On that day, the 4th of September, two years ago in 2020, EMOTiC was officially born! Looking back on the start and the progress, we are very proud of our pathway. Together we have achieved a lot of things and reached several unique milestones which are worth to be reflected on and to be celebrated. Grab a coffee and enjoy the journey! ☕
🚀Our journey started out of enthusiasm for social work as a community grassroots initiative, however, with a lot of uncertainty and ambiguity. This was due to several factors such as the covid pandemic and its implications, the backsliding in physical mobilities, and the scarcity of funding for newly established organisations. In response to these obstacles, it quickly became clear to us that we needed to professionalize to become efficient and sustainable. Although we figured out the direction quite soon, but the pathway was not easy to choose. On one hand, we have been keen on preserving the community-based values that we adopted with our mission, on the other hand, we were externally influenced by the environment and probable institutional stakeholders. This begged one question: how to professionalize without losing our grassroots culture? The answer was in carrying out our community work in partnership with Europen reliable institutions that are not just funders, but also partners. This conclusion led to excluding governmental funding in the beginning at least, and focusing on the study of opportunities for youth NGOs with the European Union and the Council of Europe because both have longstanding youth agendas and dedicate a lot of their work to young people. This decision was important because we did not want to compromise between professionalization and grassroots, but rather to transcend both!
📈📜 After carrying out an organisational development analysis and recalling the foundational principles, we figured out some organisational changes to be swiftly made. The first step was a change in the name of the organisation to avoid confusion with others. Secondly, we adopted a multidisciplinary approach to focus on different but still interconnected areas to maximise the impact. Thirdly, we sought the building of close partnerships and connections with other NGOs on the local and European levels to exchange experiences. Fourthly, we aimed to diversify our sources of income and funding to be sustainable and resistant. Finally, a comprehensive framework was adopted. This included a youth strategy, an educational dimension, and a gender perspective. Together these became our mainstays which made our organisational growth possible, while contributing to community development and impacting youth.
👣 In the next 10 months from September 2020 to June 2021, we dedicated our work to foster the organisational establishment through the expansion of our horizons, and the acquisition of institutional recognitions. In this way, we got the official registration as a local youth organisation from the European Youth Foundation (EYF) of the Council of Europe and we got the official recognition as a youth NGO from the Austrian ERASMUS+ National Agency of the European Commission (ERASMUS+). These two recognitions were our first threshold for funding opportunities. This work was paid off in July 2021 when we got three project approvals: one pilot project from EYF, one young people mobility from ERASMUS+, and one youth workers mobility from ERASMUS+ 🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺
🌱 The previous gains gave us a solid basis to network and build partnerships with other European youth organisations and to become partners in their project proposals. In a very short span of time until December 2021, we have achieved 12 successful partnerships within the ERASMUS+ Programme with partners from Germany (1 project), Italy (4 projects), Poland (1 project), Portugal (5 projects), and Spain (1 project). In total, these international projects consisted of 7 training courses and 5 youth exchanges.
📍 While expanding our international work scale, we did not neglect our original grassroots culture and got another local pilot project approval from the EYF. Thanks to these international and local approvals, it was possible to professionalize our work for the benefit of the grassroots community through carrying out regular activities. Therefore, in 2022 it was possible to get a third approval for a local pilot project from EYF and a third approval from ERASMUS+ for another youth mobility project. These were enhanced with another 11 successful international partnerships within the ERASMUS+ Programme with partners in France (1 project), Italy (2 projects), Portugal (1 project), and Spain (7 projects) so far for the benefit of people from the local community. In total, these international projects consisted of 4 training courses and 7 youth exchanges.
🔢 Numbers are not the best indicators to measure impact, however, they give a brief summary of the potential impact. In short, so far we created 184 youth participation opportunities for both citizens and residents of Austria between 15 and 35 years old. These opportunities consisted of 14 transnational youth exchanges, 12 transnational training courses, and 3 local training courses. While some people participated more than one time, we have 150+ unique participation opportunities from all over Austria. The majority of these opportunities have already taken place, but some are to yet happen by the end of 2022 due to some postponements.
💰 All of this work could not be possible without the funding we received from the European Youth Foundation and the ERASMUS+ Programme. We have directly got funding approvals totalling about 115 thousand Euros. Members of our organisation and from our extended network also contributed about 2000 Euros to help cover costs that are not covered by the approved funding grants.
🚫 Finally, it is also worthy to mention some of our FAILs (First Attempt In Learning). Here are just some of these FAILS: we did not get the Quality Label from the European Solidarity Corps which helps to host and send volunteers for longer periods; we did not manage to support our members with their funding proposals for local solidarity projects; and we failed many proposals submitted within the ERASMUS+ Programme.
🔮 Looking forward, we have set up a new strategy and an updated work plan for the next three years which will provide more regular activities and also help to synthesize our youth work on the local and international levels.
📞 Last but not least, should you wish to join us or partner with us, please do not hesitate to contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also open to any feedback and criticism!