Support for Innovation Fund projects
Between 2017 and 2019, 14 Innovation Fund projects have been exploring new ways to open up access to international youth work activities to all young people and allow them to experience the benefits of international mobility. Vital to this approach is the fact that young people did not just participate in the projects; they were also actively involved in designing and implementing them.
The Innovation Fund, which is affiliated with the Federal Government's Child and Youth Plan, provides support to innovative and hands-on projects to help promote the development of the policy approach known as Independent Youth Policy.
Given that xenophobia, right-wing extremism and nationalism are on the rise, international and European youth work projects have acquired a very special relevance:
The Innovation Fund projects are hence designed to give as many young people as possible access to international mobility projects and international youth work activities. This is best done by having young people engage in initiatives and peer-to-peer projects to encourage other young people to develop an interest in international exchanges – and specifically, to reach out to those peers who so far have had little or no access to such activities.
95 project proposals were submitted to the Innovation Fund, from which the Federal Youth Ministry selected 14. All of these have in common that they were planned and implemented from the perspective of, and with, young people. The participants hence learned that they have been able to have a genuine and lasting impact on the issues they worked on. Via the projects, the stakeholders have been involved in partnerships outside of the established international youth work community, working with stakeholders in the fields of formal education, politics, administration, media and the private sector.
IJAB – International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany supports the Innovation Fund projects by bringing representatives from the various projects together, promoting dialogue and creating the right environment for scaling up the projects' respective innovations. An editorial team consisting of young people has ensured that the project outcomes receive adequate media attention.