The Youth Department
The Youth Department is a department of the Directorate General of Culture in the Ministry of the French Community. Youth policy is indeed one of the axes of cultural policy and permanent education for young people and one element of cultural activities in general.
The priorities of the sector are defined by the Minister of Youth [Minister of Youth]. The various legislative provisions and circulars applying to the youth sector pursue a common objective: educating responsible, active, critical citizens showing solidarity, with the methods and approaches of permanent education.
This thread of youth emancipation also provides the guidance for the activities of the Youth Department, which are:
- recognising and offering financial support for organisations and structures (mainly youth organisations and youth centres),
- supporting cultural projects implemented by and for young people,
- supporting the training of professional and voluntary youth workers in the cultural field,
- consulting with the representative bodies of recognised associations,
- developing knowledge in the youth field by organising seminars or round tables
- enhancing the recognition of the youth sector by drafting publications.
- defining the international youth policy’s guidelines and priorities, in close collaboration with the International Relations Directorate of the Federation Wallonia Brussels and the International Youth Office, and in cooperation with the Flemish and German-speaking counterparts for Youth;
- participating to the discussions about subjects covered by other departments in which young people are involved (youth assistance, gender equality, employment, etc.);
The Youth Department is responsible for implementing the youth non formal education policy of the Federation Wallonia Brussels whose main purpose is to stimulate young people’s active and collective participation by the learning of a responsible, active, critical and united citizenship.
- Citizens: Individuals members of a society in which they have a place to take, a voice to raise.
- Responsible: Individuals who are informed about their rights and responsibilities and about the realities of the society they live in, and who act on that knowledge.
- Active: Individuals committed as actors in society, collectively or individually.
- Critical: Individuals who perceive information and develop an enlightened point of view.
- Showing solidarity: Individuals who develop social ties and have a commitment to each other.
These actions are built through the permanent education’s methods, namely democratic methods of action and public participation in society.
The Youth Department focuses on young people’s issues, whether or not they are organised in associations. However, its privileged partner remains the voluntary sector and especially recognized associations: youth organisations on the one hand and youth centres on the other hand.
Youth organisations are voluntary associations aiming at an audience predominantly consisting of young people less than 30 years old and contributing to the young’s responsibility and personal skills’ development by young themselves.
They are aiming at making them active, responsible and critical citizens within the society.
There are five kinds of youth organisations:
- 5 youth movements (scouting),
- 15 thematic movements (youth wings of political parties, young activists),
- 61 youth services (mainly offering educative leisure activities and training to young people),
- 5 federations of youth organisations
- 9 federations of youth centres.
Youth centres are locally-based associations aiming at supporting the critical, active and responsible citizenship’s development, especially for young people between 12 and 26 years old, through awareness and knowledge of the realities of the society, the responsibility’s attitudes and the participation to social, economic and cultural life.
They develop a local socio-cultural policy supporting the implementation and the promotion of socio-cultural and creative practices.
There are three kinds of youth centres:
- 154 youth clubs
- 29 youth information centres
- 26 youth hostels.
The youth sector is composed of 5 regional coordination of homework schools, 95 youth organisations, 209 youth centres, almost one thousand local groups of youth movements and more than one hundred local groups of thematic movements developing their activities to serve society on the territory of the Federation Wallonia Brussels.
The youth sector employs more than 2000 people, but relies also on several thousands of committed young volunteers.