Six years ago, AEBR reached an important achievement: the first IVY volunteer, Manon, was deployed and started her IVY experience on 20 March 2017. With her beginning at the Danube Transnational Programme, AEBR kicked off the Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) initiative and set about a unique programme to promote cooperation thanks to the contribution of young people. Now we celebrate IVY’s 6th anniversary and mark with pride how IVY has grown to become an established and well recognised volunteering programme which has a lot to offer to young people and actors of regional cooperation.
Working on behalf of and in cooperation with DG REGIO, promoter of the IVY initiative, in these six years AEBR has developed the programme with its three goals clearly in mind: support cooperation projects thanks to the involvement of motivated young people, make the benefits of cooperation more visible among local communities, and ultimately empower young people to engage in cooperation.
Over 320 organisations have taken part, hosting about 815 young people in 20 different countries, from Belgium to Tunisia. This resulted in hundreds of projects having received support from IVY volunteers, hundreds of events being organised with or by young people to promote the benefits of cooperation in many regions in the EU and beyond, and thousands people following cooperation-related pages on social media.
“If I think of you, I feel hopeful for a Europe which is based on solidarity and commitment to cooperation […]. You have made Europe’s regions closer to each other, and by doing so, Europe stronger”, said AEBR President Karl Heinz Lambertz addressing IVY volunteers and mentors.
“IVY is a very valuable investment in current and future territorial cooperation: it helps making it more visible and understandable, it promotes innovation, and it involves and trains potential ‘activists‘ among the younger generations”, states Martin Guillermo-Ramírez, AEBR’s Secretary General.
“IVY has created a community of young people with an interest and knowledge of Interreg” said recently Louise Floman, Programme manager at DG REGIO, remarking the positive impact of the initiative.
With the milestone of the sixth anniversary of the initiative, AEBR’s team wishes for the volunteers’ contribution to make the benefits of cooperation more visible to be better recognised, and for the IVY community of volunteers and mentors to continue growing.