The 14th FEAD Network meeting took place on 20 February in Brussels, Belgium, welcoming 87 delegates from 23 Member states.
© European Commission
The first event of 2019 focused on tackling poverty among children with FEAD. The meeting brought together EU-level partner organisations, FEAD Managing Authorities, European Commission representatives and NGOs from across Europe.
The day consisted of panel discussions focusing on the status of child poverty in the EU and taking action to alleviate child poverty, interactive sessions, which concentrated on FEAD’s contribution to tackling child poverty, case studies from inspiring projects and the chance to network with peers.
Tackling child poverty
Moderator Leo Williams, Director, European Anti-Poverty Network welcomed delegates and introduced the day.
Katarina Ivanković Knežević, Director, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion provided an official welcome from the European Commission. As the former head of the Managing Authority for FEAD and ESF in Croatia, Ms Ivanković Knežević was able to identify the challenges and successes of Network Members work in tacking child poverty - ‘When it comes to child poverty, try to think big but don’t forget the little details’.
Following this, the first panel discussion began. Delegates heard about the status of child poverty in the EU, the action needed to alleviate the situation across Europe and key EU policy frameworks that address the issue. Speakers included Hugh Frazer, EU-level policy expert and researcher, and Sian Jones, Policy Coordinator, European Anti-Poverty Network.
After a short coffee break and a chance to network and take part in the Facebook Group interactive activities, the second panel discussion began. This discussion introduced key programmes, policies and strategies that focus on alleviating child poverty and the role of FEAD. Discussions highlighted the clear and important role for FEAD in this area.
Martina Kottman, from the Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth in Germany, highlighted the link with child poverty alleviation strategies, when designing and implementing FEAD programmes at national level. Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild, outlined what progress has been made in alleviating child poverty through EU-level activity and the Child Guarantee initiative including its potential in future arrangements. Irene Bertana, Advocacy and Policy Officer, COFACE Families Europe, discussed the role of family policies and programmes to address child poverty.
During the afternoon, delegates attended two parallel interactive workshops, focussed on FEAD’s contribution to tackling child poverty. The sessions explored two main ways in which FEAD fights child poverty. The first workshop concentrated on tackling child poverty through direct food and/or material assistance. Delegates were presented with two case studies. Sébastien Thollot, national executive member, Secours populaire français, presented the first case study, a self-service offering baby items.
Sophie Ioannou, Inspector General, Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture, presented the second case study; she shared details about the free breakfast programme. After the presentations, delegates discussed in small groups different FEAD programmes across Europe and the challenges and possible improvements to consider going forward in tackling child poverty.
The second workshop tackled child poverty through accompanying measures. Similar to workshop 1 delegates were presented with two case studies, the first by Aija Strazda, Latvian Red Cross. Ms Strazda discussed the provision of accompanying measures for the families with children at the Latvian Red Cross centre. Ineta Rimkune, Lithuanian Children’s Day Centres Association and Aistė Dimskytė, Project Manager, European Social Fund Agency (FEAD Intermediate Body), led the second case study. They shared a variety of leisure activities they have in place for children. After engaging with the presenters, the delegates joined in small groups for the final exercise, creating a hypothetical project of their own.
Throughout the event, delegates were encouraged to interact with the FEAD Network Facebook group. The online space aims to connect members, encourage discussion and share the latest policy news. Join the Facebook group today; we will be sharing photographs, speaker videos, presentations and reports from the meeting.