Being an Interreg Reporter: How to comprehend from within, to make it accessible to all

First of all, I am delighted! But time flies… It’s been already a bit over 3 months that I have had the chance to start my IVY experience and it’s been an incredible journey.

Due to the current situation, I have been volunteering remotely, nonetheless it is being very prolific in so many aspects.

But first let me tell you why I chose to do an IVY. It’s actually quite a story for me. «INTERREG» has always been something that has been around me throughout my life. Last year, we celebrated the 30 years of Interreg and I am only 28yo so it has always existed for me. Adding to that, I have had the chance to grow up in Strasbourg, so cross-border, transnational, and Europe have been part of my making. Crossing the border to me was never something I would second guess, it was as simple as a 30min walk or 3 bus stops and there I was, on the other side. And it never felt as if there were many obstacles or logistics to it. That’s also probably due to the fact that I am, as I like to call it, a “Schengen baby”. Whether it’s Germany, Luxembourg, or Belgium, or now that I have settled in the Netherlands, European Territorial Cooperation and Cohesion Policy in general has been something I always admire and am amazed with by the incredible opportunities it offers to the European citizens but also how it contributes to ease regional realities and local dynamics for the people on these bordering areas.

I was very enthusiastic about the initiative of the IVY and since the launch of IVY I have been keeping an eye on it and the opportunity that it offers. And I am very glad I get to take part in it and take this chance to participate and contribute to it to the full extent of my capacity.

I decided to go on this experience so that I can get a better understanding of what is Interreg and how it works, what it does. And at the same time, contribute to the territorial cooperation and discover the specificities of this European program and learn more about the projects it helps implement. And with this knowledge gained, be able to spread the word, make it accessible for others as well.

My current position as an Interreg Reporter, at the Joint Secretariat of France-Wallonie-Vlaanderen, during this transition period, between the closing of Interreg V programming and the discussion and preparations of the new strategy for Interreg VI programmation, offers me an incredible opportunity to get insights about what Interreg is all about but also the possibility to be part of the modeling. I have been and am being able to share my point of view, thoughts and ideas concerning what could be improved or put into place to be closer to the people's realities and needs.

My IVY experience is allowing me to deploy my creativity, my critical thinking but also my resilience towards achieving my personal goals as well as the Interreg programme objectives to reach a larger audience and benefit to the most.

Because IVY is not only about your placement, as a Programme Reporter or Project Partner, I have been able to take part in discussions and meetings concerning wider topics and targets about Territorial cooperation and the youth engagement.

With IVY, I also get to be able to organise a Citizens Engagement Activity, on which I am working on. And I am looking forward to its realisation.

I almost forgot, something that’s definitely worth the detour, I also get to meet and exchange with others like me, IVYers that with whom this shared experience is a step forward to a greater european cooperation and cohesion.

And let me tell you one last thing, this wide range of possibilities that IVY offers, allows me to express and develop my potential. And for that, I will end my plea by wishing IVY and all current and future IVYers the best of it!

Bektha Djilidjel, Interreg Reporter at the Joint Secretariat of INTERREG France-Wallonie-Vlaanderen

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