• 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 Monday, October 20, 2014
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Editorial
Read up on what has been happening this week on our weekly editorial.

Social Investment

16 October 2014

The 17 October is the international day for the eradication of poverty.  This has been a focus for us this week as we participated in the European Parliament Intergroup on Extreme Poverty and Fundamental Rights.  We talked with MEPs, poverty activists and other civil society organisations on how poverty is both perceived and addressed in our societies and in our political actions.  All were agreed that we need a re-engagement of all Member States and the European Union to ensure a long term strategy to address the imbalance in our social and economic policies and to ensure that economic measures do not result in additional social casualities.  But we need to see this in action.  We need to see additional investment in social services and social protection systems.  The European Commission has issued guidance for Member States as to how to have a social investment approach but we need to see political will to have these adopted.  We were pleased that in a meeting with Social Platform that we had a committment from the European Commission that such an approach was a priority.

But extreme poverty and destitution remain and cannot wait for the policy process to be completed.  That is why our members, as well as being advocates for systemic change in how we address social challenges, are also active in meeting immediate needs.  This week members have been meeting in Paris to look at how food banks and social restaurants are organised and how this can be done in the best way to ensure dignity.  They also talked about how best to use the new EU Fund for the most deprived to support this work.

Addressing extreme poverty is not only about policies but about our attitudes as a society that is accepting of extreme poverty in our midst.  We cannot only expect policies to change the situation.  We need to develop our individual and  collective sense of responsibility and solidarity with all, including those among us experiencing extreme deprivation.  We need to have a solidarity pact among society as a whole, not just among politicians and ensure that social investment in people is at the forefront of all our priorities.

have a good weekend

Heather

 

 

 
Creating Connections

10 October 2014

This week we had the pleasure of a study visit from our member Diakonie Austria.  The diaconial council of the organisation chose to hold their meeting in Brussels this time so that they could integrate capacity building on the main EU driven social processes and meet with MEPs and the European Commission.  This they did, meeting with 6 Austrian members of the European Parliament to discuss developing the social investment agenda and stakeholder involvement in Europe 2020.  Conditions for social enterprises were also on their agenda as was the recognition of the not for profit social services sector generally.  This was complemented by a meeting with the Austrian Commissioner Johannes Hahn where they were able to talk about their work in neighbouring EU countries as well as how to bring EU issues closer to discussions in Austria.  It was a packed visit and I hope will strengthen their work in Austria towards the EU and national policies.

This is extremely important as yesterday I participated in a conference on the EU poverty target where once again the disconnect between the EU and Members States, and Members states and local and regional levels and between all of this and people were once again highlighted.  There seemed to be a common understanding of what poverty was and how social inclusion could be improved but the policies as to how to get there varied immensely.  One presenter asked if we were all rowing our boat in the same direction - a good question and one to which I think the answer for now is no, not quite.  It was clear that there is much work to be done in connecting the local reality experienced by local and regional actors and NGO's and the policies developed at national level and indeed at European level.  It can be done - but it takes political will to create those connections and start to row our boat in the same direction.  We hope that this week our Austrian members have been inspired to steer that direction through the connections they have made.

have a good week

Heather

 

 
This Week

2 October 2014

After all the discusion around the Europe 2020 strategy and European Semester last week we were interested to hear the Commissioner-elect for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, speak to the European Parliament as to how she saw the future of social and economic policies in Europe.  Overall, we were quite impressed by her answers - a committment to try and put social indicators in a stronger position in the semester, valuing social services and agreeing that it was not acceptation to have increasing poverty in Europe.  However, we missed some concrete proposals as well as references to social investment and her willingness to work with civil society and social NGO's. We hope that as she take office she will remedy this and meet with social NGO's to hear our members experience and our policy proposals.

One of the areas we are keen to discuss is Roma inclusion.  This week 25 members will gather in Novi Sad, Serbia, for our annual Roma Network Meeting.  Part of the meeting will look at the current state of play of national roma integration strategies as well as updating our policy paper on Roma.  Additionally, members will be able to see the award winning project from the Ecumenical Humanitarian Organisation where the focus is improving housing for Roma people in the local area and providing vocational training for construction work.  Developing our policy from the learning gleaned from such initiatives is essential for the veracity and relevance of our advocacy at EU level and we look forward to the outcomes of this meeting.

That base from which we learn through members experience is constantly expanding.  We have just welcomed two new members to our network: Diakonie Michaelshoven from Germany and diakonie.ch, a new platform organisation in Switzerland and we are delighted at the continuing rapid expansion of our membership.

The strength of our network is the voice of our members, social ngos, service providers and civil society - we hope that our strength will be recognised and our voices heard.

have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
This Week

26 September 2014

"The EU seems much closer to us now we have been here" was a comment from one of the 36 deacons from the Church of Sweden who had a study visit to Brussels this week.  They had a very intense few days, meeting with the Swedish Permanent Representation, meeting four MEP's and with the European Economic and Social Committee as well as lots of input from Eurodiaconia staff and partners.  The aim of the visit was to find out about european policies and how to be more engaged at national, regional and local level.  Migration policies, poverty and social exclusion and use of the structural funds were particular concerns as were developing the social economy.  Cecilia Wikstrom MEP encouraged all our guests to use their local experience to campaign for change at European level and ensure that Europe is a union of justice, equality and rights.  

Such study visits are hugely important for building capacity in our membership on European policy but also invaluable for us in the secretariat to understand the differences in perception of the EU at national, regional and local level.  When we understand this we can adapt our work to make it relevant for our members in all countries and hopefully that leads to more engagement.

Engagement was also the keyword at our second big event of this week, our Europe 2020 seminar.  Focusing on the the mid term review of the EU strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth we have been looking at how the strategy can be more effective at national and EU level and how our members can continue to be involved in the process.  Involvement means building our capacity as partners at national and European level but it also means pushing for a structured approach to stakeholder involvement at national level.  Our members have been very clear - they want to be involved and some are involved but sometimes the process does not encourage such involvement.

So it has been another busy week here at Eurodiaconia but one where bringing the EU and our members closer together has been our theme and we hope, in time, our success.

Have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
Getting ReDi for Research

19 September 2014

Hello this week from Stockholm!  Theresa, Jarmo and I are attending the 5th Biennial International Research Conference on Diaconia and Christian Social Practice.  The conference is organised by the International Society for Research in Diaconia and Christian Social Practice, otherwise known as ReDi.  ReDi was founded two years ago and Eurodiaconia is part of the Board of the society and hosts the secretariat.  It is a growing society and our interest is to bring practitioners and researchers together to support the development and analysis of relevant and quality social services and social justice actions.

Eurodiaconia has been actively participating in the conference, running a workshop with members from Diakonie Austria, Johanniter Austria and Church City Mission Oslo, looking at how to develop a research working group in Eurodiaconia to support both policy and practice work.  There is much interest in this area and if this is something that would interest your organisation please get intouch with Theresa in our office.  I also had the possibiity to address the conference last night on the current social situation in Europe, the link to services and advocacy and the opportunities for research.  What was really encouraging was the interest in developing work around social impact assesment and the implications of a social investment policy approach.  We will be following these up in the coming weeks.  Finally, Jarmo will be trying to bring all the various discussions together in the closing session on Saturday.

Developing research is key for developing diaconia in Europe.  We need to work together, academics and practitioners, to systemize our approaches and work on research that supports systematic change in social policies.  We are ReDi!

Have a good weekend

Heather

 

 
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