On January 25th and 26th 2023, Géraldine and Adeline, our consultants for youth education, were in Bonn at the “Round Table on qualification of youth worker” organized by IJAB (Fachstelle für Internationale Jugendarbeit der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) and Jugend für Europa“ (“Youth for Europe”). For two years, Corona had prevented this regular face-to-face event from taking place. The aim of the two-day meeting was to bring together actors from practice and academia in international youth work.
The format chosen for the exchange was a barcamp – a method that is also well known in the world of international youth exchange. A barcamp is an open format whose content is developed by the participants themselves at the beginning of the event and shaped as it progresses. In a barcamp, the focus is on the exchange between the participants.
In concrete terms, this means that participants could submit the topics they wanted to discuss online on a padlet in the run-up to the meeting. Each person could decide which topic they wanted to discuss in depth. This method made it possible to get in touch with new people and to expand one’s own expertise.
At the end of the afternoon, all of the participants met again and each group in turn presented the points discussed. The next day, the topics that attracted the most interest were discussed again; this time in a larger group, which presented a protocol of the points addressed at the end of the session.
The following topics were addressed:
– Joint project platform in international youth work: Securing knowledge transfer and know-how even after the end of the project.
– Digital youth work – How can youth workers be digitally trained?
– With the Bonn Process and EU youth programs on the way to sustainable youth work
– More diversity of young people in German-African cooperation (German-African Youth Office)
– How can we provide international youth work even more low-threshold and motivate young people to participate?
– Difficulties in obtaining visas for North African countries: How should we deal with it and what possibilities do exist to influence foreign embassies?
– International youth work at eye level despite unequal resources
Géraldine and Adeline moderated the exchange on the last two topics.
In December 2022, the entire German delegation of the “Young Verified Leaders” project could not travel to Algeria because all participants had not received the needed visa. Therefore, it was indispensable for Adeline to exchange with actors of international youth work who had similar difficulties and to think together about concrete solutions so that such situations do not happen again in the future.
Another highlight of the event was the presentation by Katrin Klein-Zimmer (professor for international and transnational social work with a focus on child and youth work) and Ahmet Sinoplu (graduate social worker, managing director of “Coach e. V.” – Cologne Initiative for Education and Integration of Young Migrants, trainer and consultant, especially on the topics of diversity, discrimination, criticism of racism, empowerment, prevention of violence and international mobility) in the form of a “Q&A”-round. Among other things, this focused on the issues that young people face after two years of the pandemic and the lessons that should be learned. Various challenges of international youth work were addressed, as the following picture shows:
– International youth work must be oriented towards the realities of young people’s lives;
– Youth work must gain more recognition as a human rights profession;
– Training and qualification of professionals;
– Make the field of practice attractive again;
– Include digital worlds;
– Diversity-oriented and anti-discriminatory position.
*Picture 2: Katrin Klein-Zimmer and Ahmet Sinoplu in conversation with the moderator.
In addition to the topics covered during these two days, events like this roundtable offer the opportunity to network with actors in international youth work, to exchange ideas and to benefit from the knowledge transfer. Géraldine and Adeline are looking forward to the next meeting.