I. What is the Platform Network?
Platform Network is an informal network for co-operation within the youth sector between regions, municipalities, countries in Europe, and was initiated in Luxembourg in 1986. Since then the Platform Network has every year been facilitating youth activities to fulfil the aims of youth mobility and the exchange of experiences.
Members are institutions or organisations within the youth sector that represent a country, a region or a local community. In principle there can be more than one member from a country, but not on overlapping levels of administration.
Honorary Members are people who are no longer representing a member institution or organisation but are still willing to cooperate within the Platform Network to fulfil its objectives.
The general assembly is the convention of the members. All members can be represented by up to three people, are equal and have one vote each. Decisions are taken by the consensus principle. Honorary members do not have the right to vote.
The secretary is one member in charge of the responsibility for organising the General Assembly, which changes annually.
The troika is built up of three members: the previous, the current and the following secretary.
The institutions and bodies of the Platform Network have different tasks and responsibilities, which are described in the following:
An institution or organisation has to be proposed and mentored by a member (godmother/ godfather) as a new member. With this nomination it becomes a new applicant for membership. By a decision of the general assembly new applicants become observers. After becoming active within the next three years the General Assembly can accept observers as members. A member becomes an observer again both if he does not participate in the General Assembly for three years and if he does not participate in any proposed activity for three years.
Honorary Membership may be offered to any person who has given outstanding performance to the Platform Network over a number of years and is no longer in employment, or has moved from employment, which entitled them to representative membership. They may be proposed by any member to the Secretary and voted on by members at General Assembly. If the Honorary Member does not attend a general assembly for five years she or he should be contacted to ascertain their wish to remain as an Honorary Member.
The General Meeting is the annual get-together of the members. Each member and observer is responsible to nominate at least one person to inform the General Assembly about activities in English. It is hosted by the Secretary and organized by the Troika. During the General Meeting the General Assembly is able to adopt decisions. The agenda of the General Assembly should contain:
- to decide about membership
- to decide about following secretaries
- to schedule important deadlines (for example for activity proposals, evaluation, registration)
- to make decisions about further proposals, suggestions or requests of members
The duty of the Secretary starts and ends with the calendar year (January 1st - December 31st). The secretary is responsible to:
- host and organise the Troika meeting in advance of the General Meeting
- write and publish a report of the Troika meeting
- host the General Assembly and organize the General Meeting
- prepare the evaluation of the Platform Network activities
- summarize the proposals for future Platform Network activities
- write and publish a report of the General Meeting
- follow up any actions that have been decided during the last General Assembly and have been published in the report
- distribute important information to the members and observers (for example via website, hard-copy or e-mail)
- take editorial care of the website
The Troika is appointed to ensure the continuity of the Platform Network. The Troika meets in advance of the General Meeting to:
- summarise suggestions, requests, proposals and open issues by the members
- prepare the programme for the General Meeting
- share experiences in organising the General Meeting within the Troika
- distribute important information early enough to all members via e-mail or via website
The background of all member organisations is different which means that objectives for activities can be widespread. Common objectives of the Platform Network are:
- to support youth mobility and intercultural learning
- to enable youth participation
- to create awareness of European citizenship
- to improve life-skills by informal and non-formal learning
- to promote own activities
- to find new partners
- to participate in proposed activities
- to build trusted and continuous partnerships
- to ensure quality standards for activities
- to enable a functioning communication
- to share experiences and good practices
- to lobby and make youth policy visible
A Platform Network Activity is an activity hosted by one member that engages at least one other partner from the network. Activities are the best possibility to fulfil the objectives of the Platform Network. There are different kind of activities, most of them to support youth mobility and intercultural learning, but of course to share experiences and good practices and others. The most common activities are defined and described.
A Youth Exchange
A youth exchange is an activity, which brings together groups of young people from two or more countries, providing them with an opportunity to discuss and confront various themes, whilst learning about each other’s countries and cultures.
Platform Network activities called youth exchanges are mostly financed by funds of the European Programmes.
A camp is a short stay as an international group in which free time activities, whether or not linked to a certain theme like sports or culture, are central. These activities are usually not funded by the European Programme.
A seminar is an activity where a group of people come together to share experiences of their work in youth projects and to develop their skills, for example in coaching or supervising young people or to improve trusted and continuous partnerships and quality standards for activities.
An activity called job-shadowing is in most cases a bilateral exchange between people responsible for youth work to share experiences and to improve partnerships.
European Voluntary Service (EVS)
EVS activities are in most cases individual volunteering opportunities organised and supported by the European Programme. EVS activities are promoted through the Platform Network, but are also open to non Platform Network members.