• 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 Friday, October 24, 2014
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

The Funding Maze

20 March 2014

This week 30 of our members have been in Brussels for a training on the new EU funding programmes.  Thanks to the Otto Per Mille Foundation we have been able to provide an overview of all the new possibilities for funding for diaconal work from the European Union.  This is no easy task.  The programmes are new and in many cases have not been formally launched yet and with some we are not sure if NGO's will be able to apply directly or if they can only be partners in projects led by local authorities.  At the same time the whole application, monitoring and reporting process can seem overwhelming, especially to first time applicants.  However throughout the week, thanks to expert input from those in the European Commission who run the various programmes, we at least started exploring the EU funding maze and started to see the different ways in which we could go.

Of course EU funding is not just about the money but about building a project, often with a European dimension and transnational characteristics that aims to reach certain goals.  For our members they want to build projects that have a clear social impact and that acheive a better sense of well being, inclusion and empowerment.  Building projects can take as much time as searching for funding but it is important that we know what we want to do before we search for funding.  It was good to have members exchange on their experiences with project development and related funding and learn about both good and bad practice!

We know that the financing of social services is a challenge for nearly every member state at the moment and as a result times can be tough for our members.  We hope that this weeks' training can contribute to making Diaconal organisations better equipped in searching for fundinhg in the EU maze and coming out the other side with actions that have changed people's lives.

have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
Members in Focus

13 March 2014

This week has been focused around members news which is always encouraging.  Our Serbian member EHO informed us that for the first time the City authorities of Novi Sad have concluded a partnership agreement with EHO for the Children’s Shelter/Day center for street children.  I have visited this shelter a couple of times and it is absolutely essential for the care of some extremely vulnerable children. Such funding is a huge step for EHO and for the recognition of the important work of the shelter and the important work of the staff there.  However EHO’s success don’t stop there.  Their project ‘e-Accessible Education’ has been selected as an innovative practice for people with disabilities.  The project was particularly noted for the impact, scalability and impact along with its innovative nature.  Well done EHO! 

At the other end of Europe I have had the chance to discuss in person how the context for delivering social services, such as those EHO have been developing in Serbia, has become much more competitive in the Nordic context.  As a guest at the annual meeting of some of the directors of the Nordic deaconess institutions I had the possibility to listen to both the challenges of a more competitive environment as well as the opportunities it can present in the development of new services.  The VAMOS project in Helsinki was presented as an example of fully integrated care with a truly innovative approach which was well received by staff, users and funders alike.

Competition is also evident when it comes to funding and next week we will organize a seminar at our offices in Brussels on all the new EU funding programmes.  Thanks to the Otto Per Mille Fund of the Waldensian Church in Italy we are able to bring over 20 members to Brussels to study the new programmes and possibly build common projects.  These projects would then be developed for funding potential as well as their innovation potential.  If the work I have heard about in Serbia and Finland recently is anything to go by there should be every possibility of success.

Have a great weekend

Heather

 
It's About Europe - It's About You!

6 March 2014

From May 22nd to May 25th 2014, citizens of the European Union (EU) will elect the 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). More than ever before, these elections will have a significant impact on the future direction of the EU.

For Churches, Christian organisations and Christians living in the EU the elections will be an opportunity to step into the conversation and discuss with candidates our vision of the Union, as a community which promotes a just, participatory and sustainable world in which each person can live in dignity, fulfill his/her potential and live free from poverty.  This is what we told Members of the European Parliament at our launching breakfast on Tuesday this week.  We launched out joint website http://ecumenicalvoices2014.eu/ where we address some of the major issues that our members think the European Parliament should be addressing now and in the future.  We hope that members will use this resource both organisationally, meeting with MEP's and using the material to pose questions, and as individuals who will be voting.  There is also a leaflet available to promote the website and if you would like copies then please contact the Eurodiaconia office.

It is not our place to tell people how to vote, but we do want to shape the conversation and encourage a discussion that goes beyond the debates our media would have us follow.  We want to encourage discussion on how the European Union, through the European Parliament, supports people - both in the EU and elsewhere - and how we have European policies that put people's wellbeing first.

If we do not engage we cannot be heard so let's raise our voices for a just, sustainable and inclusive Europe!

Have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
Good start, long way to go

27 February 2014

This week the approval of the European Parliament of the new EU Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) brings to an end a rather torturous process of agreeing ways at European level to help those people who find themselves in the most extreme destitution.  Many hours have been spent drafting, negotiating, adapting and agreeing a programme that would support Food Banks, social bakeries, social restaurants as well as other social inclusion activities that would reach those who may find themselves excluded from mainstream programmes. The total budget for the programme is 3.5 billion which may seem a lot but is a tiny amount compared to the size of other EU programmes. Yet, regardless the size of the budget the adoption of the programme is a positive step with funds being available but also a recognition in all the EU institutions that extreme poverty and destitution is an issue in Europe and one where there is a place for the European Union to act.

To welcome the European Parliament’s approval of the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived Eurodiaconia together with other European networks issued a press release.

Eurodiaconia has been greatly involved in the development of the final programme as many of our members are engaged in supporting people in extreme destitution, running food banks or in providing entry points into longer and more sustainable social inclusion actions.  We hope that the final fund will be used by our members and if you do not know what your government are going to do with their share of the FEAD please contact our office to get more details as to how you can find out. Yet 3.5 Billion will not address the 117 million people in Europe who are currently at risk of poverty and social exclusion. For that we need a lot more both in resources and political commitment.  Next week the European Commission should launch its initial mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy. This review will need to take stock of both the attention paid to the inclusive growth pillar of Europe 2020 and the progress towards the target of reducing poverty in Europe by 20 million. Sadly, we know already that without a massive change in attitude and commitments from member states the 20 million target will not be reached. 

We may have made a start with the FEAD but we have a long way to go to really address poverty in Europe.

For more information on the FEAD you can find a Eurodiaconia briefing here.

Have a good weekend

Heather

 
Growing our Membership, Growing our Network

20 February 2014

This week I am delighted that we have welcomed The Salvation Army Europe as our newest member of Eurodiaconia.  Spanning Europe from Iceland to Russia the Salvation Army is well known for its commitment to social justice, welfare of the most vulnerable and supporting systemic change from a strong Christian basis.  We have been working with Salvation Army over the past year to see what was the best way for them to join Eurodiaconia and coming in as a Europe wide organization gives all the members a chance to participate in the Eurodiaconia network.  You can read more about the Salvation Army in Europe here

Growing our membership is not simply about numbers but about quality, legitimacy and action.  The wider the network the stronger our position but also the greater quality and reality of our position as it is based on work that is taking place all across Europe by multiple Christian diaconal organizations who can see the realities of the crisis, of welfare reform and societies where care and solidarity are diminishing values.  The wider the network the more possibilities for common actions such as advocacy or partnerships and we will be putting more focus in this area in the coming year.

Such actions are necessary as this week the European Commission held an expert conference on Employment and Social Developments in Europe, based on the content of a report published earlier this month.  I was invited to speak at the conference and commented that the data shows that unemployment is increasing, that in-work poverty is increasing, that material deprivation is increasing and that social protection systems could be much improved.  I also commented that we need to humanize such data, not get bound up in technical analysis but remember that behind every number are people who struggle, who find life fragile, who want to regain control of their lives.  We need both political and practical change to reverse the trends evidenced by the data and Eurodiaconia members want to be at the forefront of humanizing such data and telling the stories behind the numbers.  That is what we are investing so much time in enlarging and developing our network – we can bring about positive change where everyone is valued, lives with dignity and receives the care needed.  We are delighted that Salvation Army Europe, with their history of service and justice, will be telling those stories with our other 42 members.

Have a good weekend

Heather

 
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