Switzerland Trip with the Youth Advisory Panel

November 29th 2017

Switzerland Trip with the Youth Advisory Panel

Thanks to the invitation of the National Youth Council of Ireland, volunteers of the Jigsaw Dublin City Youth Advisory Panel were invited to attend a training in Switzerland. Alex Bodor (Youth Advisory Panel Volunteer) and the rest of the volunteers felt that it was an ‘incredible opportunity’. The trip was hosted by the Swiss National Youth Council 'CSAJ'. The purpose of the event was twofold. It was a meeting of a number of national youth council's from across Europe called the BBC+ who have similar values that meet twice a year to discuss policy documents before a larger meeting with all of the members of the European Youth Forum. The meeting was also focusing on the topic of LGBT and gender. 

The volunteers met Hungarian delegates (who were also invited by the Swiss National Youth Council to attend the BBC+ meeting) in Geneva at the official office of ATD Quarte Monde. During this session the group got to find out more about the European Youth Forum (which is the largest advocacy network for young people in Europe) and the BBC+ Cooperation (which is a collection of National Youth Councils in Europe). Once the group understood the process a bit more they got a train to Nyon to meet the rest of the people that they were going to be working with for the rest of the week. At the venue the group participated in a number of 'get to know you' activities, so that all of the group were comfortable with each other. Aisling Ffrench (a Youth Advisory Panel Volunteer) said that ‘the group were very welcoming, and easy to approach’.
The entire group woke early the next morning to head to a castle in the forests of Nyon, where the rest of the meeting would be held.

The start of the meeting focused on what the National Youth Councils and organisations were doing in their local realities (This was to give a different insight into the different experiences). The group followed up with a deep discussion on the policy documents. This was a learning opportunity for Jigsaw Dublin City, but the volunteers still felt like they could get involved if they felt like there was something missing, or if something needed to be highlighted. 
The main activity was facilitated by a local LGBT organisation from Switzerland. They gave the group a brief history of the political and cultural history of the LGBT community in Switzerland (this guided the conversation). Through non formal education methods the group learnt more about the LGBT community (in the wider context) and how it can be more difficult to express your identity especially if you are from more than minority group in society. 

The rest of the weekends workshops were facilitated by a representative of IGLYO (The International LGBTQI+ Student and Youth Organisation). These workshop focused on the topic of intersectionality within the LGBT community. The organisations presents wanted to bring back the learning to their national context, so they came up with way to that their organisations could be more inclusive to the LGBT community.

Keith Judge a (Youth Advisory Panel Volunteer) said that, ‘It was a life changing experience which not only introduced me to a fantastic group of open-minded and insightful people from all corners of Europe but also introduced me to how much of a voice the young people in Europe can have’.