ewoca³ is a funding programme for youth work institutions from North Rhine-Westphalia, supporting and enabling international youth encounters. The concept follows the idea of invitation and return invitation: Youths from three countries realise three international workcamps over the course of three years – one in each country.
The youth work organisations from Germany form partnerships with two other European countries. From Turkey to Italy, from Poland to Belarus, and from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Cyprus a network for young people develops.
European exchange at the summer camp
The European topic of “Education for sustainable development” is a guideline for the content of the projects. This might be practical activities, like building a health centre for resettlers from Chernobyl, which was realised in Belarus. Or it might be the collaboration with an environmental protection organisation in Estonia, where youths could develop their ecological awareness while cleaning up a river bank.
In addition to physical labour, workshops discuss the problems of the region in transcultural dialogue. The youths discuss with politicians and citizens at the location. One workcamp in Bochum/Germany, for example, dealt with possibilities of active political participation and structural change in the Ruhr area.
Supporting international youth work
The funding phase 2012 to 2014 brought youths in twelve project groups together – in three consecutive summers in a total of 36 camps. Young people from 14 countries, aged 16 to 24 took part. In the years 2012 to 2014 about 850 youths participated in the project. In the years 2015 to 2017 the project continues with another twelve project partnerships.
Each workcamp is funded with up to 15.000 Euro. Together, each trilateral partnership has to match this grant amount. Not only the youths, but also the initiatives at the location become part of a cooperation crossing borders.