IVY? The passion of European acronyms

PP, LD; WP… Interreg-projects love acronyms. If you start to volunteer in Interreg projects, that could be confusing at the beginning. However, don’t worry, you get used to all those terms and after the first month you are using them, as it would be your usual language.

Since 5 weeks, I help to coordinate 4 Interreg-projects which are implemented in the Association of the Community Centers in Wattrelos (France). It is located in the northern region of France; It’s the area where the movie (for everyone who knows it) “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” takes place. My friends were joking when I told them where I would do an Interreg volunteer service. Nevertheless, the communication with my colleagues is in a proper French, so I will not learn the “Ch’ti” ;-)

First of all, if I mention Interreg-projects, what is it about? Interreg is a European funding program, which implements the European Union’s interests to support European regions by aiming a cohesion all over Europe. The particularity of Interreg-projects is the cross-border organization to benefit of the exchange with European partners. Due to the various needs of the border regions, there are various Interreg-programs with key topics depending on the program area. We take part on two programs areas: “Interreg 2 Seas” and the “Interreg North West Europe”.

To get a better overview I put a map showing the two Interreg programs areas, where we are participating:

So what does it mean to be an IVY (Interreg Volunteer Youth) in the Association of Community Centres in Wattrelos? We have four Interreg- projects for different target groups.

The first project is “Step by Step” (SBS) and it has the aim to improve men’s health by developing a model, which includes special community spaces or workshops for men.

The second is called “PACE” (Providing access to Childcare and Employment). This project includes on the one hand to find new methods of childcare and to improve its access by developing alternatives ways of childcare. On the other hand, the childcare is using for the parent’s access to the labor market.

“VRAC” is the third project and its full title is “It takes a Village to raise a Child”. The title points to the methodology providing community based education service for children in a deprived area.

The fourth project is “EYES” (Empowering Youth through Entrepreneurial Skills) which has Youth who have fewer opportunities as its target group. A digital tool developed in the project will assist the individual coaches.

Those pictures showing a meeting with partners and Youngsters of the EYES-project where we discussed about the digital tool, which is developed:

You can imagine that those four projects implies a lot to work on. I am helping my colleagues in the office managing those projects. This include the communication to involve social workers employed in the three community centers about how missions could be implement. In addition to the contact to the social workers, I communicate with project partners via Skype or email to discuss the trajectories and components of the projects. I was happy to participate already to Partner-Meetings and visits, which was really interesting and productive.

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