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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

 

Hungarian Inventors Day

Hungarian Inventors Day 1280 720 our civic space

Hungarian Inventors Day

Dynamo, ball-point pen, matches, telephone switchboard, Rubik’s cube, vitamin C. These are just some of the most famous inventions invented by Hungarians.

The holiday was first celebrated on June the 13th, 2009 on the initiative of the jubilee organization on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Association of Hungarian Inventors (MAFE), founded in 1989.

Why June 13th? The date got accepted because the first Hungarian Nobel laureate, Albert Szent-Györgyi, a biochemist, announced his invention on this very day in 1941, a process for the production of long-lasting products with high vitamin C content.

Interestingly, it is not only the field of science, where Albert Szent-Györgyi made his mark. It is worth translating what the inventor thought about sport and its social effects:

“Sport is primarily an intellectual concept. A sports team is a scaled-down image of society, a match a symbol of the noble struggle for life. Here, during the game, sport teaches a person in a short time the most important civic virtues: cohesion, self-sacrifice, complete subordination of individual interest, perseverance, willingness to act, quick determination, self-judgment, absolute fairness, and above all “fair play,” the rules of the noble struggle.” – Albert Szent-Györgyi

 

International Day Against Child Labour

International Day Against Child Labour 2560 1440 our civic space

International Day Against Child Labour

International Day Against Child Labour aims to raise awareness on the global extent of child labour and on the actions and efforts needed to eliminate it. According to the experts, the root causes of child labour are poverty, lack of quality education, limited access to decent work opportunities for those of legal working age, social marginalisation, discrimination, the prevalence of the informal economy, weak social dialogue, among others.

Children around the world are routinely engaged in paid and unpaid forms of work that are not harmful to them. However, child labour is described as such when children are either too young to work, or are involved in hazardous activities that may compromise their physical, mental, social or educational development.

The latest Global Estimates state that 152 million children – 64 million girls and 88 million boys – are involved in child labour globally [1]. In all regions, boys and girls are equally likely to be involved in child labour, however, gender inequalities are noticed in the types of activities carried out, with girls far more likely to be involved in unpaid household services.

COVID-19 impact on child labour
According to UNICEF [2], for the first time in two decades the number of children victims of child labour has risen and the current COVID-19 pandemic can potentially intensify the problem. The global interruption of education caused by confinement measures and the lack of distance-learning solutions/alternatives in many countries could drive the child labour numbers up.

What is ICDI doing about this?
Since mid-2019, ICDI has been managing Kinderpostzegels’ projects against child labour in Nicaragua and Guatemala. Together with our partner organisations, we are working to eradicate child labour by promoting education and strengthening local capacities to ensure the sustainability of so called Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZ).  These projects include recreational activities and events that aim to decrease school dropout and promote school enrollment, such as: football championships, children’s day festivals and art workshops. Besides promoting child and youth participation, these activities help raise awareness about the harmful consequences of child labour. You can read more about these projects here

[1] Global Estimates of Child Labour: https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575541.pdf

[2] Unicef:
https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/child-labour-rises-160-million-first-increase-two-decades

Written by ICDI

A nationwide proposal for “Spaces and Participation for all” in Romania

A nationwide proposal for “Spaces and Participation for all” in Romania 2560 1707 our civic space

A nationwide proposal for “Spaces and Participation for all” in Romania

“Making use of civic space also entails a youth NGO’s duty of collecting young people’s messages and delivering them to politicians and public authorities.”Yolanda Florescu (FITT)

Back in November 2016, just before the Parliamentary elections, the Romanian youth NGOs assembled in Timisoara for the first edition of the Romanian Youth Capital. The whole programme of Romanian Youth Capital has been about youth participation and, nowadays, is at its 5th edition (the current National Youth Capital is the city of Constanta). In line with its essential purpose of youth participation, the youth NGOs signed the Romanian Youth Resolution 2016-2020. That document emphasised key expectations of young people and young NGOs from the new politicians. Even though almost all the political parties signed an agreement to fulfil the objectives set by the NGOs, not many significant changes were made. 

Therefore, the youth NGOs, even more this time, decided in November 2020 (before the Parliamentary elections once again), to come together again and develop an even more specific and accurate resolution – The Romanian Youth Resolution 2020-2027. This document was divided into 11 chapters, tailored on the EU Youth Goals and each chapter was coordinated by NGOs with great expertise in that specific field. The almost 200 pages long document indicated the general and specific objectives, directions and measures desired to be implemented at the national level in order to further develop the entire youth sector in Romania in the next 7 years. 

As an evolution compared to the previous Romanian Youth Resolution, the political parties listened to the voices of the NGOs and almost 30% of the National Government Programme on Youth for 2020-2024 has been made according to the objectives of the Youth Resolution 2020-2027.

The main objectives proposed in the Youth Resolution 2020-2027 referred to creating and developing youth spaces accessible to all young people in Romania and increasing the degree of participation of young people in society. These are the the main target objectives of the resolution:

  • Establishment of youth centres (physical spaces specially for young people) at community level, sized according to the community they serve, as well as existing youth spaces development support;
  • Establishment of mobile youth centres for rural areas difficult to access and or rural areas with a small young population;
  • Development and strengthening of the National Network of Youth Centres
  • Reorganisation of youth tourism infrastructure and the Youth Tourism Office, to offer opportunities for recreation and spending leisure time as well;
  • Revitalisation of student cultural infrastructure administrated by the central youth public authority (the Ministry of Youth);
  • Spaces for young people to be served by professionals (youth workers);
  • Establishment, in each community, of a local advisory council on youth affairs formed of representatives youth NGOs and of youth informal groups, active in that community; Support of  youth participation in the already established local and national advisory councils on youth affairs;
  • Increasing the quality of local youth activities;
  • Definition and support of informal youth groups;
  • Encouraging young people to participate in electoral processes and to get involved in political life;
  • Supporting and encouraging volunteering;
  • Permanent and consistent support for youth NGOs by local and national public authorities.

Even though the national authorities recognised the challenges indicated by the youth NGOs and accepted, partially, the solutions, still the NGOs are monitoring the process, due to the fact that in Romania, with regard to the youth sector, many plans have been put on paper, but too few have been also implemented. Let’s see what the future brings…

Written by FITT

NL Doet: a day to do good

NL Doet: a day to do good 1920 1324 our civic space

NL Doet: a day to do good

On 28th and 29th of  May 2021, the biggest Dutch yearly volunteering event will take place throughout the whole country. The event is called NL Doet and it is organised by Oranje Fonds, an organisation that serves as a platform to bring volunteers and people in need together. Oranje Fonds believes that everyone in society can make a difference for someone else. And by organising NL Doet every year, they show it too!

The importance of volunteering
But why volunteer? What are the benefits of doing something for someone else? Well first of all, volunteering allows you to connect with other people, whom you might have not known, had you not decided to go out and volunteer. It really brings a community together when different people help each other and work on shared causes and towards common goals. Secondly, it is proven that volunteering has a profound positive effect on your health, both mentally and physically. It can bring joy into your life in ways you would never have expected. Finally, volunteering can also be a way to explore new things in your life and to develop new skills and competencies. This can be very valuable for other parts of your professional and personal life. 

Interested in more information about volunteering? Click here to read more about the benefits of volunteering. 

The power of NL Doet
As Oranje Fonds states, “NL Doet is an invitation to do something good for someone else. It doesn’t matter how big or small the initiative is. What matters is the connection it establishes.” NL Doet’s power is in the fact that it unites the many forms of volunteering and converts it into something national. It provides a platform for the many big and small initiatives that exist and provides the opportunity for new initiatives to arise. Moreover, it can serve as a gateway for people to become more active in volunteering. It is an easy way to start with volunteering, however small, and to experience what it is like. The hope of Oranje Fonds is that this ignites a spark in people to do more, without the obligation to do so.

An example of an initiative that was organised in The Hague under the banner of NL Doet is volunteers organising a lunch together with people with a disability. From baking cookies, making wraps and preparing soup, to setting the table. Everything was done together by volunteers and the residents of a healthcare facility. This shows that volunteering can be rather low-key and easy, but it can really have a great impact. And you can do it too!

So are you Dutch and want to experience volunteering? Find out the opportunities here!

Written by ISA

 

Youth Component of the Romanian National Recovery and Resilience Plan

Youth Component of the Romanian National Recovery and Resilience Plan 2560 1707 our civic space

Romanian National Recovery and Resilience Plan: FITT is one of the 3 coordinators of the youth component of the national proposal

“In a healthy and strong civic space, the public authorities have a constant and real dialogue and cooperation with the youth sector, in order to build the medium-term objectives; the youth NGO’s voice is heard, listened and its contribution is translated into concrete measures.” – Yolanda Florescu (FITT)

In Romania, the national plan for YOUTH was co-created by the Ministry of Youth (MTS) together with the National Youth Foundation (FNT) and Timis County Youth Foundation (FITT) ) – owner of the only youth centre in Romania (and one of the only 14 centres in Europe) awarded with the Quality Label for Youth Centres of the Council of Europe. The support and feedback group was formed of the National Alliance of Students Organisations in Romania (ANOSR), the Romanian Youth Council (CTR) and Cluj Youth Federation (FTCluj)

The main objective of the national plan is creating the framework in which young people in Romania, starting from the challenges caused by the pandemic, going through the green and digital transition and equipped with the right skills for the jobs of the future, to become agents of transformation and co-creators of local and youth ecosystems sustainable and inclusive, characterised by: open and real information, friendly public authorities, active NGOs, green and digitised physical, virtual, fixed and mobile services and spaces.

The reforms and investments proposed are the following:
Reform 1: Development of skills for green jobs, in particular to prevent the growth of the NEET phenomenon and combat it by creating a national methodology for working with young people.

  • Investment 1.1.: Combating the NEET phenomenon by investing in developing young people’s skills for green jobs
  • Investment 1.2.: Preventing the growth of the NEET phenomenon by investing in developing young people’s skills for green jobs

Reform 2: Elaboration of quality standards regarding the green and digital transition in the field of youth, with focus on infrastructure, activities and professionals by creating the National Quality Label and drawing up the methodology for granting it.

  • Investment 2.1.: Invest in the development of young people’s digital skills, as well as skills and knowledge of the circular economy, through green and digitalised spaces for youth and students
  • Investment 2.2.: Invest in the development of young people’s digital skills, as well as circular economy skills and knowledge, through green and digitalised mobile youth centers
  • Investment 2.3.: Investments in the digitisation of the public youth system

Reform 3: Decentralisation of youth responsibilities and competencies to local communities and development of the Charter of Local Sustainable and Inclusive Youth Ecosystems

  • Investment 3.1.: Invest in the development of public authorities’ skills to create local ecosystems with and for young people
  • Investment 3.2.: Invest in the development of skills and structures for youth participation in the creation and sustainable development of local ecosystems

In order to prepare the final version to be inserted in the big National Recovery and Resilience Plan, currently, FITT is waiting to receive the European Commission’s feedback.

You can find out more about the proposed Romanian youth plan here.

Written by FITT

The Hungarian Sports Day!

The Hungarian Sports Day! 500 331 our civic space

The Hungarian Sports Day!

On the 6th of May, 1875, Magyar Atlétikai Club (MAC) organized the first outdoor sports competition of the continent in Margaret Island, in Budapest. The athletes were competing in athletics and boxing at that event. In memory of this, Hungarian Sports Day is still celebrated on this day every year.

One of the oldest pictures ever taken from the Magyar Atlétikai Club.

In the 1870s, doing sport on a regular basis was common only among aristocrats, so initially, MAC also catered primarily to their needs. Over time, this situation has changed a lot. Today, the players of Oltalom Sport Association (OSE) also train and compete regularly in the stadium, as it is still in use!

A more recent picture of the Magyar Atlétikai Club shows there have been some major alterations over time.

Written by OSA

Survey on sport and social cohesion

Survey on sport and social cohesion 1437 427 our civic space

Survey on sport and social cohesion

One of our partners, ISA, is taking part in a promising project which focuses on improving social cohesion through sports. For that project, they are requesting organisations using sport for social cohesion to complete a short survey, in order to inform future programming and best practice.

The use of sport to promote social cohesion has grown rapidly in recent years. This includes the use of sport for social inclusion and the integration of refugees and migrants. Public, private and civil society  organisations are using sport as a vehicle to advance social cohesion in various contexts.

However, there are various challenges which continue to limit our understanding as to how sport and social cohesion programmes can be most effectively designed, delivered, and measured.

As such, ISA, Sportanddev, the German Sport University and other project partners, are conducting a survey to identify common features, challenges, and best practices in the use of sport for social cohesion.

  • Please complete the survey here (available in English and French)
  • Deadline: May 7, 2021
  • Target audience: organisations that use sport to advance social cohesion.

The survey is part of a broader mapping exercise which seeks to contribute to better understanding of social cohesion at the practitioner level, and the programmatic factors that may influence success.

Why is this important?
There is great diversity of programmes and approaches to sport and social cohesion, including measurement tools. While this is to be celebrated, it poses challenges in identifying standards, common features, and best practices. Further, evangelical notions of sport and top-down approaches remain common, resulting in a gap between theory, policy, and local practices.

Grassroots practitioners voices are often marginalized and crucial factors such as the type of sport, duration of participation, frequency of participation and non-sporting activities are under-reported and analysed. This makes it difficult to identify factors which enable interventions to be effective.

This survey and mapping exercise is part of the Sport and Social Cohesion Lab, an Erasmus+ funded project. The project adopts a highly participatory Living Lab approach to tackle the gaps in knowledge and implementation.

This approach will directly engage programme participants, generate understanding of the elements that advance sport for social cohesion and develop relevant tools for the exploration, measurement and improvement of programmes and outcomes in highly diverse urban neighbourhoods.

How will the findings be used?
This survey will help us identify the assets, needs and challenges experienced by organisations in the use of sport for social cohesion. This will include shaping activities in the above-mentioned project. Findings will be shared publicly and used to inform policy and practice.

  • Please complete the survey here (available in English and French)

Story by Sportanddev

6th April – A day to celebrate the contribution of sports towards peace and development!

6th April – A day to celebrate the contribution of sports towards peace and development! 2560 1240 our civic space

6th April – A day to celebrate the contribution of sports towards peace and development!

Since 2014, the 6th April has been named the International Day of Sports for Development and Peace. It has been created by the United Nations to acknowledge the positive contribution of sports towards social change, community development, peace and understanding between cultures and people.

For many children and young people around the world, sport represents the unique platforms for positive socialisation and development. It has been recognized as one of the major contributors to the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations. It is a fundamental right and a meaningful tool to create interaction, raise voices and develop civic competences.

Together with the partners from the Here to Stay project we strive to maximise the positive contribution of sport in the development of individuals and communities. The sport in itself has always proven to be an authentic space for gathering, expression and healthy behaviour. In this regards and thanks to a number of dedicated interventions, our commitment is to increase the positive outcomes of sports.

Firstly, we provide free and equal access to young people, who may not have the means to join an affiliated sports activity. The activities provided are offered regardless of the sportive ability, gender or social background. We are devoted to create an equal playing field in all of the activities we offer.

Our intervention also allows the young people to develop themselves during their practise of the sport, through a number of approaches that guides the participants to better communicate with each other, to find compromises, to reflect on a situation, to determine their own rules but also accompanies the participants in giving each other constructive feedback and positive encouragement. We are therefore also addressing a gap in the traditional schooling system, where children are often too confined in a firm and non-progressive model of education that rarely allows them to progress differently than in a competitive and individualistic mind-set.

The sport can also be an effective tool to prepare young people towards employment and gain essential soft skills, which are more and more demanded on the job market. Training and playing can teach participants to make better decisions as they face different choices on and off the pitch, to adapt to new situations as they experience changes in a game plan and in life, to control their emotions as they can undergo through peaks in frustration or stress during a match or at school, or simply to better reflect your opinion in public after a match as with colleagues at work. The panel of skills that can be taught through sport is vast and provides an ideal preparation for the active and responsible life at work, in society among peers and family.

We are therefore unanimously convinced as a consortium of European partners of the tremendous power that sport can have on the lives of young people around the world. We are celebrating this day with prospect, as we are facing an exceptionally challenging time for the practise of sport and looking forward to be back on the fields as sport is here to stay!

Written by INEX

 

 

 

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