“I’m changing Europe!”
Gianluca Rossino is one of the panelists, invited to speak at the EGL Changemaker Kit Webinar Launch in October. Mr Rossino is 22 and the current Italian Youth Delegate to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. As a student of international relations, he has a strong passion for youth participation in decision-making processes and international mobility opportunities in the field of youth. He is currently president of Collegno Youth Council (his hometown) and policy officer of AEGEE-Europe for European Citizenship.
To get the perspective of a young person and a Youth Delegate, who is interested and promotes local youth work, we reached out to him after his participation in our Launch Webinar to discuss further the significance and use of the Changemakers Kit and the European Charter on Local Youth Work and the impact these valuable standard-setting texts and tools have on the quality of local youth work.
Q: As a participant and panellist in the Changemakers Kit Launch webinar, what are your key takeaways and recommendations?
A: I first got to know Europe Goes Local in 2018 during my EVS in Cascais (Portugal). A couple of years later I clearly realized that this initiative has become a major reference point for the stakeholders in the youth sector. The launching webinar was indeed a great opportunity to listen to different testimonies reflecting on what quality youth work is and how it can be supported at the local and regional level. The ChangeMakers Kit is a vital resource that allows youth workers to combine the framework expressed in the Charter with the practical tools, good practices and reference materials the Kit offers.
My takeaways also connect to the diversity of realities in which youth work takes place. Listening to different contributors and panellists, it appears to me that a common ground where quality youth work can flourish is not a reality yet, not everywhere around Europe at least. The encouraging news is that initiatives like Europe Goes Local are well targeting the specific and crucial need of bringing the European framework to the local realities, where many good practices and innovative approaches are still unknown. Relevant Ministries and National Agencies should facilitate this process.
In terms of recommendations, as youth delegates to the Congress, we have emphasised in the recent report on youth work (discussed by the Current Affairs Committee) the role that local and regional authorities are called to fulfil. They should guarantee spaces, support and financial resources to foster a progressive investment in the youth sector, in which young people and youth organizations can really express their full potential. An inspiring framework for the implementation of these measures is represented by both the Charter and the Changemakers Kit. We invite local and regional authorities to explore these resources and disseminate them across a wide range of interested stakeholders.
Q: You define the Charter and its Kit as 'valuable standard-setting texts and tools'. What are some key areas of application of the Charter and the Kit that would elevate the quality development of youth work?
A: An aspect that should always be analyzed is the level of accessibility of tools and resources. The very positive feature of the Charter is that it is already available in more than 20 languages, mainstreaming its principles and recommendations to a much wider audience, including many youth and social workers who can really gain inspiration from consulting the Charter.
Similar levels of accessibility for the Kit would also be elevating the quality development of youth work.
The Charter is, moreover, a growing reference point for the Youth Work Community of Practice, that will gather in December for the 3rd European Youth Work Convention.
It is fundamental that youth workers, researchers and other youth representatives engage with the Municipality level to foster a qualitative development of local youth work. The proactive role of civil society is vital to support public authorities in renewing their approaches and practices.
When looking at the Changemakers Kit instead, the library section is a very intuitive space to understand key terms and consult the most reliable reports, declarations and other kinds of sources. Running a self-evaluation on the quality of youth work in your own context and then having the chance to review the main policy references on the topic is a great combination. This will hopefully guide youth workers and local/regional authorities to draft a strategic approach to their youth policies, elevating the quality development of youth work around Europe and beyond.
Each one of us can support this process by connecting to the Kit's website and sharing good practices and tools. Mutual learning is one of the special features of the youth sector and it should be always encouraged.
To read more from Gianluca Rossino and the initiatives and work of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, follow the link: https://www.coe.int/en/web/congress/-/gianluca-rossino-youth-work-is-essential-to-build-a-peaceful-europe-?fbclid=IwAR2mmVxN_rAMyF0G9QH6PDR-zWHSqe1t-SL8XBPwctJueH1bk-1vI_E2MKc