Conference: Knowledge shared by a network of social street workers

Conference: International Pilot Group Meeting Organized by Dynamo International /Street Workers Network

The Network: The international Network is a network of social street workers, now represented by 48 countries around the world. It consist of four regions – Europe, Africa, America and Asia.

Involvement of Virlanie: Virlanie, as representative from the Philippines, is a member of the pilot group since the Network’s creation in 2002. It has to be noted that in Asia, only three countries are represented in the Network – Philippines, Vietnam, and Nepal.

This year’s meeting took place in Bucharest, Romania from October 7-11, 2013. It focused on the discussion on the Network’s future and strategic directions. An in-depth discussion was made on the modification of the Charter of the Network, planning for the different regions, discussion on the encounters with the social street workers and stakeholders in Bucharest, viewing and selection of the winners in the competition of short films of those NGOs working in the field of street work in European countries, funding concerns, and discussion on the venue of the next pilot group meetings.

Dynamo International also distributed the 2012 Network publication on social marketing and the role of group action in street work.

There were small group discussion on the realities of each country in the different regions and as per Philippines’ experience, situation of street educators are much better compared to other countries in terms of social protection and cooperation from the people in the streets. But of course, realities of the beneficiaries from one country to another differs from each other.

In terms of regional plan particularly for the Asian region, it was discussed that there was a need to strengthen the membership and participation of the Asian countries since only three countries were represented. It was proposed that existing NGOs who are into street work must be contacted and a regional meeting be organized to have a dialogue and to introduce the International Network. It can also be a training program wherein Asian region can tie up with the Training Institute based in Lisbon. But course funding would always be a concern for this event. Although this is something to consider with Philippines and Vietnam as the organizer and initiator.

Proposed Venue for next year’s October 2014 pilot group meeting is Bolivia, but since a lot of the pilot group members are reacting in terms of the travel expenses, final decision will be done by end of February 2014.

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