Europe: Erasmus+ Youth Inclusion and Diversity Strategy
Social inclusion of all young people, including those from a migrant background, is a key aim of the EU Youth Strategy (2010-2018). National governments have worked together to agree on a framework to better implement this strategy, the EU Work Plan for Youth for 2016-2018. Building on evidence from the EU Youth Report 2015 and due to political developments, national governments, in cooperation with the European Commission, are prioritising the integration of young people with a migrant background, including newly-arrived migrants and refugees. The 2015 Erasmus+ "Inclusion and Diversity Strategy" is designed to ensure that the programme works for disadvantaged young people to the greatest extent possible.
The overall aim of the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy is to improve the number and quality of inclusion and diversity projects within Erasmus+ in the field of Youth. The Strategy goals are to:
- Create a common understanding of those who may be considered as young people with fewer opportunities and a coherent framework of support for the Erasmus+ programme feature "Equity and Inclusion".
- Increase the commitment to inclusion and diversity from different actors in Erasmus+: Youth in Action.
- Promote Erasmus+: Youth in Action as a tool to work with young people with fewer opportunities and actively reach out to disadvantaged groups.
- Reduce obstacles for young people with fewer opportunities to participate in the programme and help applicants to overcome obstacles.
- Support organisers in developing quality projects that involve or benefit young people with fewer opportunities (e.g. provide training, tools, funding, coaching etc.).
- Link where relevant to other initiatives that benefit young people with fewer opportunities – both cooperation with other sectors (joined-up, cross-sectoral approach) as well as for youth policy and projects at local, national and international levels.
- Invest in the intercultural and social skills of young people and youth workers as well as their competences to manage and work with diversity in all its forms.
- Increase the recognition of the experience and skills gained by young people with fewer opportunities in Erasmus+ and by the youth workers working with them.
- Ensure that the focus on inclusion and diversity is present in all stages of Erasmus+: Youth in Action management, including promotion, support for applicants, selection of projects and evaluation and dissemination of project outcomes.
One of the permanent priorities of the Youth in Action programme was "Inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities". On average throughout the programme 2007-2013, 47.3% of the projects supported had identified their project activities as belonging to this priority. The number and percentage increased almost year by year. Among these youth, project coordinators identified "cultural differences" as the main reason for fewer opportunities for 40% of these youth participants.
The European Commission's Youth Programme Erasmus+ has created a targeted webpage for its support for the integration of migrant and refugee youth.