E-learning phase of the study session – “I, YOUTH ADVOCATE”

Course at a glance.pngThe first phase of our double study session “I, Youth Advocate” has just been launched. This is an e-learning phase, open to the participants on the Moodle platform.

The study session is organised by MIJARC EUROPE and DON BOSCO YOUTH NETWORK in cooperation with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe – European Youth Centre Budapest. 

The e-learning phase covers two learning modules and aims to give a short introduction to the topic of advocacy.

Module 1 overview.pngThe first module is designed to get participants familiar with the platform, get to know each other and the team of facilitators, learn about the Council of Europe, DBYN and MIJARC Europe and start making connections between their local realities, their roles within their organisations and the study session.

Module 2The second module gives a closer look into the TOPIC of advocacy and aims to set a really good and COMMON BASE for the study session itself.

The residential phase of the study session takes place between 7-10 October 2019 and it is hosted by the European Youth Center in Budapest. 

The e-learning phase will be open initially only to registered participants but it will be made publicly available to all those interested in the topic.

You should have seen her talking her way through our hearts during that interview we had, answering inspiredly and intelligently to those silly interview questions we had prepared for her: “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” – seriously, what were we thinking?

You should have seen her on her first day, having just moved from her country to start from zero in a competitive Brussels where she knew almost no one and where she would begin a new life.

You should have seen her walking confidently in our then-shabby office and lighting the room up with her presence, cleaning everything, organizing the folders, installing the printer and smiling to everybody.

You should have seen her every time the applications she had written were approved, her big, green eyes lighting up with happiness and her beautiful face spreading light, hope and gratitude.

You should have seen her bringing “Sally up and Sally down” on cool mornings before the long days of our seminars began, working out to keep her body fit and her mind energized and clear in order to answer politely to all those questions she had already answered to in the practical guidelines.

You should have seen her in her leather jacket and her black boots, looking like a rock start while carrying two heavy suitcases with folders, materials and the printer.

You probably saw her behind every process that ran smoothly, every piece of information that helped you get to the venue of a MIJARC Europe activity, behind every reimbursement form, every folder, presentation, report, application and positive change our organisation has benefited from since she came on board. If you haven’t seen her, you were not paying attention. There was so much you could have learnt from her. We all did.

Mijarc Europe is a better youth organization today because of her involvement, her time, overtime, compassion, carefulness, sharp mind and kind heart. She is Alexandra Solomon and until today she has officially and for a long time unofficially been our European Secretary, our support and our friend.

We wish you, Alexandra, the best! May your road to fulfilling your dreams be smooth and easy and may the universe reward your work and kindness!

We saw her and how lucky we were…

Arman, Claire, Cristiana, Daniela, Florina and Sara

Our common home is on fire.  The Amazon is burning and we cannot hold our breath until you finally take action. What is happening in the Amazon is affecting us all over the world. It is a global emergency.

Will you watch the fire or will you support us in doing something? In putting pressure on the institutions which are supposed to protect our home and ACT?

Will you help us prevent this from happening again?

This is about #EveryBreathWeTake.

Challenge 3 more people to take a deep breath to remind us about the precious natural resource which is on fire. We need to keep the fight for Climate Justice!

A campaign created by the participants of the international training course ”Let’s go online”, an activity co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.

Study session – “I, YOUTH ADVOCATE”

COE-70y-logos-dark-bg-quadriA study session organised by MIJARC EUROPE and DON BOSCO YOUTH NETWORK in cooperation with the Youth Department of the Council of EuropeEuropean Youth Centre Budapest. 

Dates: 7-10 October 2019

This study session has been a common idea of MIJARC Europe and Don Bosco Youth Network, two international organisations that work on very similar topics and who decided to do a joint study session on advocacy for their members.

Aim and objectives

The “I, Youth Advocate” study session aims to prepare young people from MIJARC Europe and DBYN Networks to be active advocates at European level, on diverse topics of interest for youth.

The main aim is built on the following objectives:

  • Assist young people to reflect on their local realities and link them to the policy changes they want at European level,
  • Explore advocacy tools and policy instruments of the Council of Europe, DBYN, MIJARC Europe and other European stakeholders in order to use them in their advocacy work,
  • Develop advocacy competences such as communication with relevant stakeholders, strategic planning and other skills to implement successful advocacy plans,
  • Empower young people to design concrete actions plans on advocacy to be implemented within the two organizations.

Hosting organizations

MIJARC logo transMIJARC Europe is a European coordination network for rural and Christian youth organizations all over the continent. MIJARC Europe represents over 130. 000 young people from rural areas in 14 European countries. It promotes sustainable agricultural, rural and international development, European citizenship, youth policies, gender equality, environmental protection, interculturality and human rights.

6390467Don Bosco Youth-Net is an international network of Salesian youth work offices and youth organisations which work in the style of Don Bosco.  The network assemblies 18 organisations, who cater for over 125.000 children and young people in 16 European countries.  The task of the network is to create and promote international activities for and by young and to create possibilities for member organisations to share their good practices and start-up new projects together.

Study session design

The study session is based on non-formal education methods and will present a mixture of the methodologies used by the two host organizations. The “See-Judge-Act” methodology of MIJARC Europe and the Don Bosco method promoted by DBYN. You should expect a lot of experiential learning activities, reflection moments, practical examples and space for sharing and exchanging facts and opinions. As MIJARC Europe and DBYN are both faith-based organizations, we will also take time to reflect on our own values, beliefs and spirituality.


Thee will be two main phases of this study session:

  1. E-learning phase (20th September – 2nd October) which will require 1-2 hours of involvement in total and will focus mostly on getting to know each other and setting a common ground to what we all understand by advocacy.
  2. Study session (7-10 October) a four-day residential phase taking place in Budapest, at the European Youth Center. This is the main phase of the activity and participants will learn about advocacy practices and tools and will create action plans that the two host organizations will implement in their work.

Participants will also be invited to continue their involvement within the representation structures of the two host organizations and to further contribute to the implementation of the action plans.

Call for participants: study session “I , Youth advocate”

How About YOU(th) – From the Climate Conference to the Streets

The first episode of “How about YOU(th)” – a MIJARC Europe Podcast where young people are talking about Climate Change and the Change they are making.  MIJARC Europe is hosting this loudspeaker of young voices letting everybody know that change is coming whether they like it or not.


”Let our voice be heard” – an annual work plan co-funded by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.


Between 2018 and 2021 MIJARC Europe is leading its work around three thematic focus points described in the Specific Objectives adopted by the General Assembly back in 2017. The work plan we run in 2019 addressed MIJARC Europe’s commitment to support citizenship and youth participation in rural development.

Through the work plan we run in 2019 we aimed to help rural young people in MIJARC Europe network and beyond feel that they have the right, the means and the skills to drive change at local level and to motive other stakeholders to support their ideas and create opportunities for youth participation together.

We wanted young people to feel that they know, they can, and they want to be involved, to be able to imagine the concrete, sequential steps towards achieving real impact and to identify how to determine local authorities to join their initiatives in order to see those changes they envision, happen in reality.

This aim was pursued through the following specific objectives:

O1: enable young people from rural areas to discriminate between self-imposed barriers to participation (their own perceptions, stereotypes and attitudes) and real barriers and find inspiration to identify solutions to both types of barriers;

O2: teach young people how to communicate with, involve and ask for support from local authorities and perceive them as partners rather than opponents;

O3: empower young people from rural areas to become competent and effective digital citizens;

O4: contribute to the implementation of the principles of the Revised Charter on participation of young people in local and regional life and to the dissemination of the “Have your say manual” to local public authorities and youth NGOs in at least 10 rural areas in Europe.


The work plan included one local activity and two international activities, reinforced by follow- up activities at local level.

From February to April 2019, MIJARC Europe organized focus groups, called “local visits” in 9 different countries in Europe. Small groups of 10 to 20 people aged from 12 to 22 years old came together, sometimes also with representatives of local authorities, to discuss the topic of youth participation.

Questions like “what does youth participation mean?”, “what kind of youth participation does take place?”, “does real participation take place?”, “how young people are involved, do they have a real chance to participate and co-decide?” have been deeply discussed with the help of the manual “Have your Say”. The manual Have your Say is a tool of the Council of Europe for young people and local authorities to implement and use the Charter on youth participation in the local and regional life. The findings of the local visits were included in a report and illustrated in country fact sheets. The results of this small scale research were at the basis of the next two phases.

Report on the state of youth participation – local visits

Info graphics – country fact sheets

The second activity was an international seminar, which gathered 40 young people, for four full working days.  It had the role to bridge the results of the fieldwork done by MIJARC Europe during the local visits with the theoretical and practical aspects of the participation at local, national, regional and European lever by involving active members in a proactive learning process.

The seminar was designed and led based on the methods of non-formal education and relevant approaches using the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in local and regional life and the “Have your say” Manual. The successful implementation of the seminar resulted in a magazine of personal stories of participation written and drawn by the participants, the creation of vlogs and of three infographics.  The final evaluation results show that the seminar scored high in the hearts and minds of the participants. The percentage of those who believe that they got the basic theory, practical approaches and tools, to help them to build a culture of participation after the seminar is about 92%.

Digital magazine “My story of participation” 

Vlogs – https://www.youtube.com/user/MIJARCEurope/videos



The seminar was complemented by the third phase, an international training course on e- citizenship that offered additional tools and ideas to tackle the problems identified in the first phase. The training course aimed to bring the participants closer to e-participation. The participants were encouraged to build their own positions for different topics related to participation and e-participation and they had a possibility to present and discuss in a safe learning environment.

They had a possibility to address their comments and questions to Dirk Van Eeckhout, the Thematic Coordinator on Information Policy in the Council of Europe and Rita Jonusaite, part of the secretariat of the YFJ. That was a highly valuable experience that helped the participants to meet stakeholders, gain self-confidence and resilience breaking the present barriers. The participants worked together in intercultural subgroups in order to solve practical case studies through the e-participation tools they have discovered.


The most impressive result of the training course was the set up of an online campaign “Every Breath we take” the participants used to raise awareness on the fires in the Amazon and climate injustice. The campaign worked as a Facebook challenge in which young people were challenged to take a photo of themselves with their eyes closed, taking a deep breath along with the written message: “Our common home is on fire. The Amazon is burning. We cannot hold our breath until you finally take action. We need to act NOW!”. It also included four calls to action and messages inspired by the position papers of MIJARC Europe such as: “We demand national governments to take concrete actions to meet their commitments to the Paris agreement”. The campaign gathered more than 100 people who took a photo of themselves, posted the photo along with the message on their Facebook profile and challenged their friends

Every breath we take campaign

Training booklet on e-participation

Finally, each organization involved did a follow-up activity of their choice, involving a minimum number of 10 participants. The full list of follow-up activities can be seen here.

Follow-up activity in Bulgaria

Follow-up activity in Germany

Follow-up activity in Romania

The results of the work plan were also presented and promoted in our biannual magazine: MIJARC Explore.

logosbeneficaireserasmusleft_enBetween 4th – 8th September 2018, our member movement APSD-Agenda 21 is hosting a youth exchange on peace and conflict. The project is called “Messages from the future” and it is part of our annual work plan on 2018 “We are the others”. The youth exchange is co-financed by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. It is organized as an international simulation on four different topics which affect peace and conflict at global level: climate change, migration, gender inequality and extremism.

The final day of our youth exchange brought to our attention the topic of extremism with the help of a very interesting game and many balloons. The team of facilitators adapted ”The Island” simulation from the All Different, All Equal Education Pack in order to show that differences should be first acknowledged and then accepted, that tolerance and adaptability are key skills and that diversity should be celebrated.

Split into two different tribes, both worshiping balloons the participants took their roles seriously and started looking for a very rare type of balloon which could only be found with a special map. Of course each tribe possessed only half of the map and only by coming together and mending the two halves could the tribes find the balloons. The negotiations were tough and the members of the tribes had to learn the other’s culture in order to be able to communicate with them.

In the debriefing part they talked about how important it had been to stay open and to adapt to the situation by learning the language of the other tribe, sharing their habits and not using violent methods. They discussed about culture, what makes it important and about what brings the cultures into conflict. They reflected on who gains and who loses from a conflict and about the negative and positive consequences of opening up towards other cultures.

Next, the tribes prepared the photo-messages with their most important conclusion.

The day ended with a long evaluation and follow-up session, in which the participants reflected on their learning, filled-in their youth passes and discovered what competences they had developed throughout the week. They also made plans for hosting the travelling exhibition and found out who their secret friend had been.


logosbeneficaireserasmusleft_enBetween 4th – 8th September 2018, our member movement APSD-Agenda 21 is hosting a youth exchange on peace and conflict. The project is called “Messages from the future” and it is part of our annual work plan on 2018 “We are the others”. The youth exchange is co-financed by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. It is organized as an international simulation on four different topics which affect peace and conflict at global level: climate change, migration, gender inequality and extremism.

Gender inequalities were at the core of the fourth day which brought participants face to face with some of the realities of the labour market and of domestic violence. After an energetic start of the morning, the participants watched a short movie about gender and split in four groups deciding on weather some adjectives described male or female features or positive and negative features. The activity was adapted from the “Gender Matters” manual and it introduced the participants into gender stereotyping.

Next, it was time for them to work and get paid. They were assigned a role with information about their sex, age and experience and they had to go through five work stations where they performed different tasks (arranging small balls on piles of the same colour, preparing bread dough or scoring with a basket ball). At the end of the game they made a long row and received their payment which, of course, took into account their performance but also their sex and their age. In the debriefing part, they discussed about the inequalities on the labour market between genders and how unjust the system is with huge pay gaps in some countries.

The next game brought them face to face with real cases of domestic violence of all types which they discussed in national groups and then presented their conclusion to the rest of the participants. The fact that they were split on national groups really helped with showing the different approaches the countries represented have towards gender violence, the laws that apply and the feeling of the community towards the victims and the perpetrators.

The day ended with the creation of the photo-messages which were very creative and provoking.

logosbeneficaireserasmusleft_enBetween 4th – 8th September 2018, our member movement APSD-Agenda 21 is hosting a youth exchange on peace and conflict. The project is called “Messages from the future” and it is part of our annual work plan on 2018 “We are the others”. The youth exchange is co-financed by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. It is organized as an international simulation on four different topics which affect peace and conflict at global level: climate change, migration, gender inequality and extremism.

The third day was full of strong feelings, tears and tense moments as the participants experienced an impactful simulation on the topic of migration. The facilitators adapted the United Nations simulation game ”Passages” and tried to make it as vivid as possibe in order to make the participants experience a tiny bit of what it would be like to be forced to flee your home and head into the unknown.

It all started out very enthusiastically, with everybody smiling and fooling around. Split on families, the participants had to assign names and roles to each member of the family and create their family story. Next they were blinfolded and following a bomb attack on their home town they had to find their family members through the smoke that did not allow them to see anything. The simulation took them through different experiences such as deciding which objects to take in their suitcases, spending the night (around 8 minutes) in a shelter, filling in forms in a language they were not familiar with, being rejected at the border without any explanation, crossing the border illegally, facing the harsh conditions of a refugee camp and finally pleading their case with the authorities to get asylum.

The debriefing phase revealed how powerful the exercise was and many participants spoke about the intensity of the feelings they had, the impact it made on them and the amazement of how little they knew about the experiences some of the refugees go through.

The photos they created stand proof for the powerful messages they felt inside, as they are deep, thought-provoking and trully inspiring.

logosbeneficaireserasmusleft_enBetween 4th – 8th September 2018, our member movement APSD-Agenda 21 is hosting a youth exchange on peace and conflict. The project is called “Messages from the future” and it is part of our annual work plan on 2018 “We are the others”. The youth exchange is co-financed by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. It is organized as an international simulation on four different topics which affect peace and conflict at global level: climate change, migration, gender inequality and extremism.

IMG_6799.JPGThe rain tried to be the star of the second day but we managed to keep the focus on climate change, the topic of our simulation. The secret location was revealed first thing in the morning when the participants gathered next to the bus that was going to take us to the Mud Volcanoes.

Unfortunately, we were able to visit the site for only 5 minutes until the rain started. It was a real thunder storm, but we continued to work divided on teams taking shelter and focusing on our learning objectives. The simulation on climate change was inspired by the game “Pacha Mama” and adapted to the context of climate change. The participants were divided in five teams, each representing a certain imaginary country, each of which had some advantages and some disadvantages. The citizens of Vital, Rassas, Activ, Cocoon and Scrib prepared their country’s identity (flag, map, how their life is) on a flip chart and introduced themselves to each other.


Then it was time for the Climate Change Olympic Games when they had to go through five games, in which they could use their advantages or see what it feels like to have less chances than the others. It was a very funny activity which challenged everybody to do their part and help their country become the victor of the games.

The next phase was very important, as it invited the participants to debrief the experience they had. This session revealed the injustice of climate change as the countries which contribute the less to the carbon dioxide emissions will be the ones most affected. It also helped the participants reflect on the different scenarios of climate change and the probabilities of each of those happening. They then connected these potential consequences to the state of global peace, realizing the strain the changes in climate would impose on countries which were already overburdened by issues such as poverty, political instability or lack of access to resources.

Finally, the participants gave a visual form to their reflections as they created photo-messages to send to young people living in the present in order to motivate them to take action so that the worst scenarios would never become reality.