Our former general secretary Rein Meus contributed to the new publication of the EU-CoE youth partnership: "The history of youth work in Europe, volume 7".
In Chapter 4, he discusses the creation of DBYN and the origins and reasons of our particular working style.
We thank him again for this huge work and all the work he has done during his fourteen years at the DBYN office.
We wish you all a good reading!
Heverlee (Belgium), 16th December 2019: In the fight against climate change, Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw, the European network of Salesian youth organisations, has become a member of the Don Bosco Green Alliance, the worldwide collective of young people from the Don Bosco family of institutions, who contribute to global environmental action, thought and policy.
The COP25 in Madrid is just over and many people are saying that “We've lost an important opportunity”. Just before the UN Climate Change Conference started, DBYN became a full member of the Don Bosco Green Alliance (DBGA). To become a member of the Don Bosco Green Alliance, you first need to be an organisation or institution in the Don Bosco world: we are. Secondly, you need at least three specific commitments towards protecting and bettering the environment. Here, we have asked you for ideas through a survey a few months ago and the three following commitments came out, which DBYN has approved for joining the DBGA:
Together with your suggestions, there were also some questions related to these commitments and our membership in the Don Bosco Green Alliance. Here are our answers (we have summarised some questions):
Will it be an extra cost for DBYN? Or an investment?
Let's be clear: to stop or limit climate change, we (human beings) have to pay and we have to make investments. Sometimes with money, but even more importantly, we have to change some of our habits and our “Western” way of living: this seems to be the tricky part. Why should I take the train when I can save 5 hours taking a flight? In order to do this, we have to invest time and maybe money, but booking in advance makes even a train ride cheaper than a flight. Some people might have the feeling that they are losing flexibility and we have to change our habits. But on the other hand, if we are not doing it, we will have to invest much more in a later time. That is the overall truth.
There is also the option to save money and resources: for example, if DBYN manages to organise online meetings (commitment 3a), our expenditures for travelling will get less. It is the same with commitment 3b: if we recycle and reuse material on our own, we can save money and resources and more vegetarian food also means lower costs for the meals (commitment 1). For the second commitment, we just have to use the knowledge and resources that we have in our network meaning that no further investment is needed on this level either.
The possibility also exists to allocate new funding possibilities for DBYN and its MOs if we get more engaged in the topic of sustainability.
Is it possible to offer organisations customised information about this subject (sustainability, environmental protection, Laudato Si, etc.)?
Sure it is. As soon as we will have developed a session on the topic or developed/found good practice within our network, we will let you know. We also cooperate with other INYGOs on that topic on a European level.
But we also need your help. If you have a really good practice, example, success story, etc. let us know and we will share it online, but also during our activities.
To stop climate change, everybody has to do their part, but overall, we have to work together. The survey for the commitments and our membership in the DBGA are just the start, let us work together for the rest. 🌍
Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw
Naamsesteenweg 37, B-3001 Heverlee • +32 (0)16 48 78 90
Don Bosco Green Alliance
+91 - 982 182 2057
Originally published on Building Citizens.
‘I, Youth Advocate’ was a seminar for youth representatives in partnership with MIJARC Europe organized as a study session in the European Youth Centre of Budapest and took place from the 06-11/10/2019. It aimed to train volunteers of DBYN’s and MIJARC Europe member organisations to become active in advocacy work, relevant for the network.
34 participants, 4 trainers and several experts from all over Europe came together to learn and teach about Human Rights based advocacy. The study session took place in the European Youth Centre of Budapest, which offered us both financial and content based support. Furthermore as the European Youth Centre stands for “Access to Rights” and “Youth Participation” their policy framework was an ideal basis for the learning programme.
The first day of the study session we learned about its aims. After that we tried defining ‘advocacy’. This way, the theme became a lot clearer to most of the participants. Next to that we also got an information session about the Council of Europe and how it works.
Some participants were already used to work in intercultural groups, but for some is was new and they needed more time to get used to it. The group was however very understanding about that and this only became better during the study session.
On Tuesday we learned about the 9 steps of the advocacy circle. Next to these 9 steps, there were also 3 actions explained that you can/have to keep doing during the whole advocacy process. While working in groups with a self-chosen topic, we learned to use the information we had gotten and doing so the information became clearer. After that, there was an information session about the European Youth Forum (YFJ), given by one of its board members. We learned about the Human Rights-based approach of the YFJ, about rights holders and duty bearers and also about the difference between policy and politics. A clear example that was given was about how the YFJ has a collective complaint / a legal case against Belgium about unpaid internships. A first, success resulting from this action was the ban from the European Parliament against unpaid internships. Now, the YFJ is waiting for when and how Belgium will react.
The third day, we played a very interesting and educational simulation game. It began with an explanation about the Council of the European Union and its president, the European Council and its president and The European Commission. This was needed to understand what the game was all about and to develop a strategy to play it. To play the game, we were all given a fictive role and in this way we were divided into four groups: the Commission, the European Parliament, the Council (of the European Union) and interest groups. While playing the simulation game, we learned a lot about the legislative procedures that are used in the given organisations and also about lobbying, setting up meetings, who to address and also about listening to the opinions of interest groups and other parties.
The last day, we worked in our organisation groups (MIJARC and DBYN). We discussed about what this study session and advocacy in general can mean for our organisations. In smaller groups we then worked on possible actual projects with self-chosen topics. After that there was an information session for all the participants about the European Youth Foundation (EYF), its available grants and how to apply for them. When applying, it is very important to explain to EYF the link there is between your project and Human Rights. The programming Committee (8 youth representatives and 8 governmental representatives) then decides about the approval of the projects.
"Hello and happy new year to you all!
My name is Aubérie Samson and I am the new General Secretary of Don Bosco Youth-Net starting today. :-)
I am both French and German and I’m coming from the beautiful Alsace region in the East of France next to the German and Swiss borders. There, I met the Salesians and a few years later, I became involved with the Mouvement Salésien des Jeunes (the French and South Belgian Salesian Youth Movement) gathering a lot of young animators from 17 to 30 years old coming from the whole province. I’m part of it since 2010 and it is amazing how it has developed during these years.
I’m very excited for this new chapter and look forward to see you all!
Feel free to ask me if you have any questions. Have a nice day!"
“Youth Incubator” was a training course that took place in Bratislava (SK), coordinated by DBYN and hosted by DOMKA.
24 participants from 9 different countries (AT, BE, DE, ES, IT, MT, PL, SK, UA) worked together on social entrepreneurship, learning how to develop their own projects, budget and fund them through Erasmus +. The cooperative working space, active supervision of trainers and communication between each others, characterized the practical approach of the course; an exchange of cultures and youth projects, where the participants were pushed to find in autonomy new ideas and solutions, comparing their different point of views. Study visits at Ps Digital Company, Domka and Savio organisations were organized to show how social entrepreneurs work in practice, in order to increase curiosity and awareness in young participants.
The entire training course was based on the Don Bosco’s style that permitted to combine work space and informal moments, in which young people could share their thoughts and feelings, discover their different backgrounds and make friendship. It was an unforgetable international experience!
My name is Sara. I’m an Italian law student at University of Sassari. I am an intern of DBYN during the summer 2018. After my first Erasmus+ student in Poland last year, my point of view changed and it became international. I started to think about a new international experience for my Erasmus+ Traineeship and, actually, it’s the DBYN that found me.
DBYN is giving me the opportunity to combine my main interests: law, education, youth issues. It is my first work experience and I am sure that it will help me a lot to grow up professionally. I have the opportunity to improve my communication and networking skills. At DBYN I’m going to work on human rights and advocacy. I can give a legal contribution in the advocacy strategy of the NGO and I will do it safeguarding the sense of humanity.
DBYN shows me how youth is important and we need to defend it. I am sure that after this international experience I will be a different and richer person!
On 26th April, in the premises of COMECE (Commission of Bishops’ Conferences in the EU) took place the first European gathering of International Catholic Youth Organisations, in which Don Bosco International, as a facilitator and coordinator of the meeting, and Don Bosco Youth-Net as one of the most active Catholic Youth Organisation were represented.
The meeting was opened by Fr. Olivier Poquillon op, secretary general of COMECE, very supportive of this process, as there is a clear need and will from the bishops’ representation in Brussels to have young people’s voices heard by the institutions. The content of the meeting was very diverse: the presence of some organisations in the European Youth Forum, the new policy updates at EU level (such as the new Erasmus+, European Youth Strategy or the difficulties with the current EU grants), the work done with migrants and refugees by the different youth organisations, and the follow up of the Synod on Youth, in order to find possible ways to establish social and political dialogue with different stakeholders at national and EU level.
DBYN’s study session Advocates for Education took place from 8 April until 15 April 2018 in Budapest.
24 participants, 4 trainers and several experts from all over Europe came together to learn and teach about Human Rights based advocacy. The study session took place in the European Youth Centre of Budapest, which offered us both financial and content based support. Furthermore as the European Youth Centre stands for “Access to Rights” and “Youth Participation” their policy framework was an ideal basis for the learning programme.
To kick-off the week with a positive vibe, there was a teambuilding. When participating in a study session it’s essential to know the other participants and where they come from. After this the first session took place. It introduced Human Rights and advocacy but also politics & policies and values were included in this session. The trainers provided an efficient week programme which contained interactive sessions, introducing all aspects of the advocacy cycle.
It’s not evident to learn about such a broaden topic in one week. To help to understand it more, DBYN invited two experts to explain in what way they advocate. They gave examples of how you could use it in your own organisation. One of the experts was Anca Sandescu. She is a Human Rights trainer and she clarified why Human Rights are so important when advocating for something.
“I’m a true believer in the fact that we can build up a society in which we can respect everyone.”
The second expert was Angel Gudiña. As executive secretary of Don Bosco International,
he explained advocacy from a Salesian perspective and how he advocates towards European institutions and different policy networks.
At the end of the week there was the opportunity to start up an advocacy campaign. In this way the participants could turn their words into actions and show what advocacy means for them or for their organisations. The outcomes of this study session are a guidebook on youth advocacy, several local advocacy campaigns, and a working group on integrating the No Hate Speech Campaign in the participant’s local organisations.
Advocacy is a new strategic priority for DBYN. It’s part of our Master Plan 2018-2020 and we will continue working on this with our member organisations.
Explore the categories to find information on the actions developed by Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw