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September 2019


Dear Readers,

An essential prerequisite for a successful youth exchange is the willingness to meet in partnership. Every single person, every participating group is called upon to treat their counterpart with respect and at eye level. This is neither self-evident nor easy. Here, the African-German Youth Initiative comes in. It aims to establish a structure for equal partnerships between Germany and African countries. In doing so, it recognizes the complexity of the post-colonial context in which encounters and exchanges take place between young people in African countries and Germany. After all, the power and domination structures that have grown over centuries not only affect the intercontinental, but also the existing imbalances within states and regions in Africa.

The AGYI counters this with the possibility of open dialogue, critical reflection and power-sensitive educational work. All those involved repeatedly experience structural limits and individual challenges, which we try to meet together in a dialogue-oriented, participative and cooperative way.

Partnership in the sense of the AGYI therefore means solidarity, reciprocity and participation. And it is guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of Agenda 2063 of the African Union. To convey all this to young people requires good and appropriate concepts, comprehensive support and a lot of enthusiasm. To do so the AGYI offers support to civil society in all four partner countries, Benin, Germany, South Africa and Tanzania: Through workshops and training sessions for multipliers, discussions about quality standards, and the dissemination of best practices. In concrete terms, AGYI also offers hands-on support when initiating new African-German partnerships. Here (open) spaces are created in order to recognize and define commonalities, to enter into an exchange and to develop a joint project.

The focus of this AGYI newsletter - partner matching - is primarily on group exchange in its different formats. However, much of what is written about this also has relevance for international voluntary services and internships,such as those offered through weltwärts or the ASA program. With the examples given here, we would like to make the work of the AGYI tangible, point out the dynamics of the initiative and offer food for thoughts on the subject of partnership. In addition, this issue provides insight into the AGYI's current activities within the African partner structure and in Germany.

Last but not least, we are pleased about the relaunch of the AGYI website, whose guiding principle is partnership. We would like to express our sincere thanks to all those who have contributed to the implementation of this platform. Feedback on the relaunch and the work of the AGYI in total, are welcome at any time.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue.

Your AGYI coordination team


Articles of this issue:


#Partner Matching


First partner matching Benin - Germany

Beninese and German representatives in Cotonou, Benin, Photo: Engagement Global
"On behalf of all organisations of the Réseau AGYI Bénin, I would like to thank GIZ and Engagement Global for organising this partner matching conference, which was a complete success. Despite all the concerns regarding visa issues, the conference was full of energy and enthusiasm with very dedicated but above all engaging and motivating participants," says Ibrahim Tchan, coordinator of the Réseau AGY Bénin after the first Benin-German partner matching. Representatives of 41 organisations from Benin and Germany took part in a workshop in Cotonou, Benin at the beginning of August. The event was organised by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) in cooperation with the Réseau AGYI Bénin and brought together Beninese and German organisations from the fields of nature conservation, child and youth work, intercultural exchange, culture, industry, education, development cooperation and women's rights. The aim was to prepare Beninese and German actors for the implementation of joint youth encounters.
"All the participants expressed a high level of motivation to facilitate exchange projects between young people from Benin and Germany. I was very impressed by the enthusiasm and target-oriented approach of all involved," says Freddy Ndongbou of Engagement Global.

In addition to talks on joint project ideas, the application process for extracurricular encounter projects within the framework of weltwärts was discussed. Furthermore, Engagement Global staff at the visa office provided information and training on how to overcome obstacles for Beninese participants when applying for a Schengen visa to visit Germany.
In addition to the joint concept work, the agenda also included a personal visit of the German organisations at a future partner organisation in Benin. This enabled the German partners to learn first-hand about the needs and expectations of the Beninese participants and to find out more about the technical equipment available for implementing the joint projects.

Gabriele Brühl from the Brühl Foundation draws a thoroughly positive conclusion: "I have made many new contacts, which will be very useful for my project work in Benin in the future. And I networked not only with Beninese NGOs, but also with many of the German organisations. We will try to make the most of the synergies." In this spirit of partnership, the German and Beninese participants plan to submit joint funding applications for youth exchanges.

A particularly important aspect of youth exchanges and volunteering is the preparation and follow-up of participants. This will be addressed in a workshop from 2 to 4 September in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In addition to coordinating good practices, trainers from Benin, Germany, South Africa and Tanzania, together with representatives of Engagement Global and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), will discuss issues of intercultural communication, support for host organisations, alumni work and the development of toolkits for educational support for young people.


A match with two winners: An example from the extracurricular sector

Language exercise, German - Kiswahili, Photo: BKJ
The German Federation of Arts Education and Cultural Learning (Bundesvereinigung Kulturelle Kinder- und Jugendbildung, BKJ) is a strategic partner of the AGYI. The BKJ advises organisations from the broad field of cultural education who would like to organise international youth exchanges.

How can interested associations take the first steps towards an international partnership if the necessary contacts and networks are not available? BKJ's range of services is geared in particular to these organisations. Through various partner matching formats, the BKJ supports them in getting to know suitable partners for the implementation of joint international exchange projects. Experience shows that this service of the BKJ proves to be particularly useful when new connections are to be established between institutions from different countries where making contact on one's own is difficult due to distance or other factors.

An example of how a match is made, from initial contact to the first real encounter up to the concrete cooperation in a joint project, is outlined in the following table. It is particularly important to note that this is neither a fixed model nor a predefined partner matching process.

Each partnership initiation is the start of a new educational journey, which brings important insights for adjusting the service offer to the requirements of the organisations. The aim is to react as flexible as possible to the needs of the participants and the respective dynamics of the matching process. This flexibility allows adjustments to be made at individual stages of the matching process, depending on what the organisations involved expect in each case.

First steps to partner matching: An example of   the association "Zirkus und Co." from Germany

→ Zirkus und Co. decides to become internationally active
→ Zirkus und Co. has no connections abroad to undertake international activities
→ Zirkus und Co. wants to be matched with partners from an African country
→ Zirkus und Co. approaches the BKJ and wants to use the services of the BKJ to initiate a new partnership
→ Zirkus und Co. presents itself with a profile (in English or in the language of the desired partner).
This contains:
  o basic information: contact details, if applicable category (e.g. theatre,
     dance, music etc.)
  o fields of work
  o motivation
  o initial project ideas/requests to partner organisation
→ BKJ forwards the profile of Zirkus und Co. to the partners in the three pilot countries Benin, South Africa and Tanzania
→ The BKJ can in turn forward profiles of organisations from the Global South directly to organisations from the field of cultural education in Germany
→ On the basis of the profiles, the BKJ can assist in finding the first matches:
  o Use of own mailing list
  o Channelling to potentially interested organisations that are already known
→ BKJ can arrange initial contact between both partners via Skype or telephone:
  o Initial contact:
      o clarification of initial questions
      o declaration of own interests
      o staking out common interests
→ An important step towards establishing a partnership can be a personal encounter:
  o During the personal encounter, both associations can ascertain whether:
      • the desired contents and the structures fit together
      • work is undertaken with similar target groups
      • comparable interests are pursued
      • the educational approaches are similar
      • there is a good fit in terms of interpersonal chemistry
→ Since the associations themselves often have no means of their own to organise personal meetings, the AGYI offers financial support and opportunities for a first encounter. These are
  o networking possibilities, such as partner conferences
  o financial support for so-called preparatory trips

Participation in these formats or possible support in independently organised personal meetings must be clarified individually with the AGYI or BKJ.
→ Important basics for the matching process:
  o matches cannot be forced
  o offer exit options without loss of reputation
  o be open-minded (curiosity, interest and resist prejudice and stereotypes)
  o be able to listen actively
  o ensure equal cooperation right from the start (AGYI partnership principle)
  o honest and transparent communication to build trust
→ Best case: A match with two winners!
  o A match is made
  o Project planning is jointly initiated
  o A joint application is made for a weltwärts exchange 
  o Consolidation of the joint work by carrying out international youth ex         
     change and making use of advisory and accompanying offers as well as
     further networking offers, for example BKJ network meetings 
     → Aspects that determine the quality of a successful youth encounter are          reflected on together

10 steps to the CHAT between the WORLDS project: An example from the school sector

Everyone can participate in the CHAT of the WORLD. Photo : Engagement Global
At the start of a co-operation there are many open questions: How can I participate in a CHAT between the WORLDS project? When, where and how does a project take place? With the following guide "10 Steps to the CHAT between the WORLDS Project", the team of CHAT between the WORLDS of Engagement Global shows the way to a successful partner matching. This path is the same for all partners, both from Germany and from the Global South and can be done in German, English or French.
1. To start a CHAT between the WORLDS project, you need a school class in Germany and a school class or youth group or an individual in a country in Africa, Asia or Latin America who would like to exchange views and experiences about global topics or their world via online communication.
2. If you would like to participate in a CHAT between the WORLDS project, please contact and provide information about you as a person and your organisation or institution, such as the country, location, number and age of interested participants.
3. The coordination team of CHAT between the WORLDS at Engagement Global contacts you and gives you a short introduction to the project and forwards your request to the German regional coordinators.
4. One of these regional coordinators will contact you to arrange a meeting by video chat or telephone.
5. During the introduction interview you have the opportunity to ask your questions about the course of a CHAT between the WORLDS project. General information such as technical requirements, language skills, tools and possible topics for a CHAT is discussed.
6. As soon as a project request with matching interests is received, the regional coordination office will contact you in order to plan a project together. This can sometimes take a few months.
7. In preparation for a concrete project, the date and time of the CHAT, format (live/via video messages) and the topic of the CHAT are discussed. A plan B, if the internet connection or planned technology does not work, is also agreed on in advance.
8. On the day of the CHAT there will be a trial run to test the technology and internet connection.
9. The CHAT takes place. Students have prepared the encounter with questions and answers.
10. A few days after the CHAT, the regional coordination office will contact you to get feedback, find out what went particularly well and where there is room for improvement.
Please note that the CHAT between the WORLDS is a German educational programme financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. CHAT between the WORLDS is therefore unable to assume any fees, services or material and equipment costs for project planning and implementation abroad.

Get in touch with CHAT between the WORLDS by introducing yourself or your organisation/institution.



Preparatory meeting Benin-Matching in Bad Godesberg

Beninese and German representatives want to strengthen their cooperation. Photo: Engagement Global
"I'm really looking forward to travelling with all of you” - With these words, Freddy Ndongbou from Engagement Global concludes the preparatory workshop on 6 July in Bad Godesberg. Together with representatives from 17 organisations, he will participate in the partner matching organised by the Organisation for International Cooperation (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ) and the Réseau AGYI Bénin in Benin. The participating organisations from all over Germany work in the fields of nature conservation, child and youth work, intercultural exchange, culture, economy, education, development cooperation and women's rights. This gives the group a wealth of experience and many experts on a wide variety of topics. As well as input on Benin and the preparation, the workshop also provided space for exchange of experiences. "Our association has been in touch with our new partner Corps des Volontaires Béninois since March and we are all very much looking forward to the meeting in Benin", reports Jule Knop from the association Kleiner Muck e.V. In Benin, the German representatives are already keenly awaited by a corresponding number of organisations from similar fields to exchange ideas on projects and plan joint youth exchanges. "Organising a youth exchange together with partners from Benin is a great responsibility, but also a great opportunity", explains Rahmée Wetterich from "The Project Justine Train the Trainer e.V." at the end of the workshop.

Digital & real-life exchanges: Insights through CHAT between the WORLDS

How to stay involved and in touch, even after the project has come to an end? CHAT between the WORLDS offers digital solutions. Photo: Engagement Global
When South-North volunteers' time in Germany comes to an end, they often wonder: How can I stay in contact with Germany in the long term after my voluntary service? CHAT between the WORLDS is one option. As a CHAT expert, former volunteers can communicate online with school classes in Germany about their home country and their views on global challenges. Volunteers from Diakonie Baden have recently found out how this can work. At their intermediate seminar, they took part in a CHAT between the WORLDS project with Bolivian volunteers and also found out how they themselves can participate in the CHAT between the WORLDS.

CHAT between the WORLDS also shows that it is not always necessary to travel around the globe to get to know other cultures or to make contact with people in different parts of the world. At the AGYI conference in Bonn from 6 to 8 May 2019, the CHAT between the WORLDS demonstrated how transnational encounters can be made possible through virtual exchange formats and secured in the long term. In a workshop, the participants used interactive, digital and analogue tools and learnt methods for the application of online-based communication for global learning and intercultural exchange.



Southern African weltwärts Network consolidates itself

The members of the network continuously work on achieving their goals. Photo: Mary Mlambo
In the first half of the year, the Southern African weltwärts Network (SAwN) concentrated on the topics of sustainability, refocusing memberships and the future of the network. The network set to work on achieving its goals at the annual board meeting and during a strategy workshop on resource mobilisation. The main objective was to financially secure the network and to identify concrete administrative coordination measures to be implemented by the network in the future. Additionally, both the newly elected board members and the working group members met in Johannesburg.

Following a stocktaking exercise, a roadmap for the further development of the network was drawn up and adopted. It was agreed to develop policies that will guide the network with its funding structure and on financial matters including possible sponsorships. It was also decided that the Knowledge Exchange and Learning as well as the Finance and Governance working groups would receive training on how to construct proposals for funding.

In the second half of the year, the focus will be on value added membership. This is based on the intention to strengthen and support all members according to their needs for the work within the network. More than 200 partner organisations from five countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) currently belong to the network. With this success, SAwN paves the way for partnerships between like-minded individuals with a common vision and is exemplary for the potential of targeted partner matching within the scope of a regional network.

The Volunteer Management System of the African Union

During the first consultative workshop brought together volunteer stakeholders from all over Africa. Photo: Aïssatou Toure
In their decision Assembly/AU/Dec.274 (XVI), African Union Heads of State and Government recognised youth volunteerism as an instrument for youth empowerment and a catalyst for the continent’s development. Through a continental ‘Volunteerism Linkage Platform’ (VLP) and a ‘Volunteer Management System’ (VMS), the African Union Commission (AUC) aims to mobilise actors from across the continent engaged in volunteerism to maximise the benefits and potential of volunteerism and exchange programmes in Africa.

In September 2018, the AUC organised the first ever workshop to discuss the possibilities of such a platform together with stake holders in volunteerism from across Africa.

The second African Volunteerism Forum will take place this year from 24 to 26 October 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. The focus will be on analysing and evaluating the progress made so far. Further topics are the next steps and the future orientation of the African Volunteerism Forum. The jointly identified steps are to be included in a recommendation paper.

The AGYI supports the process through the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)in Addis Ababa. In March of this year, the AGYI team at GIZ held a workshop on the development of open source software. The new software will be used to optimise the management of volunteers within the respective programmes. The further development of the online tool for better networking of voluntary services throughout Africa is also being closely supported, for example at a workshop at which the progress of the volunteer management system was presented and discussed.

Creation of a national platform for voluntary services by Réseau AGYI Bénin

The Réseau AGYI Bénin wants to establish a national platform for organisations active an voluntary service and exchange. Photo: Réseau AGYI Bénin
In the first half of 2019, the Beninese Office for Youth Voluntary Services (Office Béninois des Services de Volontariat des Jeunes, OBSVJ) began to record the voluntary service institutions in Benin as part of its efforts to promote quality. The next step for the Beninese network is to create a qualification system for organisations active in Benin in the field of voluntary services and international exchange programmes.

For this purpose the OBSVJ organised a workshop together with the GIZ, which took place from 26 to 27 June 2019 in Bohicon, Benin. The around 80 participants of the event focussed primarily on the analysis of reporting. Building on this, the participants discussed the possibility of setting up a quality management system that could improve the dissemination of data and the work of the voluntary service organisations. Furthermore, the establishment of a national platform for voluntary service organisations was considered and ideas were discussed. The discussion was based on the presentations from the individual working groups of the workshop. The results of the working groups were jointly reflected upon and explored in greater depth. The cooperation in the workshop resulted in the decisions to establish a national platform and to award the organisations active in voluntary service and international exchange with a quality seal for civil society organisations recognised in Benin.

Living partnership  a field report

The topics diversity, conflict management and antiracism are paramount in the seminars of the ASA Programme. Photo: Sarah Böger
For many years, the civil society organisation CREDI-ONG has been offering a project for European participants in the framework of the Global Learning and Education Network (GLEN) in Benin, West Africa. The ASA programme of Engagement Global is one of nine members of the network.

The European teams of participants create environmental education projects together with a Beninese trainee. All participants contribute their different experiences and perspectives to the project implementation and reflect together on the process as a team, enabling them to learn with and from each other.  As a result of this cooperation, two representatives of CREDI-ONG from Benin together with representatives from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, and Poland took over the educational support at the ASA 2018 seminars in Europe.

Martial Kouderin and Modeste Hodonou from CREDI-ONG report in their presentation on their experiences as tutors at the seminars in Europe and how they became learners themselves. Kouderin also reports that sustainable synergies have arisen from these encounters.

Be brave and include others

Inclusion in voluntary work and youth exchange. Photo: Engagement Global/Simon Veith
The AGYI Benin network is convinced that youth and voluntary work, especially at international level, is not only an opportunity to offer young people access opportunities, but above all a chance to tap into their potential to actively shape their societies. Youth and voluntary work should therefore be promoted as an instrument of social integration for and by young people. In all measures, particular attention should be paid to ensuring that all young people participate in the exchanges on an equal footing - irrespective of their economic, social and ethnic origin, gender, education or physical impairment.

This vision is increasingly being incorporated into the discourse and practical implementation of voluntary services and international youth exchanges. The thematic group of "Inclusion" of the Benin AGYI network will execute this vision for the first time in the format of a three-day international youth conference, which is to be held in Cotonou from 2 to 4 October 2019. Invited are civil society stakeholders, political representatives from national ministries such as the Ministry of Social Affairs and Microfinance, decision-makers from industry as well as interested individuals from the African continent and from Germany.

The aims of the conference include:
  o Definition: What does the term "inclusion" mean and what does it                  encompass?
  o Exchange of experience and international comparison on inclusion in
  o Educating and sensitising people about inclusion and identifying appropri
     ate measures towards the same.
  o Strategy development for the Benin AGYI network:
      • Define mechanisms to implement the identified goals towards more                 inclusion
      • Discuss Roadmap to the end of 2020
Interested individuals from Germany can still register to attend the conference in Cotonou, Benin. Individual invitations will follow a successful selection for participation by the Beninese selection committee.
If you are interested, please send an e-mail to:

Expanding perspectives globally in Cologne

How do cultural education, international youth work and development education relate to global learning and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals? How do they position themselves towards Global Learning? The German Federation of Arts Education and Cultural Learning (BKJ) intends to pursue these questions and is organising the conference "Expanding Perspectives Globally" on 30 and 31 October 2019 in Cologne. As a strategic partner of the AGYI within the framework of the funding line weltwärts extracurricular exchange projects in the context of Agenda 2030, those involved in cultural education for children and young people have the opportunity to integrate ideas, formats and methods from these three educational approaches in practice for the first time in this context. The conference will therefore also focus on experiences and information relating to this exchange programme.


German-African partner conference on sports

The Sustainable Development Goals also play a role in youth exchange in sport. Photo: dsj
As the AGYI's second strategic partner, the German Sports Youth (Deutsche Sportjugend, dsj) is instrumental in enlisting new groups of actors from the extracurricular sector for African-German youth exchange. From 20 to 23 November 2019 the dsj is organising the second African-German partner conference to establish new partnerships between African and German sports organisations.
The event offers decision-makers and active members from African and German clubs and associations the opportunity to make first personal contacts with potential partners. Existing partnerships can also use the conference to consolidate their cooperations. In addition to personal encounters, the focus will be on a content-related discussion of Agenda 2030 and how partnership-based cooperations can be shaped in an international context. Expectations and objectives can be discussed and initial project ideas can be exchanged. In addition, there will be a cultural programm to acquaint participants with Germany.

Registration for the event is possible until 25 September 2019.

If you are still looking for a suitable partner in African countries or Germany, the dsj will be happy to support you. Please use the following online form to find a partner. 
If you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact the dsj staff: 
Matthias Frosch
Tel: +49 (0)69- 67 00 253
Daniela Grabeleu
Tel: +49 (0)69- 67 00 341

Countdown 2030? – Of course!

Conference planning has been carried out in virtual rooms Photo: bridge-it
20 young people from Benin, Burkina Faso, Germany, Cameroon, Malawi and South Africa are preparing the international youth conference "Countdown 2030 - Our Common Future" which will take place from 2 to 6 December 2019 in Cologne. The young people have organised in three regional organisation teams: Team Germany, Team Western & Central Africa and the Southern African Team. Since the spring of 2019, they have been carrying out the conference planning in online virtual rooms. However, they do not only engage online: The regional youth organisation teams also meet in real life, most recently Team Germany from 5 to 7 July 2019 in Berlin. Since the beginning of the year, the eight members of Team Germany have been working on the topics of the UN sustainability goals, systemic thinking and inclusive conference management. The question that now remains is how to put what they’ve learned into practice in preparation for the "Countdown 2030" conference – a challenging task.

In Berlin, the feedback on the concept of the conference by Team Germany to Team West & Central Africa and Team Southern Africa took place via a virtual meeting. The topics were discussed without a hitch with the support of two interpreters. In addition, the Berlin association bridge-it!e.V. was always on hand to give advice to the young people. The current state of preparation of all national teams was discussed in the virtual meeting. A joint timetable was also agreed. There is still a lot to do in Benin, Burkina Faso, Germany, Cameroon, Malawi and South Africa until the next virtual meeting. At the end of November, a few days before the start of the conference, a total of 20 young people from the regional organisation teams will meet for the first time in Cologne to start the "Countdown 2030" together. The conference programme will be published in early September.

The African-German Youth Initiative

The African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI) promotes the exchange between young people from Germany and African countries, both quantitatively and qualitatively. In a dialogue-orientied, participative and cooperative manner, the Initiative builds on what already exists. It aims to strengthen civil society in order to establish a structure for equal partnerships between Germany and African countires. AGYI has been set out under instruction from the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ - Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) and the African Union Comission. Engagement Global coordinates the Initiative.


Engagement Global gGmbH
AGYI - African-German Youth Initiative

Telephone: +49 30 25482 110 | Fax: +49 30 254 82 359



Service für Entwicklungsinitiativen

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The headquarters of the organisation are located in: Bonn
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Responsible for the content: Ulrike Mann
Editors: Peris Wanjiru Njehiah, Ulrike Mann

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