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International civil society

Reaching out to young people

by Sheila Mysorekar

In brief

Engagement Global: http://www.engagement-global.de/homepage.html

Engagement Global: http://www.engagement-global.de/homepage.html

Engagement Global supports non-governmental initiatives and raises public awareness for development issues. The agency also networks German municipalities with partners around the world.

Climate change in Central America and drinking water in Africa are among the topics Engagement Global has been dealing with for two years. The agency was established by Germany’s Federal Government in 2012. It offers non-governmental organisations a host of services, for instance by training volunteers before they join projects abroad. The division called Bengo advises NGOs on how to apply for public funding. D+C/E+Z is published on behalf of Engagement Global.

According to the recently published annual report, Engagement Global had a budget of about € 206 million last year, of which almost € 203 million were contributed by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Raising awareness for development concerns among young people is considered especially important. The Engagement Global programme Bildung trifft Entwicklungspolitik sends experts from all over the world to schools where they deliver lectures, host seminars or organise competitions. In 2013, there were 3000 events of this kind. Another educational Engagement Global programme is ASA. It allows students to spend time working for projects in foreign countries. The volunteer service weltwärts similarly gives young Germans opportunities to spend up to one year working for a partner organisation in a developing country or an emerging market. In 2013, about 3400 persons took part in weltwärts.

Engagement Global relaunched its website last year. There now is an English-language site too (http://www.engagement-global.de/homepage.html). Facebook and Twitter are used for networking.

Municipal partnerships are another cause Engagement Global supports. The mission of its Service Agency Communities in One World is to give municipal authorities from all over the world access to the expertise of Germany’s municipal governments (see previous article). Relevant topics include traffic infrastructure, waste disposal or utility management. The Service Agency supports municipal governments that wish to twin with foreign municipalities. Among other things, climate partnerships are promoted in this context (see D+C/E+Z 2014/03, p. 108 ff. and D+C/E+Z 2014/05, p. 198 ff.). Last year, Engagement Global emphasised the role of migrants in this context. Often, they are excellent bridge builders, thanks to their understanding of different cultures.

Sheila Mysorekar