with youth organizations in third countries by exporting knowhow (in accordance to the Erasmus+ Programme guide) but will also strengthen the placement of youth workers and organizations in the EU to deal with contemporary challenges by utilizing the inputs of youth professionals from the rest of the world. Finally, the MR project will maintain that in spite of significant development of youth work in Europe, challenges of the EU in the fields of employment, education and welfare are multifaceted and necessitate a comprehensive discourse involving various stakeholders as youth workers, academics and policy makers. Cooperation among these groups is also necessary for the diverse inputs to be properly contextualised and transformed into tangible policy change. In order to render such a discourse fruitful, mutual understanding should be cultivated and gaps in the conceptualisation of the issue should be bridged.

“Mission Responsible” is a 24 months (Mar 2016 – Feb 2018) Capacity Building project aiming at the establishment of quality standards for youth work through the exchange of experiences between 7 youth organizations from Greece, Italy, Senegal, Togo, India, Nepal and Vietnam. “Mission Responsible” will enhance partnerships with youth organizations from Africa, Asia and Europe through the exchange of know-how and will strengthen the position of youth workers and organizations to deal with contemporary challenges by utilizing inputs from youth professionals.

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