By Diana Yeghiazaryan
A new Stimulus for Developing Youth Work Policy in Armenia
On March 11-15 2019, the European Youth Center Strasbourg (France) hosted the "Youth Work Policy in Europe: It's Up to Us!" study session, the purpose of which was to raise awareness about the Youth Work Policy and the Youth Work Recommendation developed by the Council of Europe (CM/Rec(2017)4 and to use it as a tool for advocating for Youth Work Policies.

The study session was organized by the European Confederation of Youth Club - ECYC and the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, during which the members of Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia (FYCA) Gayane Barseghyan, Garik Khachatryan, Hrayr Poghosyan and Margush Hakobyan were active participants. Diana Yeghiazaryan, Vice-President of ECYC, International Secretary of FYCA, was a member of the trainers' and organizational team. 

Throughout the project, participants learned about youth work, Recommindation of Youth Work, about its history, structure, content and goals, shared their experiences on the Youth Policy. On second day of the program, Antje Rothemund, the Head of the Youth Department of the CoE, paid a visit to this event. She was directly involved in the drafting of the Recommendation. During the entire training program, 37 participants shared their countries' youth policies, programs and needs and abilities of Youth Work. On the last days of the program, the participants made up their action plans, which they introduced to each other.

Gayane Barseghyan highlighted the following: "It was interesting for me to discover the experience of other countries in the field of youth work, to see and compare the cooperation of institutional and non-institutional structures working in the field of youth policy, Co-Management model of decision making. Each of the seven points of the Recommendation is very important for the development of the youth field. But the second point is vital to me. Creating a flexible system of education and knowledge for youth workers and volunteers, which will train them and give them relevant experience. It is necessary to standardize and coordinate their work, using best practices, using best methods based on knowledge".

Continuing to talk about the knowledge and experience gained in the program, Garik Khachatryan mentions: “I participated in an international project in Europe for the first time. Thanks to the Federation of Youth Clubs of Armenia, I learned about the youth work policy, its importance and measures to promote it. The idea of the recommendation and the principles are of immediate interest. The recommendation builds on the existing values, principles and benefits of youth work as enshrined in the instruments referred to in the text below. The design and delivery of youth work are underpinned by the principles of voluntary and active participation, equality of access, openness and flexibility. It should be rights-based, inclusive and centred on young people, their needs and abilities. We have so much to do in this area, so we’ll start right now!».

Maga Hakobyan, who is the head of a youth club Smart School operating in Javakheti, Georgia says that the most interesting point was the first one: Quality Youth Work. The Council of Europe creates special programs to ensure the quality of youth work living in different regions. She thinks today's young people need programs, which will help them to create secure future, as a result of which they will be ready to implement all their potential in youth work.

For Hrayr Poghosyan was remarkable the 7th point, which promotes CoE Quality Label for Youth Centres as a good practice.

Participants of this Study Session developed Action Plans for Youth Work Policy Advocacy for their countries and organizations. The Armenian free translation of the Recommendation is one of the priorities of the action plan for the Armenian participants, which they have already begun to implement. 

Armenia is a full member of the Council of Europe since 2001. The Council of Europe is an international organisation whose stated aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Founded in 1949, it has 47 member states.

The recommendation consists of seven main points, which are represented as they are below.