Type of practice:
This action has been submitted through the Mayors Mechanism Call to Local Action for Migrants and Refugees. Not every family finds its way easily to youth work. The youth movements of Mechelen are not yet a reflection and representation of the diversity in our city. The youth service has taken up the challenge to change this with the youth movements and their associations. The project aims at: families (children, youngsters, parents) with a migration background and/or a refugee story (aim of guiding children/youngsters to youthwork); and youth movements (strengthening these organisations (and by extension youth associations) in order to reach the above-mentioned target groups more easily, and support them in setting up a diversity policy). The main objectives of the project are: guiding new members with a migration background sustainable towards youthwork; supporting associations regarding diversity, inclusion & accessibility; and raising awareness of the added value of youthwork.
Benefit and Impact
2. Sustainable guidance of children and young people with a migration background to youth work in Mechelen: Recruitment of 60 children and young people with a migration background and/or a refugee story as participant/leader; and 100 home visits (on average 1 per week).
3. Image creation and perception: Parents, children and young people have a better idea of youth work and recognise the added value and richness of it; bij organizing focusgroups with youngsters, volunteers, parents, professionals and employers; development of educational material (videos); collect and share minimum 15 testimonies on storytelling platform; and by organising yearly "warm welcome (CHILL) days".
We foresee a regular staff deployment by the youth service and J@m vzw, and in addition a secondment of Group INTRO vzw in close cooperation with the youth service and J@m vzw so that we can bring in Group INTRO vzw's expertise with regard to children and youngsters with a migration background (and refugee story) into the respective workings. We pay attention to the entire operation of the youth service and evaluate the experiences made. The co-financing ensures more shared leadership and shared involvement, commitment and ownership. It ensures that we build expertise, and can embed it in existing services. The ambition of shared ownership and expertise building is also reflected in the financial proposal: the city provides co-financing. We focus on the positive learning experiences of young people and the long-term impact. In addition, we continue to build up a framework for youth work and scale it up through supra-local exchange.
The emergence of new networks and new partnerships. The "Youth Work for All" project works with a label (10 point action plan), rewarding the youth work initiatives involved for their efforts. The youth movements receive professional support in various forms (tailor made, generic trainings, toolkit, etc.) to realise the 10 point actionplan. Monitoring & evaluation of these action plans and professional support is crucial. Pitfalls/challenges: A sense of urgency among the youth movements versus a lack of capacity (members stop) of youth movements. Sustainable embedding of the project within the regular activities of the youth service & J@m vzw (need of structural resources & personnel). Follow-up and monitoring of the action plans and therefore the labels “Youth Work for All” is necessary.