2020 was an unpredictable and challenging year for YMCA Europe, as it was for our entire movement across the world. We were forced to adapt to a new reality and therefore we discovered new opportunities to even increase our relevance and impact as Area Organisation.
We developed new initiatives through campaigns, adapted to new ways of managing the organisation and we equipped ourselves with new digital tools to bring non formal education activities online. We reached out to decision makers and stakeholders, getting responses that inspired our new direction of travel. In summary, YMCA Europe contributed to raise the voice of young people like never before.
In cooperation with National Movements and partners, we made all needed adjustments by strengthening our programmatic, communications, representation and advocacy work with one clear objective: to continue delivering our mission following the purpose of YMCA Europe´s foundation 47 years ago. More than ever this goal was crucial and it was highlighted at our governance level through a smooth and effective transition in our leadership following the constitutional requirements.
We increased dialogue with decision makers, involving them in our governance events and activities, securing funding and opening new opportunities through projects to continue empowering youth. In addition we exposed our membership to the priorities set by the key European institutions with a focus on the role that civil society organisations should play in order to achieve a prompt recovery.
Despite the pandemic, we created new ways of learning and shared best practices that helped designing our new “Strategic Direction”, presently under consultation among our member YMCAs. We increased our commitment with Movement Strengthening by putting together new tools, publishing best practices and delivering programmes like the Leadership Academy online.
We pursued our “peace and justice” strategic objective by implementing “Roots for Peace” adapting the project to the new reality and securing funding for the new initiative “Generation Next”. YMCA Europe led the “Youth Matters” campaign in partnership with the “Big 6” European platforms focusing on youth, achieving concrete commitments from the main European institutions.
As you will read in our 2020 Report, the results in 2020 show a good mix between new actions and the regular activities. The outcome was the increase of our beneficiaries and the strengthening of our network in cooperation with World YMCA.