Ulrike Werner

Everyone’s invited! Successful inclusion in international youth work

Last summer, Lisa took part in an international exchange in the Czech Republic. Not very exciting, you say? Actually it is, because Lisa is deaf and inclusive youth exchanges are still quite a rarity. The inclusion strategy for international youth work – recently published by IJAB – is designed to change that.

BildImage: Timo Hermann - thermann.de | Gesellschaftsbilder.de

“The right to participate in society is a human right. Youth exchanges should be open to all young people whether they have a disability or not,” explains IJAB’s Ulrike Werner, who manages the project together with Christoph Bruners. In reality, though, youth work organisations and the young participants themselves face a wide variety of obstacles, from attitudinal issues to logistical problems.

“The new inclusion strategy gives organisations practical guidance on how to implement inclusive international youth work activities that are open to all young people, whether they have an impairment or not,” continues Ulrike Werner. The strategy was developed over the course of a three-year project by the name of VISION:INKLUSION, which was implemented by IJAB together with international youth work organisations, experts and young people with disabilities. A brochure is available free of charge (in printed form or as a PDF file) from IJAB; click here to order your copy.

It’s a strategy, not a blueprint

During the project it quickly became clear that there is no such thing as “one” inclusion strategy for the entire international youth work community – there are simply too many different circumstances, formats and priorities to consider. Rather, the brochure demonstrates how organisations and networks can develop a strategy that suits their organisational needs guided by a suggested process, set of objectives and related actions.

The brochure starts with an introduction to the basic human-rights, youth-policy and conceptual considerations that need to be taken into account when planning inclusive international youth work activities. The second section contains a number of successful examples of inclusive activities of various kinds that illustrate why it is worth going the extra mile and explain what aspects need to be considered.

The publication is primarily aimed at child and youth services experts and organisations, disability community organisations and associations for the disabled who are interested in organising inclusive international youth work activities. The brochure also offers valuable input for youth policy networks, policymakers, public officials, ministries and funding organisations.

The project and the brochure received funding from the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

Interview with Christian Papadopoulos

To mark the publication of the inclusion strategy for international youth work, IJAB conducted a short interview with Christian Papadopoulos, member of the group of experts of IJAB’s VISION:INKLUSION project.

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