First established in 1978, the European Youth Cooperation Meeting (EYCM) of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies is the biannual meeting of the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies European Youth Network, which gathers National Societie’s youth from Europe and Central Asia.

Since its establishment, this forum has proven of outmost importance for advancing youth engagement and action across Europe and Central Asia. It gives National Societies’ youth the opportunity to discuss and identify common priorities within the broader Red Cross Red Crescent strategic framework to coordinate their goals and actions, to share knowledge and good practices, and build their capacities to strengthen National Societies from within.

EYCM 2012 - Sofia, Bulgaria

EYCM 2014 – Volterra, Italy
After four intense days of discussions, brainstorming exercises, group works and workshops – but also of more informal moments of gathering and sharing among participants – the 21st European Youth Cooperation Meeting of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is now coming to an end. Let’s quickly go through the main milestones of the event:

A new EYCC is elected fro 2014 – 2016!
Following the elections of the evening of 2 June, a new seven-member European Youth Coordination Committee was elected for the period 2014-2016. The newly-elected members are Bas van Rossum, from The Netherlands Red Cross, Anna Gevorgyan, from the Armenian Red Cross Society, Sabrina Konzok, from the German Red Cross, Kristiyan Penyashki, from the Bulgarian Red Cross, Danielle Lindholm, from the Finnish Red Cross, Jen Hardy, from the British Red Cross, and Nabizhon Sidikshoev, from the Red Crescent Society of Tajikistan. The new EYCC will be responsible for guiding the work of the network for the next two years, based on the priorities identified during the “Bridging to the future session” of 2 June.

“Bridging to the future”
How can youth influence the Constitutional review of the IFRC? How can we collectively work to make our network more effective? What can be the contribution of young people to shaping the Post 2015 Development Agenda?

These were some of the issues raised by youth participants at the beginning of this one-day-long “Bridge to the future” session, and which they were asked to discuss together in groups during the course of the day. Using the open space technology approach, the session helped participants nail down the priorities of the Network for the upcoming two years.

Among other issues that participants, as representatives of their National Societies, committed themselves to influencing once back home were the use of humanitarian diplomacy to speak up for youth affected by the economic crisis, discrimination and violence in schools, youth-led advocacy within other Red Cross Red Crescent networks, as well as the sharing of best practices in youth development across the network.

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From resource mobilisation to youth leadership: four thematic workshops
During the days of 1 and 3 June, participants broke into small groups who took part in two rounds of thematic workshops, which provided platforms for discussion, experience and learning around topics of common interest and which informed the identification of the priorities of the Network. These included resource mobilisation, the engagement of young people as leaders, and the use of social media to carry out humanitarian diplomacy, as well as how to create an enabling environment for volunteers. Let’s have a closer look at them one by one.

  •   In the workshop “Creating enabling environments for young volunteers” participants had a chance to analyse what we call the different stages of the “Volunteer Journey”, identifying the trends that influence it and making suggestions on how to address the challenges and capitalize on our strengths toward advancing volunteer engagement in Europe and Central Asia.
  •   “Humanitarian Diplomacy and Information Communication Technology (ICT)” provided a platform of discussion and analysis on how to apply a tool like humanitarian diplomacy to channels such as social and online media. The debate among participants had a particular focus on the humanitarian consequences of the economic crisis, leading theme of the European Regional Conference, to be held in Florence between 3 and 6 June.
  •   In the workshop on “Resource mobilisation” participants were able to share existing knowledge, experiences, good practices and learn how the capacity to mobilise resources relates National Societies’ development.
  •   In “Advancing meaningful engagement of young people as leaders”, the topic of youth leadership was at heart of the discussion. Participants explored and discussed diverse ways in which a meaningful engagement of young people as leaders can be advanced in National Societies across Europe and Central Asia, in line with the IFRC Youth Policy and IFRC Youth Engagement Strategy (Y.E.S.).

written by Daniele Aloisi from the Italian Red Cross


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