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Roots Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw is an international network of youth organisations which work in the style of Don Bosco and of youth work offices of Salesian provinces. The roots of the network lay in the different informal meetings that took place between several Don Bosco youth organisations in Europe: exchanges, study visits, international training courses, an informative meeting on EVS ... However, the satisfaction the participating organisations had from these meetings afterwards was rather low. Most of the times the meetings resulted in texts and reports, but the partners actually wanted to do something with the results. They had the idea that young people should be able to participate in all kinds of international activities because of co-operation between organisations from different countries. This idea led to further thinking about organising these different organisations into a formal structure. In December 2000, under the impulse of Jeugddienst Don Bosco vzw, seven Don Bosco youth organisations came together in Brussels for a first formal weekend of acquaintance. The countries involved were: Belgium, Croatia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. They held discussions about a closer co-operation, the idea of networking and the common goals that united them. Each of the present participants took the proposition for the foundation of a Don Bosco network to their country for further deliberation. In January 2001, it became clear there were a sufficient number of organisations wanting to start a network. In April 2001, the participants came together for a second time to set down the modalities concerning the foundation of a network. This meeting took place in Benediktbeuern (Germany) and involved the countries: Austria, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. During this weekend they reflected on, and discussed the aims, the procedures, the methodologies‌ Also the application for European subsidising was investigated. The application was drawn up afterwards and submitted. In October 2001, Don Bosco Youth-Net received approval from Europe. By this approval, the network received a one-year grant for their development. The official start was 10 th October 2001. In August 2004 we received our official recognition as a nongovernmental youth organisations under Belgian legislation.

10 years of Strength and Hope 10 years Don Bosco Youth-Net, 10 years strength and hope, 10 years of networking, exchanging ideas, coming together, getting to know each other, working for and with young people. What is DBYN about, how did it develop and why it‟s still there? Lots of questions and if we would ask people who took part in various activities the past ten years we would get a lot of different answers. 2001 – 2011 strength and hope: In the last ten years nobody knew how the network would develop and what concrete directions it would go in, but we always looked back on our roots which were: working for and with young people in the special style of Don Bosco in an international context. 10 years of strength: There are a lot of strengths inside DBYN and we only can mention a few at this special place: First of all the young people who are DBYN with all their talents, their power and energy, their ideas and idealism in building and working together. Next to that the Salesian communities, their roots and their structure around Europe in the various countries. Last but not least, the European institutions and funding who offered the financial backing to let things happen and grow. 10 years of hope: Not just to hope that applications for project funding were accepted, but mainly to realise hope through the work of the young people and all enthusiasm volunteers around the network showed. And the hope continues. The very fact that DBYN survived 10 years is a great sign of hope, not as a structure, not as an organisation, but as a reality which offers a lot to Europe and young people of today. This is our hope, that all the strength and hope continues not -for a selfish reason, but to show God´s love and care for young people and to realise the spirit of Don Bosco in the 21st century.

How we work To create international activities for and by young people To network amongst the member organisations To represent the voice of young people in the Don Bosco Movement These are the founding aims for our network. To put them into practice Don Bosco Youth-Net developed a series of master plans prioritising actions to reach our aims. It are roadmaps showing the route which we followed step-by-step. Each one has had a different focus building on the realisations of the previous ones: 2001 – 2003 Don Bosco Youth-Net 2003 – 2005 Building the network 2006 – 2008 Strengthening the network 2009 – 2011 Expanding the network In order to facilitate the management and decision-making process in the network, we‟ve developed over the years a series of policy papers. These policy papers focus on a specific field of work of the network. They are written to give the network some structures and procedures to fall back on. They are not intended to be used rigidly, but more as a set of guidelines. We have policy papers on involving volunteers, training, communication, representation, resource management, operational management and our specific educational system. We consider this system a good practice of the network. Therefore we have made them available as a download on

Few words and a lot of action Don Bosco Youth-Net is a part of the worldwide Don Bosco Movement. This movement is based on the legacy of its founder: Don Bosco. Don Bosco developed an educational system based on a dialogue between the Christian tradition and the needs of the society he was living in. It is this educational system which still connects all people active in the Don Bosco Movement today; Don Bosco‟s working style is our common denominator. In the historical overview the educational system of Don Bosco was identified as “the Preventive System”. Within this system, the approach of the educator is of the uppermost importance. The preventive system stands or falls by the manner in which it is implemented by the educator. Therefore the concept of “assistance” can be defined as the working style of a Don Bosco educator. Before continuing, it is important to define the meaning of educator. Within Don Bosco Youth-Net, everyone who has the responsibility to cater for young people is considered as an educator. He or she can be paid staff or volunteer; he or she can be a young person or an adult. A Don Bosco educator works within an environment shaped by the “Oratory criterion”. This can be a physical place like a youth centre or a school, as well an activity like a training course or a voluntary service. It will accommodate young people with a place for company and entertainment where they can explore values and beliefs, can look for the limits of their opportunities and where they are allowed to learn from their own mistakes by trial and error. Having defined the educator and his working environment, we can come to the core of the educators working style: the “Assistance” of young people”. Within assistance the educator should have eye for the group as well as for the individual, focusing on those young people which need the most attention, without forgetting about the group. Attendance, reason and encouragement are 3 key elements in assistance.

Activities for and by young people DBYN has initiated, organised, coordinated and supported a huge amount of activities the past 10 years: 10 YEARS OF ACTIVITIES



Youth exchanges



Life Learning Trips



Voluntary service



Training courses



Study visits






Other projects



Statutory meetings






In order to ensure that our projects are organised for and by young people we have created a training strategy existing of 3 steps, which empowers young people to develop the competences they need to organise their own international projects: STEP 1 Youth exchange on intercultural learning STEP 2 Training course on project STEP 3 Training of trainers Each step in this training strategy builds on the previous one. We start with developing basic competences needed to work in international teams. Next we focus on how to develop and organise an international project from inception to post-evaluation. Finally we train young people to become lead an international activity as educator, trainer or facilitator. This system creates a „perpetuum mobileâ€&#x; of youth participation in our network.

Networking Over the last years we have managed to initiate and facilitate a profound exchange of information, ideas and expertise between our member organisations. The better our members know each other, the easier it is to start-up new collaborations within our network. Twice a year we bring together representatives of all member organisations at a network meeting. We always aim to make these meetings coincide with other activities, so there is a direct contact between the people representing the member organisations and the volunteers. At these meetings weâ€&#x;ve consistently organised our “exchange marketâ€?, which is a workshop especially designed to start-up new projects. Because of the combination of representatives and volunteers we can really initiate these new projects during the workshop. The majority of the actions organised by the network have been created during the exchange market. is a powerful database full. It has an activity database, a database of Salesian youth centres where international activities can be hosted, a news database and a resource database. Our website is co-managed by our member organisation. Each member organisation can upload and manage the content. We also use our homepage to forward a monthly newsflash to all people involved in the network. Next to this we have a 3-monthly newsletter send to people interested in the development of our network. We have a channel on youtube where we put video reports of our activities: PUBLICATIONS






Video reports




Sharing good practices Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw has produced 4 educational publications with the support of the European Youth Foundation. With these publications we want to offer volunteers tools which they can use in youth work practice, both in their local organisations, as well in international settings: I (am) like you !


A simulation game on conflict management and resolution

A manual for intercultural youth work





An informative game on the exchange of values for intercultural youth work

A manual on safeguarding in intercultural youth work



Voice of young people The Don Bosco Movement caters for millions of young people worldwide. At international level there are institutions and networks active to coordinate this work. The Salesians of Don Bosco is headed by the General Council. The council acts as the coordinating body of the Salesian congregation. The Salesian sisters have a similar structure. Through the general council we can learn about the interests of the Salesian family, but at the same time we can communicate the concerns of the young people they are catering for. Next to this there are several international networks of Don Bosco organisations, like Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw itself, which all focus on a specific field of work (development cooperation, Salesian youth ministry, Advocacy work, ‌). Since the start of the network we are maintaining close contacts with all these international policy makers inside the Don Bosco Movement, voicing the interests of the young people we represent.

The agenda of international youth policy is put together by several public institutions and civil society networks. Because they all are acting on international level, it is more difficult to influence this agenda. There simply are much more players in the game. Therefore it is important to network with those actors which have a voice in this discussion. In order to do so we have become observer member of the European Youth Forum in 2005.

Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw is an international network of 13 Salesian youth work offices and youth organisations which work in the style of Don Bosco. The network assemblies 1.114 employees and 8.866 volunteers which cater for 122.275 children and young people.

Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw is financially supported by the European Union through the „Youth in Action‟-programme.

Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw is financially supported by the Council of Europe through the „European Youth Foundation‟.


10 Years Don Bosco Youth-Net ivzw  

This publication wants to present the accomplishments of Don Bosco Youth-Net's first 10 years.

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