• Our work

    Eurodiaconia links diaconal actors to examine social needs, develop ideas and influence policies impacting Poverty and Social Exclusion, Social and Health Care Services and the Future of Social Europe.

    Eurodiaconia also provides a platform for transnational networking and best practice sharing.  

     

  • Our vision

    As the leading network for diaconal work in Europe, we look to develop dialogue and partnership between members and influence and engage with the wider society.  We do this to enable inclusion, care and empowerment of the most vulnerable and excluded and ensure dignity for all.

     

  • Our goals

    We aim to see a positive social change in Europe through:

    Praxis, enabling membership engagement and partnerships

    Advocacy, creating a network of competence to impact policies at European and national level

    Identity and values, supporting the development of approaches and thinking on Diaconia in Europe today

     

Calendar Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

Stepping in the Right Direction

4 October 2013

This has been one of those weeks where everything has been happening! The start of the week saw our involvement in various ways with the European Anti Poverty Network Annual Conference.  We contributed to work on the European Elections and how to make stakeholder involvement in the Europe 2020 process stronger.  We also participated in a stakeholders meeting on the Annual Convention of the European Platform Against Poverty and discussed how we could contribute to discussions on Long Term Care, Roma Inclusion and household over indebtedness at this year's event. There were also meetings with ecumenical colleagues, with political groups and others to talk as well. 

On Wednesday the European Commission presented its Communication on the Social Dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).  This communication has been eagerly awaited by NGOs as it is hoped that this will be the way in which the increasing inbalance between economic and social policy in the EU would be addressed. The Communication proposes a social scoreboard that would be embedded in the EMU processes but unlike the exisiting economic indicators low socres would not trigger corrective action.  Instead, the social scoreboard would be an analytical tool.  Perhaps our hopes have been dashed a little but at least there will be some analysis of the social situation in Europe in the discussions on economic and monetary policy which is a step in the right direction.

Stepping in the right direction was something Sweden did 100 years ago when it initiated a universal social pension.  This week the Church of Sweden held an international conference to celebrate this fact and to reflect on the role of social protection as an automatic stabiilzer, as has been seen in Europe in the early days of the crisis - and as a tool for development in other parts of the world.  You can read more about the conference here.  I was invited to address the conference on social protection in the European Union and how members of Eurodiaconia have seen the evolution of social protection during the crisis.  There is a real concern about increasing conditionality in accessing social protection and an increasing punative approach to its application.  

There are many more steps to be taken in the coming months but it has been really inspiring to be with members and colleagues and knowing that we can all walk together.

Have a good weekend

Heather Roy, Secretary General

 

 
Small Acorns, Big Trees

19 Septepber 2013

What do trauma therapy, a multi cultural youth centre and organic-farming have in common?  They are just some of the innovative and trail-blaizing projects being run by Diakonie Kosovo whom I have had the pleasure of visiting this week. Working in a challenging context, Diakonie Kosovo is active in responding to the needs of people in and around Mitrovice. The psychosocial centre providing trauma therapies is the first of its kind, staffed by committed professionals who are dealing with war trauma, family trauma and advocating for a better understanding of mental health issues. They also offer training to doctors and educators to help them understand when such therapies are appropriate and how to lift the taboo of talking about mental health issues. The bio-farm is the only one in existance in the area if not the wider Balkans and rears chickens for both meat and eggs as well as bio-vegetables and fruits.  Staffed by people with disabilities they are showing that bio-farming is an option for local farmers and are doing so as a model of social entrepreneurship.  

Today saw the opening of the very first youth centre in Mitrovice, built with the support of the German agency GIZ.  Attended by the Minister of Social and Cultural Affairs, the German Ambassador and other high level representatives the centre aims to be a place to build bridges between Serbs, Bosniaks and Albanian Kosovars in an area where memories of conflict are still at the forefront of people's minds. The Mayor of Mitrovice told me that Diakonie Kosovo is a strategic partner for the municipality because of the standard of the work and the ability to respond quickly to the various needs.  He would like to see the centre build up training programmes to assist young people in finding work in an area where unemployment is around 70%. Diakonie Kosovo is already helping people find employment through the Diakonie Training Centre where young people are trained as carpenters, plumbers, heating engineers, house builders and other essential professions, as well as offering English and German language courses. This is all quite amazing when considering that the organisation was only founded in 2007 through co-operation with Diakonie Trier in Germany and started with support to voluntary repatriated refugees - a programme that is still running today.

It is good to be reminded that from small acorns big trees grow and I have no doubt that there will be much more growth from Diakonie Kosovo in the coming years.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 

 

 
On my mind this week... migration

12 September 2013

Questions around migration have been on my mind this week.  We have been finalising a publication on migration in which migrants speak about the assistance they have received from diaconal organisations across Europe.  This assistance focuses on integration and it is encouraging to read testimonies of how migrants work together and share their experience of integration.  Reading the first proofs of the publication I was particularly inspired to see what our members are doing and how people are empowered to be leaders, volunteers and role models in their local communities.  At the same time I have been working with Social Platform on how to continue to promote the recently adopted policy paper on migration.  We will meet soon with the European Commission to discuss its' contents which include the issue of intra EU migration and destitution, something that several of our members are very concerned with.  If this is an issue your organisation is working on don't forget to come to our special networking meeting on intra EU migration in October.  More info on the website! 

There is a lot of positive work happening around migration but there is still a long way to go.  Today I received an email from one of the major political parties in the European Parliament demanding changes to the current practices in detaining unaccompanied minor migrants.  I despair that our society thinks it is acceptable to detain child migrants at all.  How does that facilitate well being, social inclusion and stability?  As someone recently said, inclusion and citizenship is not about the completion of legal formalities or the receipt of a new passport. Rather it is about a sense of belonging, a sense of being part of and contributing to society. People should no longer feel that they are on the outside looking in – rather we should start talking about us instead of ‘them’. I hope the many projects our members are engaged in will bring us closer together.

Heather

 

 
PROGRESSion

06 September 2013

So, after the summer holidays it is all go again here at Eurodiaconia.  This week has been particularly busy with meetings on how we can measure the impact of our work, planning for the coming months, a visit to the UK to meet two potential new members and last but in no means least the finalisation of our bid to be a recognised partner organisation of the European Commission in the field of social policies.  If succesful, we would enter into a four year partnership with the Commission which would focus on building our capacity and that of members to engage with EU driven processes to reduce poverty and exclusion and combat inequalities.

 We will not know until November if we will be succesful or not but what we do know is that now more than ever we need to be showing what works and what does not work when it comes to poverty and exclusion.  Over the summer we saw rising figures of unemployment, destitution and poverty along side increasing skepticism as to the way we organise our financial and economic systems.  

Over the autumn we will be giving members many opportunities to contribute their experience and opinion to EU driven social policies and you can find out more information in our calendar of events.  Don't hesitate to sign up - your contirbution is needed more than ever.

have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
Sustainable Life

Dear all,
We hope that your summer has been a time of joy, reflection and chance to collect energy for the autumn. At Eurodiaconia everyone will be back in the office this coming Monday and we are all very much looking forward to an autumn full of activity.

In Sweden, this coming Monday marks the beginning of The Month of Diaconia. This is an annual focus on the meaning of Diaconia and its praxis. Each year a specific theme is selected. The theme for this year’s month of Diaconia is ‘sustainable life’.  As a part of this focus on Diaconia a booklet with stories, interviews and examples of diaconia in praxis has been published. The booklet illustrates the essence of diaconia- faith, hope and love turned into action. I loved reading it and the Eurodiaconia secretariat is always looking for updates about our members’ activities so please send us your news and plans for the autumn.

Please do also sign up for the Eurodiaconia events that will take place this autumn. These events include meetings of the Faith in Social Care Network and the Marginalisation and Social Exclusion Network, two events focusing on the situation of migrants and one event, in French, on advocacy in relation to the European election. We very much hope that you will be able to join in these meetings in order for us to continue our discussion on how diaconal actors can best work for a sustainable, dignified life for all.

Have a good weekend,

Matilda Broström
Communications and Network Officer 

 
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