The Unsung Hero Conference brought together participants from the countries and partner organisations of the Unsung Hero Dialogues project, local Germans and internationals from the four corners (and many centres) of Europe.
Over two days, with accompanying additional program in and around Erfurt, the conference discussed the overarching themes of the Unsung Hero Dialogues (UHD) – the working situation and environments in civil society, the range of activities in civil society, from volunteering to full time paid work, and ways how to best help civil society workers.
Starting with an introduction to the UHD survey on the labour conditions in civil society and its outcomes, the conference then discussed more specific issues and proposals for change. To do so, we were joined by Ms Franziska Baum, member of the Thuringian parliament, and Ms Katharina Schenk, state secretary for municipal affairs in the Thuringian Ministry for the Interior, to not just discuss the specific case of Thuringia, but also underlying questions and needs for change in current systems of education in general, and of how democratic values are being taught in particular.
Following these discussions, all UHD partner organisations presented the work they had done over the past 18 months in 46 activities and events all told, and discussed their local realities with plenty of questions and comments from the audience. After this, the participants split up to discuss issues more in-depth based on their interests, from labour conditions to the range and tension that exists between volunteering and paid work, and to the limitations put upon civil society actors by current frameworks of funding, many interesting exchanges and conversations were had, and taken with them into the concluding open space to develop new ideas based on the activities of the previous days.
We would like to thank everyone who came to the many events all across Europe and who participated in the many many discussions about these important topics, and look forward to sharing the final outcomes of the project with the YEU network in the upcoming weeks.