5 Euromed Youth Units (EMYUs): Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Tunisia and Egypt with their representatives where present last week in Vienna at the first meeting, after 3 years, gathering EMYUs and Project Officers of National Agencies of the Youth in Action programme. That’s was the opportunity not only to bridge both programmes and support EMYUs by connecting them to National Agencies (NAs) but also to take time with the Units to exchange about current situation and strengthen the cooperation and making it more efficient.
All participants and organisers of the staff meeting Youth in Action were impressed by the work achieved by the Units and by the inspiring way they introduced themselves. Links were created and lots of discussions were carried on.
“It was important to get to know more about the Euromed Youth Programme, being considered as a twin-programme of Youth in Action, but with differences in its implementation” said a project officer of a National Agency. The satisfaction of a face-to-face meeting will surely facilitate cooperation. Some National Agencies expressed their will to cooperate on some events proposed by the units such as a training seminar for youth leaders about youth economic engagement in Jordan, a study-visit on youth animation in Tunisia or a training-course on ecology in Tunisia. Others committed to spread information about youth NGO’s as potential partners, which were promoted by some units like Israel. Most of them were curious to know to which extent the Programme was influenced by revolution in Egypt and upcoming elections. Some National Agencies also referred to their past cooperation with some of the European Neighbouring countries from the South (for example with Palestine). A common issue identified was the recognition of volunteering in the region and in EU countries. It led to a proposal of organising a seminar on volunteering that could be organised jointly between National Agencies and Euromed Youth Units and hosted in the South.
The general feeling was the common responsibility of belonging to a wide frame: the difficulty to fight for the recognition of non-formal education and this was seen as stimulation for the Euromed units to cooperate with them and to improve their work at national level.
Units which were here contributed a lot and exchanged very much between each other, regardless their different level of achievement or any geopolitical situation. Vienna meeting and training contributed to a deeper sense of responsibility towards the programme and its implementation and to encourage cooperation between all stakeholders, while improving the communication systems.
They could exchange on their respective issues and challenges and realized that some answers are to be found in other units, if we start cooperating in a more systemic way. This training session was also used as a moment to draw a state of the play about each unit, by asking them very concrete questions about their calls for proposals, number of projects, state of Programme Estimate, use of the website. The session was concluded with a draft of common planning combining national and regional strategies, from November 2011 till the end of the Programme.