”Rock, paper, participation” – an annual work plan co-funded by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and the European Union.

In 2020 MIJARC Europe will focus on seeing-judging-acting on how young people get involved in the dialogue on agricultural policies and on how they take part to sustainable agricultural practices.

Following the successful implementation of the work plan on citizenship and participation in 2019, MIJARC Europe has chosen to go deeper into the topic and build on the great results it has achieved so far, by focusing on increasing youth participation in building a sustainable future for agriculture and for rural communities. Agriculture is a key topic of MIJARC Europe and a strategic area of intervention when it comes to youth participation. Rural development and a prosperous, sustainable future for young people in rural areas are interlinked to agriculture. In 2017 official data revealed that Europe’s farming sector was dominated by an older population, especially in the case of women farmers – data showed that just 4.9% of farmers under 35 were women, compared to 6.4% for men. Even less were engaged in policy dialogue. We need to get young people from rural areas back at the dialogue table, we need to provide them with the skills and insight needed to understand what sustainable agriculture is and to give them a strong, informed and evidence-based voice in agricultural policies.

Listen to 32nd episode of our podcast “How about you(th)” to find out more about what sustainability means for agriculture.

Through this work plan we strive to provide the rural young people in the MIJARC Europe network with the values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and critical understanding required for meaningful participation and effective engagement in decision-making and policy development about sustainable agriculture.

We plan to achieve this aim by engaging the young people in a learning process which is based on the principles and instruments of the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life and the methodology of youth participatory projects described in the ‘Have your say’ manual.

The three phases of the work plan bring young people closer to farmers, sustainable agriculture initiatives and agricultural policies and uses a bottom-up approach. During the local visits/national webinars young people focus on the priorities they feel should be pursued in their community in order to increase young people’s involvement in agriculture, while the seminar and the summer camp teach them to understand and work on agricultural policies and to develop concrete projects at community level to address the priorities identified.

The local visits are planned to take plan between March-May 2020 but following the mobility restrictions imposed by the current global pandemic, the local visits will be organised as webinars.

The seminar and the summer camp are postpone to autumn 2020 with updates to be published at the beginning of August 2020.


The study session ”I, Youth Advocate” was a double study-session co-organised by the International Movement of Agricultural, Rural and Catholic Youth – Europe (MIJARC Europe) and Don Bosco Youth Net (DBYN). It was held between 7th – 10th October 2019 at the European Youth Centre in Budapest (EYCB).

The study session was based on non-formal education methods and used a mixture of the methodologies used by the two host-organisation. The “See-Judge-Act” methodology of MIJARC Europe and the Don Bosco method promoted by DBYN. As MIJARC Europe and DBYN are both faith-based organisation, sessions on spirituality were an important part of the programme.

The study session was structured on two main phases: an e-learning phase and the residential phase of the study session.

Online learning phase

Welcome pageThe online learning phase took place between 20th September – 2nd October. It was hosted on the Moodle platform and it included ten days of study and a time investment of 2 hours per module.

More details about the online learning phase here: E-learning phase

Residential phase – General flow

The study session lasted only four days therefore the flow was designed around the principle of efficacy, aiming to create the appropriate atmosphere quickly and to build the spirit towards in-depth discussions and concrete actions on the topic of advocacy.  34 participants, 4 trainers and several experts from all over Europe came together to learn and teach about advocacy based on human rights and policies. 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.

Following the SEE-JUDGE-ACT methodology, the first day gave room for the SEE-phase, introducing participants to the rationale of the study session, the organisations involved and the objectives of the session and connecting the online learning phase with the residential one. Once the participants got into the “advocacy mood” and reached common ground on the key concepts of youth advocacy and youth advocates, a process of mapping local realities and transferring them to the European level was initiated.

The JUDGE-phase was built on two dimensions: (i) tools and instruments and (ii) advocacy skills. On the second day the participants learnt about the 9 steps of the advocacy circle and worked with it on different topics at local, national and European level. After that, there was an information session about the European Youth Forum (YFJ), given by Silja Markkula, board member of the YFJ. The participants 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 had a collective complaint/a legal case against Belgium on unpaid internships. This campaign was very successful and it resulted into a ban imposed by the European Parliament on having unpaid internships. The tool and instruments session block also included presentations of policy instruments used at European level by the Council of Europe, the European Union and policy instruments of the two organisations – MIJARC Europe and DBYN.

On the third day, the advocacy skills identified by the participants were pursued through a complex simulation game, set at the heart of the decision-making process of the European Union. 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, all the participants were given a fictive role and were divided into four groups: the Commission, the European Parliament, the Council (of the European Union) and interest groups. While playing the simulation game, the participants learned a lot about the legislative procedures that are used in the given organisations and also about lobbying, setting up meetings, whom to address and also about listening to the opinions of interest groups and other parties.

During the ACT-phase the focus was on transferring the learning points to organisation level, by means of concrete actions in each of the two organisations: creating advocacy action plans for the three MIJARC Europe Commissions and training new commissioners, updating the Advocacy Handbook and the Policy Paper on Representation of DBYN and training new members of DBYN Pool of Representatives. The ACT phase included a common session on developing ideas for future collaboration between the two organisations and on including the learning results into the advocacy campaign MIJARC Europe and DBYN are running with COMECE. There was also an information session for all the participants about the European Youth Foundation (EYF), its available grants and how to apply for them.

MIJARC Europe and DBYN are both faith-based organisations, therefore spirituality was an important part in programme. Each day started and ended with a reflection session for “good morning” and “good night” in a special “silent room”. In addition to this, community groups were set up every evening to debrief on the main feelings and learning points of the day, to evaluate the gains, losses and changes participants wanted to see and to create a group feeling.

Main outputs: 

Advocacy plans for MIJARC Europe Commissions

Simulation exercise “Caesar and Cleopatra”

E-learning session on advocacy – brief concept

Revised Handbook on Advocacy – published by DBYN

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.

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”

Inspired by our successful training course on youth unemployment and answering the request of several member organisations to offer training courses and contribute to the training of their members, MIJARC Europe decided to organize its first online training course.


Why this title?

We initially wanted to offer the course on Moodle an open source software. This is why the course was called “In the mood(le) for climate change”, playing with the name of the platform and the expression “to be in the mood” which means feeling like doing something or fancying something. However, when testing the course on this platform it turned out it was a bit difficult for users to interact and build content on it so we switched to a platform that was easier to use and required minimum computer knowledge. That’s why the name changed into “In the mood for climate change?” which is a good question we should all ask ourselves: are we really in the mood for experiencing the consequences of climate change?

How did it all start?

With a team meeting, of course, a meeting during which the team approved the activities for the current year following the topic that was voted by the general assembly: climate change and sustainable development. We included the training course in our annual work plan and after some months we received the good news that out work plan had been approved for financing. That is when the entire adventure began: send the call for trainers, read CVs and motivation letters, have interviews and finally select the team of two trainers: Thomas Gits and Florina Potirniche, who together made a great team of knowledge on climate change and sustainable development, training experience and e-learning tools savvy. Then, as they started working on the contents and structure, our team launched the call for participants. Finally, on 2nd May, we published our first learning unit on teachable.com and from then on we spent eight challenging but really rewarding weeks of online interactions with the trainers, the lectures, the participants, videos, articles, games, photos and interesting online sources.

What is teachable.com?

Teachable.com is a free online learning platform on which anyone can start an online course and offer it to participants for free or for a certain fee.

What was the course all about?

infographic_In the mood(le) for climate change_short versionThe course had a total of eight units, each spanning on one week with an active involvement of 3 hours, which meant that each week participants had to spend about three hours online to go through the lecture, fulfill the weekly tasks and take the unit quiz. Our participants were free to organize their time and decide for themselves when they wanted to work on the quiz. Each unit was published on the first day of the week and it remained available for the entire duration of the course. The first unit was an introduction unit in which we described how the course works, what are its objectives, how it is structured, what is the curriculum and answered participants’ questions. We also included in this unit a pre-course self-assessment questionnaire, with 19 questions, asking participants to evaluate their level for each of the competences the course was targeting. This gave us a reference point for evaluating the learning impact after the end of the course. In the second unit we wanted participants to get to know each other so we adapted the famous “Human Bingo” game to our online environment. We asked everybody to go on the website www.ifitweremyhome.com and compare their country to at least five other countries. Then they had to shoot a 1-minute video presenting themselves and three insights they got from the website. In the end, we made a quiz with questions about who said what in their video. It was a really fun unit and the engagement of the participants was great. It made the course feel more alive and it improved the dynamics of the group. The next unit offered an introduction into climate change and why it is happening. It help participants understand how the Earth functions and why it is warming up. In unit 4, the knowledge acquired was consolidated with information on why human being should care about climate change looking at how it will affect us and they way we live. The next unit took participants on a journey around the world, exploring see, land and air and the most vulnerable regions of the world in order to understand the effects of climate change and understand that just because we are not feeling it ourselves it does not mean that it is not happening. The next unit shifted the focus on the individual, exploring what role each of us plays in climate change and what we can change in our lifestyle and the way we do things in order to reduce our carbon and climate footprint. Unit 7 shed some light on how climate decision are taken at world level and how they influence national measures and policy. The participants got the chance to explore the SDGs, the results of the COP21, how human rights are related to climate change and what the Council of Europe is doing on the topic. Finally, the last unit included a final quiz, an interactive board for feedback and the after course self-assessment quiz.

The last unit brought some extremely rewarding moments for the entire team as we were finally able to have a real measure of the learning impact and to hear from the participants how they saw the course and whether it was a useful experience for them or not.


The course was implemented by a team of two trainers who worked closely with the European coordinators and the European Team. Before being launched the training was tested with four volunteers and with the members of the Think Tank for the seminar.  There were 24 participants enrolled in the course, 16 girls and 8 boys, from 11 different countries. They were all aged between 18 and 30 years old and came from MIJARC movements. The course was and still is open for everybody.

Was it useful?

As the course was the first activity of the work plan it was of crucial importance but it turned out that the idea was extremely well-received in our member movements and in their local groups. People were extremely interested in this kind of learning and the news that we were having an online TC on climate change reached even MIJARC World. This is why we benefited from the participation of one young man from Kenya. The course was important because it introduced our annual topic to all our members and it gave a solid basis to build on. Also, the idea was immediately taken up on by two of our member movements, KLJ-Belgium and APSD-Agenda 21, who contacted us to help them understand the platform better and help them use it for their own activities. The testimonials written by the participants after finishing the course show how the course was useful for them:

I thought the course was really interesting. I learned a lot about climate change in general and I learned some new things I could use in my lessons in high school. It was good the way it was, maybe we could have had some more interactive activities. Thank you for all the hard work!

Femke Nijs

This course is something I was really interested in. One unit was not really for me but it was great to know more about it. It was very good to work with a lot of feedback to every units and to mix the training course with questions and videos. This course will be a huge advantage in the discussions and work during the Seminar and Summer camp. When I couldn’t understand some words, I translated them and it was good to know the most important words related to climate change before we met face to face. Thanks Florina and Thomas for the energy you both put in the training course.

David Vermeulen

This course was very interesting. I really learned a lot of things I didn’t know. I knew climate change was a problem, but I didn’t know it was so urgent to take action. Now I am more aware of my own ecological footprint and I really liked the information. The variation was very fun: videos, tests, reading material, pictures. Thank you for letting me be a part of this! 

Sofie Slechten 

I have learned a lot in this more or less intensive training course. Now I am more aware of the urgency of Climate Change. The course was really well structured and rich in variety. In one lesson there were too many videos for my taste, but all in all I am very happy to be a part of it and to get the opportunity to attend the seminar in Macedonia. Thank you Florina and Thomas for your excellent work. Looking forward to seeing you in three weeks.

Julia Fritz

I learned a lot about climate change from this training. My interest increased and I am very motivated to do more to save our world. Thank you so much!

Hediye Şura Çan

After the end of the course, the two trainers worked together on a Training Manual that was based on the content of the course, but was adapted to using it during face-to-face meetings.

So, did we convince you to learn more about climate change? If so, you can still join our course on http://imcc.teachable.com/p/imcc, or you can use the offline Training Manual that was created in order to be used in offline training course. Don’t forget to let us know how it was by writing on our Facebook and Twitter page!

The online training course “In the mood for climate change” was one of the activities included in the annual work plan of MIJARC Europe which was co-financed by the Council of Europe through the European Youth Foundation.