• 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 Sunday, August 02, 2015
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

Questions and Answers

This week the OECD released a report on inequality which has stated what Eurodiaconia and many other networks have been saying for a long time: inequality hurts economic growth.  This is nothing new.  From before the publication of The Spirit Level it has been clear that more equal societies do better in nearly every field - so the answer should be obvious.. address inequalities, acheive economic growth..  Is this the policy approach we are seeing in the EU?  Unfortunately not.  Up till now we have seen a disregard for inequality and a single minded pursuit of economic growth regardless of its social impact.  Addressing poverty hasfallen lower and lower down the European agenda and the aim of a social market economy seems to have been forgotten.

Last week the European Commission released its Annual Growth Survey for 2015 which should frame Member States budgets and policies - was addressing inequalities proposed as a priority area for EU and member state policy?  No.  Next week the European Commission work programme for 2015 will be released and some how I doubt addressing inequality will be a priority there either.  Yet economic growth is a priority - so why is this being addressed without addressing inequality when all the experts tell us that one helps the other?  We need to ask questions about this and will be doing so in the European Parliament in the new year and to the European Commission.  We should all be asking questions.  And we need proper answers.

have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
Shining stars...

5 December 2014

This week it has been very dark and cold in Brussels but we have had a couple of very bright moments!

One of the brightest was the annual Eurodiaconia Award Ceremony and exhibition which took place in the European Parliament hosted by Jutta Steinruck MEP.  This year the award went to a project run by the Church of Norway in Baerum, a municipality just outside Oslo.  The project, called ’13 – 20’, aims to support young people as they navigate adolescence and the transition to adulthood.  The project has been a huge success and the Church now works closely with the local municipality to assist those young people who may be at risk or in difficult situations, as well as training other youth workers.  As noted about the project, it meets young people where they are and gives a simple yet highly effective service of listening, guiding and respecting.  The service is now being studied by diaconal organisations and others to explore how it could be scaled up and transferred.

The recognition of ‘Highly Commended’ was given to the project Timothy from Slezská Diakonie in the Czech Republic.  This project also focuses on young people who are at risk of exclusion due to various life situations.  The project provides accommodation and support based on a stage system that enables young people to set manageable goals for their present and future. Again, the impact of this project is high and young people have testified to how this project has enabled them to see future possibilities.

To all who came to the award ceremony and exhibition, both projects were examples of how our identity and values are translated into action. Both projects focus on being present, providing opportunities for young people to find their own solutions, and take charge of their lives, but have reference points to support that.

Shining stars, both of them. Read more on the award ceremony here.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 
Europe on our Threshold

27 November 2014

This week I had the pleasure of paying a quick visit to Bräcke Diaconie in Sweden.  Although the head quarters are in Gothenburg, Bräcke is working across Sweden and is the largest not for profit services organisation in Sweden of its type.  Working with older people, people with disabilities, children with aspergers and day care services are just some of what they offer. Yesterday I listened to two very inspiring presentations that were linked to the theme of Europe on our threshold - looking at how a closer Europe, and indeed a closer world, means that emerging social challenges often have a European or even international dimension. The service leaders at Bräcke were discussing if they needed to 're-tilt' their organisation to better address emerging social challenges.  One of the most alarming is the rise in unaccompanied minors coming to Sweden, often fleeing conflict areas such as Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea. Typically boys aged between 15 - 17 need support to navigate the asylum process, integrate into society and develop hard and soft skills that will support education and training. Bräcke is looking at how they can increase the support they are already giving to this particularly vulnerable group. Providing mobile health care to asylum seekers is also a growing service with such care essentially having been 'handed off' to Bräcke by local authorities. Having had a very basic start it is now a thriving service, connecting with many families on a weekly basis and integrating the medical skills of some of the migrants themselves.

Such visits always encourage me that there are solutions to many of the social challenges people in Europe and those who come to Europe face, especially when it can seem that our political decisions do not put people first nor look to invest in a way that prioritises social well-being over economic gain. This week, the European Commission announced its 300 billion euro package for Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness, and as suspected, it is lacking a focus on social investment. This does not mean to say that, if successful, the package could not deliver social returns, but it does not seem that that is its primary purpose.

I wonder if a 16 year old migrant in Gothenburg would feel that as they stand on the threshold of European citizenship and residency in Sweden that they feel they are living in an EU that wants to invest in him, in his potential, in his abilities and in his engagement in society. I know that the people of Bräcke Diaconie invest in him, let's hope the EU will do so as well.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 

 
Integration, Investment and Inclusion

INTEGRATION, INVESTMENT AND INCLUSION

20 November 2014

This week has been about integration, investment and inclusion.  We started the week with a focus on developing integrated care services at a conference we organised with AGE platform Europe and EurohealthNet.  Bringing together practitioners, researchers and policy makers we discussed the benefits of integrated care systems and the barriers to their development.  Good practice was shared and recommendations for follow up work made.  One of these recommendations concerned greater investment in social and health care services which linked very well with the prevailing political theme at this year's Annual Convention Against Poverty. 
 
With the new European Commission in place from the beginning of this month, we are eager to see how strong a political priority investment in social services and social protection will be.  What we heard was that job creation is the first priority but we, as did other NGO's, stressed the need to accompany this with policies to reduce poverty and exclusion and invest in people across the life cycle to ensure dignity and inclusion.  Eurodiaconia members from Denmark, Serbia, Germany, Salvation Army Europe, Latvia, Iceland, Hungary and Finland participated in workshops and network sessions to present their practical work on inclusion, showing how long term commitment, participatory approaches, advocacy and integrated services have a real impact on poverty and exclusion and that investment has both long term economic and social returns.  Let's hope that our messages are taken into account as the new Commission develop their priorities and that a more integrated and investment orientated approach to social well being is developed to ensure inclusion for all.

Have a good weekend

Heather

 
Fundamentally Right

13 November 2014

This week we have had the pleasure of a study visit from the Church of Norway.  The Deacons who have come to Brussels are working on a daily basis with people in all sorts of circumstances and it has been a real pleasure to hear about their work and also discuss how they can be more involved in the work at European Level as well as take advantage of opportunities to meet with other members in our network.  They have been meeting with the Norwegian Representation to the EU and well as regional representations and have also met with other ecumenical organisations. 

Our Norwegian guests also participated in the launch of our report this week on 'Access to Social and Health Services for Migrants in Europe: overcoming the Barriers.  Members, partners, represtantives of the EU instiutions and members of the European Parliament joined us for the launch and discussed the reports' findings.  As ever, the report represents our members' experience in providing supportive social and health care services to migrants in differing situations and also presents a number of recommendations to the European Union, Member States and to ourselves as to what action needs to be taken in the future.   The needs of migrants are not just about social inclusion but about the enjoyment of their fundamental rights.  Such rights need to be upheld regardless of the situation migrants may be in.  

This week has seen the release of two legal judgements that affect how we understand fundamental social rights.  Firstly, the European Court of Justice ruled on the availability of certain unemployment benefits to migrants in Germany who were not likely to be working.  Secondly, the Council of Europe, through the application of the European Social Charter, upheld a complaint made by our partner the Conference of European Churches on behalf of Kerk in Actie/The Protestant Church in the Netherlands regarding the access of migrants to housing in the Netherlands. Both judgements have implications for service providers as well as local authorities and we will be looking at both, in the light of our report and its recommendations, as we continue our work to ensure migrants have access to the services they require.

Have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
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