Youth Work in Africa and Europe
From 25 January to 1 February, the 10th Africa-Europe Training Course took place in Nairobi, Kenya, organized by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe. Twenty youth umbrella organizations were present, including YEU, represented by Martijn Bergsma from the Netherlands.
The participants discussed the commonalities and differences between them, regarding the challenges of youngsters in Europe and Africa, and what methods youth organizations are using in different regions. Martijn says: "It was very interesting to meet representatives from all over Africa, and to discuss youth work in general. During an afternoon of 'Open Space', I could share some methods based on Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed. Some African youth organizations were not familiar with non-formal education, so it was very nice to spread the principles of it."
Martijn: "A key part was a visit to a slum, where youth organizations are working on education centers and solutions for urban farming. The situation is not easy, as the poverty was striking, with no sewage systems and houses made of plastic materials. But the people were positive and the warm encounters with locals lightened the mood. At the end of the week the participants had many ideas to work together, but the distance remains a problem and there are few funds available for common projects. The Erasmus Plus programme offers some opportunities, but the budgets are limited. We will however maintain our informal network, so when there is an opportunity, we are ready to set up a project together. In general the Training Course was very successful and all participants agreed it was most useful to meet each other and to share realities and practises between European and African youth organizations."