• 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 Friday, May 22, 2015
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

Courage and Creativity

21 May 2015

This has been a busy week at Eurodiaconia! The week started with a meeting of members interested in developing a project on Youth. Meeting in Oslo and hosted by the Church City Mission Oslo, around 25 people considered how to share innovative and creative methodologies on working with young people at risk of exclusion. This is a new area of work for Eurodiaconia and we are excited to see what the next steps could be with this project.

While some members were talking about young people in Norway, others were in Brussels discussing how to strengthen the role of Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISE) to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities and those who are furthest away from the labour market. This event was held in partnership with the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and the European Network of Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE). Participants from all three organisations looked at issues around the funding and recognition of WISE, the rights of users and how to exchange best practice.

And while all of that was going on I was in Sweden, participating in the 'Profildagar 2015' of the Diocese of Strängäs. I was invited to run a workshop on how to get more engaged in Eurodiaconia and then to deliver a keynote speech on how diaconia can reflect the courage of the Church in Europe today. I spoke about how having courage as Church and diaconia requires us to have a willingness to know our context and to change in order to adapt to it. Coupled with this was the desire of many Deacons in particular to have more space to be involved in advocacy both as tellers of people's stories and as actors for social justice. It was really encouraging to hear the stories of the day-to-day work of so many Deacons engaged with their local communities and finding creative ways to serve. We need to find ways to bring their voices into Eurodiaconia so that more can hear and be challenged by their courage and creativity.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 

 
The Social Peace

7 May 2015

With elections in the United Kingdom this week that could trigger a 'Brexit' (blend of the words “British” and “exit”) from the European Union and continued speculation about how Greece will be able to stay in the eurozone, we could begin to wonder how Europe can hold everything together. The dream of greater peace and harmony among nations promoted by Robert Schuman and the desire for greater upward convergence among Member States promoted by recent European Commissions seem not to be the reality. Yes, there is territorial peace between EU countries but there is not enough social peace. The first fruits of economic recovery since the crisis are not yet reaching those who have been hit hardest by the recession and social protection systems, including social services, are still feeling the brunt of reduced spending. Civil society is arguing for a more progressive approach to economic and social development that puts the social recovery at the same level of importance as economic recovery.

Part of that progressive approach involves social investment which includes investment in the social economy. Many of the members of Eurodiaconia are experts in this area and we count both large and small social enterprises among our membership. Social enterprises such as those run by our members aid social peace by championing inclusion and contribute economically to their societies and communities. We are seeing more and more co-operation among our members in this area, and in the coming weeks we will be looking at how we can provide more support to the development of the social economy and its more specific forms of organisation such as Work Integrating Social Enterprises (WISE). This sort of development and co-operation can also hold Europe together and perhaps more importantly, it can ensure that we sustain a social peace.

Have a good weekend,

Heather

 

 
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

 

 
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