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The Here To Stay Toolkit (including translations)

The Here To Stay Toolkit (including translations) 512 514 our civic space

The Here To Stay Toolkit (including translations)

The HTS partnership is very proud to present the civic space Toolkit for youth workers. You can access the different versions of the Toolkit through the links below.

HTS Toolkit

HTS Toolkit CZ

HTS Toolkit HU

HTS Toolkit NL


The Kids Rights Collective (Het Kinderrechtencollectief)

The Kids Rights Collective (Het Kinderrechtencollectief) 400 400 our civic space

The Kids Rights Collective (Het Kinderrechtencollectief)

Kids have the right to participate. This is part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. But how do you include young people in municipal policy? In the Netherlands, this differs strongly per municipality. There are for instance municipalities who are busy establishing a so called ‘Child Right’s City’. Other municipalities have appointed an employee specifically focusing on child’s rights. However, there are also municipalities who are still struggling to find a suitable way to incorporate child’s rights in their communities. For those in need of ideas there is this beautiful example of youth participation in Utrecht!

Jennifer Lekkerkerker, policy advisor at the municipality of Utrecht: “You will be surprised to see how well young people can put into words what they need and how many beautiful ideas they can come up with.” Séun Steenken, board member at the National Youth Council of the Netherlands is also enthusiastic: “In collaboration with the municipality and some other partners we founded a local youth think tank. Every two weeks we discuss what we can do to support youth in Utrecht.” Keep up the good work Jennifer and Séun!

Written by Kinderrechtencollectief (translated by ISA)

Here To Stay International Training for Youth Workers

Here To Stay International Training for Youth Workers 700 416 our civic space

Here To Stay International Training for Youth Workers

From 16 – 19 October 2021, the Here To Stay partnership hosted a training at the facilities of one of their members (FITT) in Timisoara, Romania. The central theme of the training was of course civic space and the central question was: How can you turn local communities into youth civic spaces? Twenty youth workers from the different partner countries took part in the training, which revolved around a toolkit that we have created as a partnership and can be found on this website shortly!

Check out the aftermovie below!

How to deal with domestic violence

How to deal with domestic violence 750 1000 our civic space

How to deal with domestic violence

Domestic violence exploded during the first two months of the Coronavirus outbreak. In the U.S., there was a 30% increase of spousal/partner abuse towards women, and the U.K. saw a similar increase as well – 25%; and still – There is no updated, comprehensive resource that tells you where to go if you are suffering such horrible violence, or know someone who is a victim. To fill this gap, … designed a complete guide, which you can access here. In this guide, you will find every possible contact and useful tips that will help you to stop being a bystander, take action, and save lives (without putting your own at risk).

Guide provided by M. Cardillo

European Life Goals Games

European Life Goals Games 960 720 our civic space

European Life Goals Games

In 2021, Hungary won the European Football Championship. A strong statement… We can all remember the memorable penalty shootout at Wembley, but it was fought by two teams and Hungary definitely wasn’t one of them. Still, the above statement is true: Hungary did win a football EuroCup this year.

How come that it is not all over the press? How is it possible that hardly anyone has heard of this?

The answer is simple: the above success has been reached by another Hungarian team, in another football EuroCup. Not in the Wembley stadium in London, but a light structural stadium at the Jaarbeursplein in Utrecht. Instead of large teams of 26 players much smaller teams of 8 played, on way smaller pitches.

However, in some ways, this little tournament is similar to its big brother. It is also played with a ball, for goals. Just like in our ‘big’ national team, some players come from migrant backgrounds, here, as well. In our case, this is true for half of the squad. Three Afghani and one Iranian player have also earned undying merits in the victory. It is a result of valuable professional work: coaches and players do their best to eliminate their faults by holding video analyses daily, while they do the same analysing their next day’s opponent. Just like on the highest level.

With the European Life Goal Games – as the name of the tournament suggests – sports performance is not the primary and exclusive measure of success. Street football tournaments provide an opportunity for athletes for whom sport serves to repair unfavourable, disadvantaged situations, in addition to maintaining health, and even more so.

But how does it all happen?
On the one hand, at the individual level. The majority of these players are either raised in children’s foster homes, or come from a migrant background, are/were homeless, or grow up within other disadvantageous conditions. Many people took a plane for the first time in their lives to attend the tournament. Regular physical activity is crucial for them, as it makes it easier for them to acquire life skills in a playful way that can serve them in academic achievements, being successful in the labor market, starting a family, and much more. Regular training, punctual arrival, and the necessary communication prior to each event actually all serve these purposes. In football, just like in other team sports in general, everyone has his/her unique role on the pitch. If a team wants to be successful, all team members must be individually aware of their roles. It is true the other way around as well: a team, where teammates are aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, is able to offset individual mistakes, so the team can be successful even if some players are having a bad day. Players have the opportunity to experience the power of community, within a short time, with a smaller stake. It is important to emphasise: when setting the lineup, football knowledge is not the primary selection criterion here, either. Diligence, reliability, “good behaviour” are at least as important.

It is important to highlight that each form of motion has its own set of rules that players need to accept and adhere to. Since Fairplay Football and Street Football – to name only two of the most important sets of rules used by the Oltalom Sport Association – are played by completely different rules, players can gain experience in adapting to different requirements during training and matches. And that teaches just the kind of flexibility one needs in a workplace, for example.

A sense of achievement is also important. It’s an uplifting, self-confidence-boosting experience when we are encouraged by hundreds from the stands, and we don’t even have to win a tournament or a match for this. Success on the pitch reinforces positive self-image and gives confidence to those who find it difficult to gain such experiences as a migrant or a youngster in care. In addition, the features of professional sports – suddenly came glory, astronomical salaries, too rapid improvement in living conditions – that so often ruin the careers and individual development of many talented young athletes do not appear in street football.

At the community level: In addition to developing the skills needed to thrive in life, another crucial goal of a sport-integration program is to build a community that provides participants with a solid base to continue. Although Hungary was represented only by a men’s team at the Dutch tournament, the training sessions of the association are attended by girls too, who prepare together with the boys, so the integration takes place not only on a social, and (inter)cultural, but also at the gender level.

Just as sports – a football game – can be seen as a modeled symbol of life on an individual level, so the team can be interpreted as a scaled-down copy of society. The team will be successful if the players have common goals and strategies and are willing and able to reach them together. This is how it works in the family, in the classroom, in the workplace. Moreover, this is precisely how it worked in Utrecht for a total of about 500 players from 22 participating teams. Teams had breakfast and dinner together every day; there, and at the accompanying programs of the tournament, players got the opportunity to get to know each other in life situations completely different from the matches. Those who were still opponents on the pitch were already cheering each other from the stands the next day.

Operating, as a team: this is the field, in which Team Hungary made the biggest progress during the tournament. Players felt more and more confident from match to match on when to pass the ball further (subordination of individual aspects) and when to take the shot (take individual responsibility) for the sake of the team, even if it seemed risky. Individual mistakes were followed by encouragement from peers who experienced success and then winning the tournament as a shared experience.

At the organisational level: In addition to the individuals and the community involved in integration programs, there is a third player, less visible, mostly hidden in the background, albeit equally important, that should also be mentioned. The implementing organisation itself, together with its personal and material conditions. The members of the team that won the European Championship in Utrecht were athletes of Oltalom Sport Association. The organisation considers sport to be its primary channel of integration. In addition to the training sessions, OSA organises regular cultural programmes, thematic trainings, and scholarship programmes for its players.

Many of the players of the team with the youngest (17) average age of the tournament have been attending the association’s training sessions since their infancy, attending its camps, language classes, and other events. The organic development of the organisation is shown by the fact that the current head coach of the team was a player in similar tournaments a few years ago. In addition to the coach, a social worker is always present at the trainings; they can replace each other if necessary.

Such an international tournament is not only informative in terms of the team’s sport performance, but also shows whether the organisation is on the right track to fulfill its mission. From this point of view, the team’s ever-improving performance during the tournament, the ability of players to fight for each other, and finally winning the tournament are all encouraging signs. Especially considering that OSA does not have its own facility; it organises trainings in the cages of community parks and on rented pitches. The fact that there is no standard-sized street football pitch in Hungary was also a challenge in preparing for the street football tournament in the Netherlands. In the training sessions, they used tape to get the right size. While it is true that working in difficult conditions makes us stronger and more creative, a permanent location, a headquarters where other events can be held in addition to training, would be a major step forward for OSA.

Then, one day, maybe Hungary could win the European Football Championship at home. In the meantime, hats off to the Oltalom team that represented Hungary and won the tournament. Nice job!

Written by OSA



Our civic space video

Our civic space video 900 600 our civic space


Above you can view the first video from the Here To Stay programme. It is an introduction to civic spaces and the toolkit that we as a programme have created to support people in defending, improving and creating civic spaces.

Have a look and let us know what you think!

Video by INEX

The Here To Stay programme: An overview

The Here To Stay programme: An overview 512 514 our civic space

The Here To Stay programme: An overview

A youth center, a football field, a park, a skate rink. In every country there are groups of young people – aged 15 to 29 – who are unable to make proper use of these ‘civic spaces’. Civic spaces are meant to enable young people to have the freedom to assemble, express, develop themselves and make decisions concerning their lives and society. Reasons for being excluded from civic spaces could be legal or political restrictions or because they lack the necessary skills to make proper use of the spaces. In other words: young people are not sufficiently ’empowered’. They may also not be ‘made’ or interested in entering the available spaces. Results of these developments are, among others, disengagement of youth in decision-making processes and their social exclusion which prevents young people from becoming agents of social change.

Here To Stay is a partnership consisting of five organisations in Europe focused on creating a lasting positive impact in the development of young people and their ability to express themselves freely. By combining the knowledge, experiences and strengths of the organisations, a complementary partnership has been created. The organisations operate in different regions in Europe and each has its own expertise in the field of youth empowerment and life skills education. By joining forces, our mission is to counter this trend of shrinking civic spaces in Europe and increase the engagement of youth through civic spaces. We aim to create an enabling and productive environment for youth work to facilitate the process of involving young people in decision-making processes and use of civic spaces. 

The cooperation has led to various outcomes. We have already published a digital open-source research report to analyse the context in which we operate and the chances that are available to improve the current situation. Furthermore, the Our Civic Space website has been developed. On this website, we share best practices, case studies and other forms of content. By doing this, we aim to inform, inspire and ultimately activate youth workers to organise their own initiatives within the topic of civic space. We are also in the process of developing a ‘Youth Work Civic Space Toolkit’ for youth workers to help and support them in facilitating youth to claim civic spaces. The toolkit consists of activities, best practices and a theoretical basis, and provides guidance and resources for implementers. As one of the recommendations from the research report said, validation is key. The toolkit is planned to be ready by the end of 2021 and when it is ready for use, it will be uploaded to the Our Civic Space website and widely spread through other channels.

All the steps in the process come together at the final stage. In the final stage, a training course is organised to train youth workers on how to implement the toolkit in their daily work with youth. The youth workers come from different European countries and this gives us a great opportunity to exchange thoughts and experiences around civic space.

We are very much looking forward to sharing our acquired knowledge and insights and developed toolkit and training with a great group of people. Together we can stand up for our mission, resist the current trend and turn it into a positive development for Europe’s youth. 

Are you with us? 

Written by ISA

Football for Unity

Football for Unity 2560 1706 our civic space

Football for Unity

The Football for Unity programme of Oltalom Sport Association (OSA), supported by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union, the Berlin-based Streetfootball world and UEFA, has set ambitious plans, aimed at serving multiple purposes. As an accompanying programme to the 2020 UEFA Football Eurocup, the project used the widespread interest in the event to draw attention to the increasing xenophobia in Hungary and to provide a possible solution method.

One of the most important goals of the programme was to provide disadvantaged Hungarian and migrant youth with opportunities for health-preserving exercise and provide them with the possibility to get to know each other. The Hungarian government’s anti-migrant policy in recent years alongside the conceptual intimidation have had their effects: racist, xenophobic, homophobic and generally extreme, violent acts are becoming more and more common in Hungary, even among young people. One of the most effective means of preventing and reducing these phenomena is sport, where host and migrant communities can get to know each other in a playful way. They can experience that they have much more in common with those from the other end of the world than they thought they would.

Another important objective of the programme was to bring together local stakeholders, non-governmental organisations and municipalities that are also involved in the above phenomena, so that they could find a solution to the related problems together.

The methodological background of the sports integration programme was provided by Football3, a football-based game played by co-educated teams, for three halves. The methodology of Football3 makes it suitable for responding effectively to various social problems. An important goal of the programme was to train mediators, who are indispensable in Football3 matches. In Football3, instead of referees, mediators follow the events of the matches; their role is at least as important as that of the referee in a traditional football match. The increase in the number of mediators has a multiplier effect that allows more frequent events of a similar nature to be organised in the future.

These were the closing events of the programme for the past year:

  • 17/06/2021 – Youth forum: at the event, which included a short workshop, the professionals participating in the program, some members of the target group and other interested parties shared their experiences and ideas about the possible future role of the program.
  • 18/06/2021 -Football for Inclusion Tournament: In 9 districts of the capital, a total of 54 teams and more than 500 players competed according to the rules of Football3.
  • 20/06/2021 – Awareness Raising Festival: The winners of the district league competed with each other in the City Park, which serves as a fan zone during the European Championship.

Written by OSA


The Femtalks Forum

The Femtalks Forum 1600 1066 our civic space

The Femtalks Forum

Theatre activities and Digital Storytelling to Empower Migrant Women, Foster Social Inclusion and Change narratives

FemTalks Forum aims to combine different training methodologies into a single highly blended learning program for the development of female migrants. Enabling women to acquire new skills, strengthen their self-confidence and self-efficacy. Participants then have the opportunity to master the practical application of what they have learned using an innovative digital sharing platform.

Using this learning programme, FemTalks Forum intends to help female migrants increase their employability and social inclusion and provide them with additional support for further development.

The cooperation gathers 7 organisations from six different countries, like Inova Consultancy from the United Kingdom, Elan Interculturel from France, Matera Hub and #reteteatro41 from Italy, InterAct from Austria, Odysee from Belgium, and Artemisszió Foundation from Hungary. The partners executed different workshops in the field of group coaching, Forum Theatre, and digital storytelling, online and offline, adapting the opportunities to the pandemic context.

In Hungary, Artemisszió Foundation realised the learning programme, which consisted of two coaching and two online theatre processes and several online creative short workshops that targeted female migrants, living in Hungary and in the cases of the online workshops, female migrants from all around the world.

This is how participants of the events recall their experiences:

“To express my emotions during the week was so healing for me – I feel younger than before.”

“Never give up – to see different interventions helps you imagine solutions in your own life.”

“Some specific exercises helped me to regulate my anger.”

“Releasing the voice and expressing ideas through language allows us to release the emotions and feelings. This is especially important in the first three years in a new country when everything feels somehow stuck.”

“After this intensive week, and especially after the performance, I feel more open and confident towards my surroundings and able to face difficult situations at public authorities.”


Storysharing platform:

Contact person: Anna Végh,

Written by OSA

Reforming the Romanian Ministry of Youth

Reforming the Romanian Ministry of Youth 750 500 our civic space

Reforming the Romanian Ministry of Youth

“Belonging to a big civic space gives to youth NGOs the context, opportunity and the most important, the right to propose ideas for the youth sector’s wellbeing and therefore, to shape the ecosystem that concerns them.” – Yolanda Florescu (FITT)

Young people can learn in different contexts outside of school and through the informal and non-formal learning activities in which they participate. Thus, they acquire valuable skills for their personal and professional development, discover society and its mechanisms, develop skills of independent living, but also of participation in the life and development of the community. But in order to be able to meet young people and their various needs, but especially to support them at the beginning of the road, we need quality programmes in which to involve them, human resources specialised in working with young people to know and apply non-formal learning methods that provide information and counselling services to young people and, of course, the appropriate infrastructure for carrying out such activities.

In Romania, the public system that is meant to provide such services and to develop such activities is represented by the subordinated structures of the Ministry of Youth (county directorates and Students’ Houses of Culture). However, this is a fragile system, which does not have a coherent strategy. The funding allocated to it cannot ensure quality programmes accessible to all young people, human resources are insufficient and the infrastructure, to a large extent, has an advanced degree of degradation, which, due to the uncertainty of the legal regime, faces great challenges in the process of attracting investments.

Right now, the National Strategy for Public Policies for Youth has come to an end and the Ministry of Youth has already begun working on a new strategy to be aligned with the EU and Council of Europe Youth Strategy. Moreover, the Government Programme has been adopted with a set of ambitious goals, based on the Romanian Youth Resolution 2020-2027. In addition, the opportunities to attract European funds that can support the development of the youth sector get closer. These are the reasons why we believe that 2021 must be the right time for a big reform and especially for the development of the appropriate institutional framework. Therefore, during January-February 2021, FITT, the National Youth Foundation (FNT) and the National Alliance of Student Organisations in Romania (ANOSR) wrote a proposal of reforming the Romanian Ministry of Youth.

Our vision was to create a synergy between the EU Youth Strategy, the National Youth Strategy, the structure of the relevant central public authority and subordinate public services and institutions. Once adapted to the EU Youth Objectives, it must remain unchanged and maintain this form throughout the life of the National Strategy (which must be equal to that of the EU Strategy), which means until the end of 2027. Subsequently, after an evaluation of the first stage, we consider that it needs to be reformed (for another period in the medium term) and to take shape according to the new general objectives, in order to have the necessary resources to carry them out. The central public authority for youth would have the role of coordinating and ensuring the achievement of the Youth Objectives at the national level, which is why its services and subordinates must be adapted to this goal. For the county directorates for youth and for the students’ houses of culture we have developed an entire system, attached to the proposal. 

We created this proposal from the following foundations:

  • Reforming the central public authority and public services and institutions for the entire life of the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 in order to support its implementation,
  • Reversing the proportion so that the number of specialist staff (youth workers) is larger than the number of administrative and maintenance staff,
  • Each year, ensure and finance the access to at least one good quality youth activity/service for 10% of the young population 
  • Each year, ensure and finance the access to at least one good quality cultural and sports activity/service for 10% (or 1,000 participants) of the student population that each Students’ House of Culture serves
  • Each year, ensure and finance the access to the National Camp Programme for at least 3% of the young population living in conditions of severe deprivation, as well as of the pupils and students with good results at school, integralists and those involved in volunteer activities or in the activities of the Students’ Houses Culture of and “Tei” Students Cultural and Sports Complex.
  • Approval of a sufficient number of positions for legal advisors within the central public authority, so as to draw up, as soon as possible, the documentation for clarifying the legal regime of the buildings from the youth patrimony, in order to be decentralise.

This proposal is just the tip of the iceberg. Therefore, it is far from a complete version of what the whole set of documents would entail for the reconstruction of the entire public youth system. More to come…

Written by FITT