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Strengthening international youth work at the local level

Recommendations of the German youth policy initiative ‘Kommune goes International’ for policymakers and authorities (last updated: 2014)

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While international youth work has benefits for a diverse range of target groups, the advantages of these non-formal educational activities are particularly tangible for disadvantaged young people and young members of the immigrant community in that they help them to integrate more easily in society. By taking part in international exchanges or other international youth work projects, the young participants become more aware of their own identity, acquire valuable skills and strengthen their understanding of what it means to be European. Experiencing mobility in this way gives them an opportunity to make some profound positive changes in their lives.

Experience has shown that disadvantaged young people from a variety of cultural backgrounds can benefit in particular measure from activities offered at the local level. This is where Kommune goes International (KGI), which was launched in 2011, comes in: Over a period of three years, local authorities of varying sizes and structures have worked with local partners to strengthen locallevel international youth work over the long term and make it accessible to all young people.

The initiative was supported throughout by practitioners and a group of researchers (from the Institute for Social Work and Social Education, Frankfurt am Main). The results encourage other local authorities to follow suit and strengthen international youth work at their level. In this venture, the local-level youth offices have an important coordinating function.

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