• Our work

    Eurodiaconia links diaconal actors to examine social needs, develop ideas and influence policies impacting Poverty and Social Exclusion, Social and Health Care Services and the Future of Social Europe.

    Eurodiaconia also provides a platform for transnational networking and best practice sharing.  

     

  • Our vision

    As the leading network for diaconal work in Europe, we look to develop dialogue and partnership between members and influence and engage with the wider society.  We do this to enable inclusion, care and empowerment of the most vulnerable and excluded and ensure dignity for all.

     

  • Our goals

    We aim to see a positive social change in Europe through:

    Praxis, enabling membership engagement and partnerships

    Advocacy, creating a network of competence to impact policies at European and national level

    Identity and values, supporting the development of approaches and thinking on Diaconia in Europe today

     

Calendar Sunday, April 26, 2015
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

Act Now!

24 April 2015

"The situation in the Mediterranean is a tragedy.are the first words of the statement of the European Council following its emergency summit on the loss of life in the Mediterranean this past week. If the leaders of 28 countries in Europe see the loss of the lives of at least 1000 men, women and children as a tragedy, we should hope that the rest of that statement will provide concrete actions that will halt this humanitarian disaster. To some degree, the decisions of the Council to increase financial resources for search and rescue among other commitments is a step forward, but is it enough? In our letter to heads of state this week, we called for organised legal ways of immigration, secured immigration routes, shared responsibility of treatment of asylum procedures among all EU member states and further support for social NGOs assisting and integrating migrants. A sense of solidarity when it comes to migration is still missing from many of the countries of the EU and a commitment to legal ways of coming to Europe is still lacking. Nor can decisions about search and rescue be made on the basis of kilometres and miles… they must be made on the basis of respect for human life and a shared sense of humanity, regardless of the circumstances in which the risk or crisis occurs.

This week, many of our members have been sharing their calls to governments to have a strategy for migration that goes beyond the rhetoric of 'burden sharing' or 'mobilisation of resources', but that focuses on the human cost of inaction and the image Europe shows to the world as we put up our walls and leave people to drown in a sea of bureaucracy, inaction and political protectiveness. At the heart of migration is poverty and injustice. This has to be addressed in North Africa, in Europe and in the sea that links our continents together. We cannot continue to leave people in danger in our seas. This is not justice. The EU must step up its actions now so that we do not see another week with 1000 lives lost. As Davide Rosso, member of the Board of Eurodiaconia and from our Italian member CSD Valdese, said: "We must recognise together as Europeans the value of all human lives and act at a European level to promote justice for all. We must act together as Europeans who welcome those in need. Europe has to organise specific humanitarian channels for asylum seekers so they can travel safely. This responsibility must be shared among EU countries because it is the only way to work in an efficient way. For this to happen, there needs to be political willingness!"

 

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 
Coming and Going

17 April 2014

This week we launched our report on how a social investment approach is being used in Member States to build up social services and policies that are integrated and designed to support people to participate in society and be resilient to life crisis and challenge. Representatives from the European Parliament and from the European Commission as well as partner organisations welcomed the report as it gave concrete evidence of where the barriers to investing in social policies can be found. You can read more about our event here and download the report as well.

In addition to this important external event, we have also had an important internal event. This week we have been sad to say goodbye to Laura Jones who has been with Eurodiaconia for nearly 9 years. Laura is known to many as being an expert in social services who has provided much valued information to members on many issues as well as working with members on healthy aging and long term care, social economy, social impact assessment, financing and many other topics… Laura has been a real asset to Eurodiaconia and both her professional abilities and personal approaches have been much appreciated within the staff team, our members and partners. We wish her luck in her new responsibilities with the European Platform for Rehabilitation and know we will see her often!

But as we say goodbye to Laura, we say hello to Alex! Alexander Elu joined us this week as Policy and Membership Development Officer and will continue our work on social services. Alex speaks Spanish, Catalan, French, English and Italian and has previously worked for the Spanish Economic and Social Committee and the European Commission. We look forward to introducing you to Alex in the coming weeks.

Have a good weekend,

Heather Roy,
Secretary General

 
Bandages and Wheels

10 April 2015

On my office wall, I have a piece of paper that says: "We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself". These words come from the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who died 70 years ago this week.

Bonhoeffer believed that you could not separate faith and justice and that it was not enough to provide only temporary relief in situations of injustice. Bonhoeffer urged both charitable acts, the bandages he refers to, and advocacy for systemic change, driving a spoke into the wheel itself. Over 70 years ago, this was perhaps revolutionary to a Christian church which to some degree prided itself on its charitable works. Today, across Eurodiaconia, our members see it differently. There will always be a need for immediate action to provide for some of our most basic needs. But there is also a willingness and insistence to engage with the societal, economic, environmental and political situations that may cause people to experience hardship, destitution, isolation, exclusion and marginalisation. This can be from advocating for higher quality and more accessible care services to ensuring that social welfare systems are enabling rather than punitive, to ensuring that Roma people have the same opportunities when it comes to housing, education, employment and health as other citizens.

This was a message we gave this week on the International Roma Day. You can read our press release here and catch up with our media coverage but we made it clear that there must be significant changes made in structural policies to ensure that Roma people have their rights and that the overwhelming discrimination against Roma people ends. Our members provide many services with and for Roma people, but they also see where structural changes are needed and together, with Roma people and their organisations, we will work to drive a spoke into this particular wheel of injustice.

Have a good weekend and happy Easter to our Orthodox brothers and sisters!

Heather

 

 
Shine a Light

2 April 2015

Sometimes I think that our work at Eurodiaconia is about shining a light on what is sometimes hidden.

In our societies and communities, there is much that is hidden or not understood properly; structural inequality, material deprivation, loneliness, isolation, crisis. However, it is not just situations that are hidden or misunderstood, but increasingly people themselves are hidden. Sometimes we choose what is to be hidden, sometimes we just do not realise what is going on around us. What we try to do is to uncover the hidden and show the reality of life in Europe today for many of our brothers and sisters, and how and why good social policies and quality and accessible social services are necessary to ensure that no one is hidden or no circumstances are misunderstood.

For Christians, Easter is a time where the light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ shines on all that is hidden and misunderstood. Indeed, we might not fully understand the significance of the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday but we see hope and light. It is with that hope and with that light that nothing can be hidden and that love and justice prevail.

Have a good Easter break,

Heather

 
Rights and Responsibilities

26 March 2015

This week has seen a focus on rights and responsibilities. At the beginning of the week, representatives of our members Diakonie Germany and Gothenburg City Mission (Sweden) spoke to a selected group of partners and institutional actors about the challenges of service provision for EU mobile citizens. Both spoke about how the application of EU law governing whether or not an EU national has a right to services and social support in another country is at times incorrect and confusing, for the service provider, for local authorities and most of all for individuals. EU citizens have social rights in other countries and it is the responsibility of government at European, national and local level to ensure that those rights are accessible and are given without restriction. At the same time, as NGOs working with people who try to find their place in a new country, we also take the responsibility to help with individual navigation of new systems and to work with local authorities in giving such rights. However, our members said that they will also take responsibility to expose where weak or complex administration prevents access to those rights and how they have done so already using the media - and how this has brought about change. What was encouraging was hearing from other participants how they valued our members’ knowledge of the reality of EU mobility and social rights and how we had practical proposals to move forward, which is of course part of our responsibility for effecting systemic change.

Systemic change is needed more widely however than just the issue of EU mobility. The need for greater investment in social and health care services on a systemic level was the theme of the breakfast meeting held with our partners in Social Services Europe today. We talked about how increasingly social welfare and social services are seen as a burden on national budgets and how jobs in our sector are increasingly devalued. Participating MEPs committed to work with us to change these perceptions and potentially develop an action plan on investment in our sector: we hope that they will practically take responsibilities in this area. Watch this space!

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 
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