The 4th statutory meeting of the AMSED network took place in Strasbourg from 15th to 18th of December 2016. The meeting invited various international partners of our associations for a final network meeting as well as a review of planned actions for the year 2017 (Association A.C.T.O.R. from Romania, Bucarest, represented by EVS Mentor Andreea Iosif; Association Iuventa from Sabac, Serbia, represented by its director Dijana Puskar; Associations TREX EVS from Izmir, Turkey, represented by the volunteer Sinem Kanmaz; the associations Espace Solidarité et Développement from Fès in Morocco, represented by its president, Lotfi Joudar ent our future partner Meriem Lkhouch, also from Morocco. This event focused on the improvement and development of the network as well as the visibility of our respective associations; the result has been the production of a number of proposals for activities dealing with different aspects of this issue.
This meeting was designed to present the contributions of the network and to find new ways and tools for disseminating our activities.
This involved: feedback and discussion of amendments to support; – preparation of national and international activities, dissemination and evaluation.
Establish a mechanism for the transmission of information between partners;
Explore modern communication tools and methods;
To allow the various associations to discuss their respective roles in the chain of management of internal services;
Evaluation and improvement of the activities proposed by the various associations.
To carry out a review of the activities of 2016 and to plan new actions and arrangements for the year 2017.
15 December 2016:
The participants were welcomed to Strasbourg by the coordinator of the meeting, BALTAG Olga. Informal exchanges took place while waiting for the arrival of all partners who were accommodated in an apartment located on Place Kléber, in the heart of Strasbourg.
16 December 2016:
Friday, the activities started at 09:30 with a formal presentation of the program of the meeting and the partner associations.
Olga Baltag, the coordinator of this meeting, began by presenting the latest actions set up by the association. She briefly presented the association’s action plan and the network’s actions for the year 2017.
Lotfi Joudar, president of the Espace Solidarité et Développement association in Fes, continued the discussion by presenting his structure, talking about collaborations with AMSED and the value of his presence in the network.
The Espace Solidarité Développement association, created in 1999 in Morocco in Fes, works in the promotion of human rights, particularly in the protection and development of women’s rights around the Mediterranean world and on the African continent. Concerned about the spread of the democratic representation of young people, the ESD establishes a genuine advocacy for young people and women at all levels through actions at the local level (informatic courses and worshops, employment, management of a center for street children in Fez …) up to the international level (several projects have been carried out with European actors, in particular EVS in partnership with AMSED, the framework of France-Morocco decentralized cooperation but also with other Mediterranean countries).
The Turkish association TREX EVS, represented by Sinem Kanmaz, was founded in 2007 in Izmir (Turkey) and works to promote the European Voluntary Service (EVS) to young people, in order to improve their skills and promote intercultural openness. Through various EVS projects and non-formal education methods, the Turkish association raises awareness among young people with less opportunities for European volunteering, to acquire a voluntary conscience and to open them to international mobility. TREX considers the following written values in each job and in their projects: volunteering, social responsibility, ethical understanding, sharing, inclusion of young people in all types of decision-making and in social life, cultural diversity, participation and entrepreneurship .
NGO Iuventa, founded in 2009 in Sabac, is a Serbian association working in the following areas: youth participation and inclusion, youth policy, volunteerism, human rights, violence prevention, gender equality, democracy And civil society. Dijana PUSKAR, the president of the association, presented the objectives of the NGO working for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, to inform, educate and mobilize citizens to participate actively in the social, cultural and political life of society. Iuventa offers support for the writing and implementation of projects for the newly created small associations and supports the projects resulting from these collaborations.
Andreea IOSIF, representative of the A.C.T.O.R. Association based in Romania, Bucharest, has come to testify and share her experience as an EVS mentor in the projects of the sending organization. A.C.T.O.R. was originally created in 2003 to provide children and youth with theater and origami workshops as tools that would help them communicate their ideas and feelings to others so that they could develop artistic and personal skills in order to better integrate into society. The association now works with volunteers who come through the Erasmus + EVS program, with volunteers and with employees. Whether it’s intercultural projects, clinical animation, different paths (origami, with or without puppet theater, painting, etc.), the main objective of A.C.T.O.R. is to support positive creative communication, development of children and youth from Romania and Europe. The association places particular emphasis on their responsibility as actors in the society to which they belong.
A fifth participant in the meeting, Meriem LKHOUCH, from Morocco, said that she did not represent any association but that her participation in the network meeting is in line with her desire to learn more about partner associations of AMSED network. In fact, Meriem wants to create her own association and for that she came to meet partners at this meeting but also learn from the experiences of others.
Once the partners’ presentations were finished, we continued with a detailed presentation of the activities of the partner associations carried out in the network in 2016. We mentioned the seminar on the inclusion of refugees, the two EVS organized in partnership with the ESD in Fez and Strasbourg, as well as the other seminars and trainings in which AMSED sent its participants. We discussed the strengths and weaknesses of these actions and also the way in which each partner chooses its participants.
After this discussion, the partners were invited to lunch in a Turkish restaurant located in the immediate vicinity with the premises of our association where the partners were able to get to know each other in an informal and more relaxed way.
After lunch, the program continued with the presentation of working methods. The main objective of this session was to help reinforce communication tools and good practices to improve the visibility of associations and their activities. To do this, it is essential to be familiar with modern methods of communication, both internal and external. This meeting allowed participants to exchange on these new modes of digital communication, among others: blogs, vlogs, newsletters, e-booklets, tutorials, Instagram accounts, websites, newspaper articles, Youtube channels and the realization of seminars in Universities. These digital tools and practices, would allow to reach a wider audience than that established until then. The idea of the integration of a community manager into the network team was expressed; in fact, the need to have a person in charge of disseminating these tools to the benefit of network activities in a professional manner and noted was expressed.
After a coffee break, a session was organized to discuss strategies for dissemination, action and the impact and contributions of the activities proposed by the associations for young people with fewer opportunities or from disadvantaged backgrounds. The partners, by turns, were asked to present and compare the various strategies for setting up project management. This was done to share best practices and feedback on strategies that work and what can be improved. AMSED presented its tools used during mobilities, such as focus groups, the learning booklet, tutorials, e-booklets, fact sheets and success stories. The partners also presented their tools, thus encouraging the exchange of good practices between associations within the network. This issue will also have allowed us to start an exchange on the plan of action of the coming year and aim at the concrete application of the suggestions made at this meeting.
After an exchange to clarify some points on the actions carried out, each participant took stock of the impact and contribution of the activities and services of the youth associations; which include intercultural, socio-educational skills and personal and professional development. The conclusion of the main contributions of the activities is on the increased employability of young people.
The day ended with a dinner with the participants starting at 7:30 pm.
17th of December 2016:
The following day was dedicated to evaluating the actions and activities of the network in 2016, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the partner network and how to improve network communication, e-platform and dissemination of results. To this end, the partners gave feedback on the websites of their associations and partner associations presented on the AMSED network platform as well as on the communication processes. Among the questions raised during the evaluation, the layout of the websites, in particular the neutral colors or the location of the logos of the different social networks, provoked debates and suggestions. The setting up of a “they are talking about us” tab where the media articles concerning the network and the activities of the respective association would be found has been a strong proposal and the partners can be inspired to put it in place.
After a morning of evaluation, the participants took a break and had lunch between 12:00 and 14:00.
To conclude this weekend of workshops and discussions, partners evaluated the meeting as a whole, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the partner network. One of the weaknesses that emerges from this evaluation is the lack of information transmission between the various partners, which is a real shortfall for the associations.
During the evaluation, the partners identified the positive results of the network – diversification of international partners multiplication of intercultural projects, the setting up of seminars and training on various subjects, the use of new digital technologies for the dissemination of results. These feedback encouraged the coordinating team present to continue their work and confirmed the interest and commitment of the partners in the informal network coordinated by AMSED.
The team of this fourth statutory meeting of the AMSED network encouraged the participants to be able to accompany and evaluate the activities in their individual contexts, with the subdivision of the participants into three projects:
EVS in Morocco
Training on climate change issues
It is therefore necessary that they continue to be involved in the project of network of partners and that a system of continuous feedback on the various services established by the associations is established.
At the end of this day, we proposed to the partners to scrape on a map their country of origin with a local coin in order to immortalize this statutory meeting. This map is in fact presented to the various youngsters who come to AMSED, thus seeing the countries with which our association collaborates and realizing the extensive impact at European and international level that our actions (and those of our partners) can have.
The meeting ended with a dinner and an informal exchange between all the participants from 7.30 pm in a Tunisian restaurant where AMSED also invited local partners (representatives of the local Mission, volunteers of the association …) to discuss about our common actions.
18 December 2016:
The day of 18/12 was the departure of the participants.