Action 1 of the European YOUTH programme is increasingly an object of interest for all those who work with young people. The goals of the programme take into account the social and educational aims of organisations working in direct contact with young people, making it an important tool for local development. At the same time, because it represents such a wide range of diverse experiences, there can be no simple formula to sum up the challenges, working methods, products and effects of this type of action.
There is nothing linear about working across national borders : ways of doing things change from one partner to another. It is precisely this diversity of approaches, activities, contexts and ways of seeing things, multiplied by the transnational dimension, which provides such a fertile ground for studying and comparing “what is done” and analysing its impact.
This was what the French National Agency of the European YOUTH programme had in mind when it brought together a group of people from all over Europe with a common interest in setting up youth exchange projects. The seminar, called Feedback was held in the Northern French town of Wattignies in December 2003. It was organised by the French National Agency and the Mission Locale of Roubaix.
The seminar did not aim to put forward a model or impose constraints by standardising ways of working. Its purpose was rather to exchange ideas, to outline similarities in approach and to analyse events and behaviours, which are inherent in any youth exchange. We looked at partnerships to see what we could learn from them, examining different aspects in the light of a certain number of variables and indicators, which offer valuable points of comparison.
In the second part of this document, we will see how Action 1 can benefit not only young people and those who work with them but also the wider environment, including the local authorities as well as the participants’ own immediate neighbourhood.
The results of the work done in the seminar have been collected in this booklet for several reasons.
Firstly, from a practical point of view, it aims to provide those who want to set up a youth exchange with advice on how to create and manage transnational partnerships. In addition, it can serve as a solid argument against those sceptics who question the value of youth exchanges. And finally, it is also the result of a carefully orchestrated collection of pedagogical tools produced by a large number of professionals working in the European environment. The advantage of bringing together this range of pedagogical tools is that the empirical approach adopted in the seminar allowed us to gather, validate and up-date “theoretical tools” linked to the management of European partnership projects.
These high quality tools help us to avoid re-inventing the wheel. We can turn to them for guidance during our projects, making it easier to deal with the management of transnational issues. By contrasting different approaches, the seminar develops theory and practice. The document consists of two distinct parts. The first is devoted to pedagogical methods and the second to the analysis of the effects of youth exchanges. It has been written with the specific purpose of allowing readers to choose their own method of working.
It is not an instruction manual that has to be applied step by step. On the contrary it aims to be flexible while offering guidelines that can help people reach their own goals in their own way. We hope you enjoy reading it !
The training team Virginia Mangematin, Sylvain Abrial, Kees Hoogendoorn, Pascal Chaumette. Feedback - Youth Exchanges : methodology tools, Evaluation and Impact Foreword