On 11 March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the world was facing a pandemic due to the severity and fast spread of the COVID-19. Ever since our lives have suddenly changed in ways that we would not have imagined a few months ago.
Dealing with this unprecedented situation has not been easy for anyone, either for EYCA's member organisations spread all over Europe. Nonetheless, all of them have contributed to making these days more bearable for millions of young Europeans.
With this article, the European Youth Card Association aims at praising some of the dozens of great initiatives implemented by the different EYCA member organisations to support young people during this unprecedented situation.
Youth Act Albania
The member in Albania has launched an initiative where young people that are engaged in civil society give their advice or message recommending other young people what to do during the quarantine. These recommendations come as daily posts on social media. By the end of April, they will distribute a newsletter with all these messages among cardholders.
Associació Carnet Jove Andorra
With the desire to continue offering its services, Carnet Jove Andorra, EYCA member organisation in the country, has adjusted its communication strategy to adapt to the current situation.
With the objectives of raising awareness, informing and entertaining, Carnet Jove Andorra has spread different types of content through social media, particularly on Instagram.
One of the successful initiatives among young Andorrans has been a series of testimonies. This content is based on short videos, made by young people themselves, in which they share their experiences during these unprecedented times.
This series of short videos were published as Instagram Stories and had great success. The testimonials relate the experiences of different young Andorrans, such as a nurse working at an Andorran hospital and a volunteer from the Andorran Red Cross, sharing their experiences and situation during the outbreak.
Additionally, there are testimonies of young Andorrans living abroad, highlighting the repercussions of this health emergency and what measures are being implemented in other countries such as the Philippines, Japan and New Zealand.
In addition to the testimonials, Carnet Jove Andorra has also implemented other initiatives. For example:
Instagram Live Sessions. This series of Instagram Live Sessions with professionals aimed at helping young people cope with the lockdown. The sessions covered various topics from beauty and nutrition tips and tricks to deeper ones such as asking ourselves "what can be learned from the current situation?". If you want to know more about the campaign, feel free to take a look at their Instagram channel.
Dissemination of official information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
Tips & Tricks. Different tips for coping with confinement and teleworking have been released.
https://www.instagram.com/p/B93sgAEnITs/ https://www.instagram.com/p/B-FMlnwHRKm/ https://www.instagram.com/p/B_jogtNnrH0/
Games and questions. This content seeks the participation and entertainment of followers.
In conclusion, Carnet Jove Andorra has adapted its work and communication to these unprecedented circumstances. Besides, they have also worked to adjust their annual plan for 2020, since the situation will continue to affect young people throughout this year.
Azerbaijan Student Youth Organizations’ Union
The member in Azerbaijan is mostly focusing on raising awareness regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, mobilising the youth towards actions that could support their local communities, such as volunteering to help people in their neighbourhood or blood donation.
PRONI Center for Youth Development - Bosnia & Herzegovina
Currently, the card organisation in Bosnia & Herzegovina is transferring most of their work in youth clubs towards the online environment. Next week they will start implementing online educational courses for new 150 youth workers. Throughout this initiative, they expect that at least 50 of our volunteers will develop online programs for young people in the country.
Youth Board of Cyprus
The member organisation in Cyprus is using their channels to communicate with youth and work together, sharing positive ideas, exciting activities at home. Additionally, they are creating different competitions and challenges with prizes such as theatre tickets, smartphones and other gadgets.
Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs - Greece
The EYCA member in Greece is sharing a series of posts on how to prevent infection with COVID-19.
Youth Work Ireland
The member organisation in Ireland has implemented different actions to support young people in the country during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Youth Work Ireland has created an online chat support service. See here. This is a very significant innovation and service, and the first of its kind in Ireland.
- The Irish Youth Music Awards have been moved online http://iymas.ie/
- They have developed guidelines for youth workers to work effectively and safely with young people online using Hangout and Zoom type tech solutions.
- Additionally, Youth Work Ireland has set up a system to coordinate and share best practices among the 21 youth organisations that compose YWI.
- To conclude, they have published a leaflet listing all different initiatives taken during the past weeks. See here.
Centre Information Jeunes - Luxembourg
The member in Luxembourg is currently sharing information on COVID-19 via social media in order to inform their audience on the topic and focusing on official information.
Aġenzija Żgħażagħ - Malta
The member organisation in Malta have been implementing a series of actions throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Please, find a selection of actions listed below:
- Stories from young people during coronavirus: The Youth information service YIOSS is being used to provide a platform for young people to share their stories, recommendations, reflections and much more during these days. Linking the initiative to the National Youth Policy, some of these stories will be included in the collection ‘Memorja’ by the Maltese National Archives. (See more here)
- Give back award: Agenzija Zghazagh opened a call for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who want to give something back to the community to improve the COVID-19 situation to submit creative, innovative and solidarity ideas that they wish to implement within the community. In addition to rewarding the best initiatives with a prize, Agenzija Zghazagh will assign a youth worker to further coach and support these youngsters.
- A showcase of Gozitan Talent: With this initiative, Agenzija Zghazagh aims at empowering young people to develop their talents by using their time at home to practice their skills, give them an opportunity to share their talent with an online community while leading by example and encouraging others to stay safe at home. Additionally, this initiative puts the spotlight on young people who have never exhibited their work. (See more here)
- Online Live Sessions: In addition to providing a platform for young people to interact. During these sessions, several objectives are met from providing useful information on the spot to having discussions with participants on a diverse range on topics of great importance for the Maltese youth. Additionally, these sessions are useful to support young people during these days.
Center for Youth Education - Montenegro
The member organisation in Montenegro has implemented a series of initiatives jointly with the Ministry of Youth and Sports in addition to other local and national NGOs. Please, see below the list with some of the examples:
- Online sessions with professional psychologists to support young people during the lockdown.
- Information on how to prevent infections by the coronavirus and regarding measures taken by the Government.
- Facebook chat in order to provide support to cardholders during the COVID-19 outbreak
- In addition to all this, Center for Youth Education, in the spirit of the #ostanidoma (#StayHome) campaign has provided young people with sets of recommendations on different matters such as online courses, workshops and leisure during the lockdown.
CJP (Cultural Youth Passport) - The Netherlands
Since most culture-related institutions and organisations are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, CJP has decided to ask all their employees to write a love letter to their favourite cultural institution. The first of these are published on social media and in their newsletter. Furthermore, we encouraged our cardholders to write a (virtual) love letter to their favourite venue as well. These will be published on CJP’s channels. Please, see some examples below: (In Dutch):
“At home” discounts
Considering that most discounts are not accessible right now, they are mostly focusing on ‘at home discounts’ such as online video streaming services. Through their blog, social media and newsletters they aim at inspiring cardholders to watch movies, read (or listen to) books. This initiative aims at encouraging youngsters to take advantage of the enormous cultural offers at home. It shows that cultural experiences can go on, even when we are stuck at home.
Movijovem - Portugal
The member organisation in Portugal is currently dedicating its youth hostels to allocating patients who have tested positive in COVID-19 for them to be isolated and to prevent the spread of the virus in the country.
Russian Union of Youth - Russian Federation
The member organisation in the Russian Federation have joined the campaign in the fight against the coronavirus disease #МыВместе (We Are Together). Under this campaign, all citizens are welcome to become volunteers, and a Helpline is available. Volunteers in the main cities of the country are currently helping people during the quarantine by supplying free food packages, medicines and other items that pensioners ask to buy. Additionally, the Russian Union of Youth has started a programme to support those from disadvantaged backgrounds or with fewer resources.
Evropski Omladinski Centre - Serbia
The member organisation in Serbia is currently in the process of implementing an information campaign collecting and presenting recommendations from young people in Serbia. This will include activities, online courses, online workshops and other leisure recommendations for the quarantine. The campaign will take place on social media platforms.
CKM SYTS - Slovakia
The member organisation in Slovenia shares information regarding two main areas. Information on how to stay safe during the current times and also regarding discounts and opportunities that could be useful for young people these days, all of them online.
SLOAM - Slovenian Youth Agency - Slovenia
With the European Youth Card programme SLOAM is offering various opportunities and benefits to more than 120,000 young people in Slovenia in order to provide a better living, working, and creating conditions for them. At SLOAM, Youth Agency, we are well aware of the coronavirus situation. Since in our team we never sit on our hands, always look for new ideas, and above all want to actively help and encourage the Slovenian small business, we decided to launch the #EMKrepi campaign (translated European Youth Card strengthens). With this, we will help young people in Slovenia to reach out primarily to Slovenian products and services in the coming months, thus helping to relaunch our economy.
Unlike similar campaigns, which work in the form of advance voucher purchase from Slovenian merchants (and which we are happy to support within our discounts programme), the #EMKrepi campaign works on both sides – offers of the companies and demands of the young. Last but not least, we sure do believe that 120,000 members can make a big difference in Slovenia.
The campaign will be launched in next week, you can follow SLOAM for more information
Instituto Andaluz de la Juventud - Spain - Andalucía
A new program has been launched by the card organisation in this Spanish region to encourage young people to take advantage of their time in quarantine. They provide the youth access to online training, activities, exercises at home and health advice. The program is called IAJ Connect. They use social media platforms and their information channels to disseminate these contents. Additionally, they are using the hashtag #QuedateEnCasa (Stay at home) to promote young people to be responsible, stop the spread of the virus and be safe.
Instituto Aragonés de la Juventud - Spain - Aragón
The card organisation in Aragón is providing free legal support to cardholders regarding the effects of COVID-19 in the labour market.
Instituto Asturiano de la Juventud - Spain - Asturias
The card organisation in Asturias is launching different contests online to keep young people active during the quarantine. Each contest has a set of prizes. Mainly subscriptions to online content services or actual monetary rewards to be spent in local businesses that cooperate with the card organisation in Asturias.
Institut Balear de la Joventut - Spain - Balearic Islands
The card organisation in the Balearic Islands is offering a set of discounts to cardholders and pharmacies to ease the purchase of face masks and other protection materials.
Agència Catalana de la Joventut - Spain - Catalonia
The card organisation in Catalonia is implementing a set of initiatives that aim to:
- Promote discounts and raffles online: audio-visual platforms, physical activities, language courses among others.
- Informing on the different events that have been postponed. For example, Sonar and Primavera Sound festivals.
- Dissemination of free universal proposals online: concerts, training, exhibitions, museums, talks, etc.
- Support large and small businesses in the current crisis.
- Creation of an Equipment’s Team to collaborate in the search and setting up of hotels and other places to accommodate vulnerable people who require isolation due to the current emergency: elderly, people with disabilities, unaccompanied minors, etc.
Instituto de la Juventud de Extremadura - Spain - Extremadura
The card organisation in Extremadura has been implementing a set of initiatives on a broad spectrum, from purely informing their cardholders regarding the current COVID-19 situation to organising different challenges and activities to engage young people. They have kept in contact with their cardholders via newsletters. Please, find below some of the most relevant actions:
- Extension of validity of all cards until 1 June. This links with the fact that cardholders have free access to public transport.
- A guide with resources and recommendations to stay home.
- Online training guide for Youth Cardholders. Explains the benefits of training centres in Extremadura for Youth Cardholders.
- Guide on mental health. This guide highlights the most common mental health issues that may occur during the quarantine. It includes contact and protocols o how to approach professionals in case of need.
- The different channels of communication remain open during the quarantine.
- Additionally, the card organisation in Extremadura has shared the different initiatives taken by the Extremadura Youth Institute, such as photography and writing contests.
Dirección General de Juventud de la Comunidad de Madrid -Spain - Madrid
The card organisation in Madrid is organising a series of social media challenges intended for young people to participate during the quarantine. Each challenge comes with a set of prizes such as tickets for future concerts.
**Young Scot - UK - Scotland)
The member organisation in Scotland has created a dedicated info page on COVID-19. Link: https://young.scot/campaigns/national/coronavirus and they organised an online Q&A session with the Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch.