Sunday, 20 November 2011

Youth in Action: The gate to mobility and intercultural experience

Youth in Action (YiA) is the EU programme supporting informal education (meaning no school and teaching, no tourism, no festivals and similar official and profitable actions) of all youth – with the main purpose to get to know new people from other EU/EEA/Neighboring countries. Stage ECHOES will present to you the different types of actions for which you can easily apply.

You do not need to have an official non-governmental organization (but NGOs can participate as well), nor do you need to be a student or youth worker. You just need to find some friends who are as enthusiastic as you are and are between 13 to 30 years old – a group of a minimum of four people will be called “informal group“. The EU grants to cover all expenses on activities, accommodation and 70% of travelling expenses. But maybe you just wish to help others abroad, but you need a hint as well as financial support. YiA supports individual volunteers that wish to spend one year abroad, working on a particular project in some organization – this action is called European Voluntary Service. The EU covers all expenses and you only need to find a sending and receiving organization.Or maybe you already work as a youth worker at your national level? You can also receive financial support for your own idea. One example from Slovakia: A group of four friends – journalism students, submitted a project to support visibility of the voluntary program and traveled abroad to make short documentaries about three Slovak volunteers working in three different countries. Films were presented all over Slovakia in schools and youth centers to promote this fantastic opportunity of the Youth in Action program.

There are several ways to get involved. This time we will present you the so called Youth Exchanges, probably the easiest way to gain support for your international project.
1. To create your own project on a certain topic (can really be anything, from Capoeira, theatre, music, culture and youth policy to sports, helping disables, anything you wish to discuss and you seek an opinion of another culture), you need to find a foreign partner(-s) (you may use either several FB databases, your friends from abroad, or simply google them…), further to discuss the program together with partner group(-s) and finally submit the project – meaning, to fill in a simple form (about 20 pages) and send it to the National Agency (every EU and partner country has its own agency).
2. The easiest way to get involved is to send a one page form (called Part III) to the group of people or organization that organizes this projects and search for foreign groups (there are also databases on the internet, for instance FB groups such as Youth Media Team or EU Projects Partners Finding group). When the project is approved, you can go!

How simple?
You will find more information at the website of EACEA website, where you can find out more about your options and ways to get involved in the Youth in Action projects.

By Lucia Mrázová