France

The field trial in France

 

The Civic Service scheme, which celebrated its 5th anniversary in March, is in an intensive development phase. Following the tragic events that have shaken France earlier this year, the President of the Republic wished to strengthen national cohesion by proposing a universal Civic Service scheme. Any young person wishing to engage himself/herself in a Civic Service mission in France or abroad should therefore be able to do it regardless of his/her situation. The objective is to welcome 70,000 volunteers by the end of 2015.

 

IVO4ALL in France

The IVO4ALL project’s French experiment will enable to qualitatively support the development of Civic Service scheme missions abroad especially for young people who are furthest away from them. The experiment launched in France aims to send 100 young people over two years. It aims to create, test and evaluate more inclusive measures for young people distant from mobility. Recommendations will be eventually issued and should enhance the international Civic Service by equipping organizations and thus making it more accessible to all young people.

The target group of the experimentation are young NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) coming from sensitive geographical areas (sensitive urban zone and overseas) with few or no qualifications (A level or qualifications below A level baccalaureate) and / or recipient of minimum social benefits (Income of active solidarity or grant holders).

It will run on two phases of sending 50 young people in 2015 and 2016. The 6-month placements will take place internationally and in Europe and will cover all the themes of the Civic Service scheme (education, environment, culture, health, etc.).

 

The consortium in France 

The French consortium, made up of the Ministry of Urban policies, Youth and Sports, France Volontaires and Agency for Civic Service, has chosen to implement a participatory approach to facilitate the ownership of the project by youth and mobility stakeholders. Two bodies were established to contribute to the implementation of this experiment:

  • A national steering committee comprising youth and mobility strategic stakeholders has been set up. It provides policy guidance and monitors the proper implementation of the project.
  • A working group composed of organizations that responded to a call for expressions of interest. 12 organizations were selected to develop and test measures through sending volunteers abroad. Among them, NGOs or community education organizations, as well as a local authority and a “Mission locale” (office for young people integration). These organizations, all approved for the Civic Service scheme, reflect the variety of structures and their geographic diversity and offer a wealth of experimentation.

The working group met three times and has identified measures to:

  • Improve information for young people,
  • Adapt the selection procedure to avoid bias lead by practitioners,
  • Adapt the content of placements target audience (including combining courses in France and abroad for a period of 6 months),
  • Offer two-day pre-departure training,
  • Strengthen tutoring throughout the placement involving the receiving partners,
  • Follow up post placement.

Meetings of the steering committee and the working group have triggered an active and regular participation which demonstrates the interest of the participants concerning issues of accessibility of volunteering schemes.

The measures are being finalized (pooling of existing tools and capitalization of good practices) for the welcoming of the first volunteers in October 2015.

 

Author: Anne-Laure BARRES,  French Agency for Civic Service