JRS Europe held its first joint in-person Advocacy and Communications taskforces meeting since 2019. Taking place in Brussels between January 30 and February 1st, the meeting gathered over 30 experts working in 15 European country offices, the regional office, and the international office to discuss ways to improve collaboration and maximize results when joining voices to defend refugee rights.
Claudia Bonamini, JRS Europe Policy and Advocacy Coordinator highlighted the continuous improvement of the work of the taskforce: “Last year’s Advocacy task force meeting was crucial to reconnect and rediscuss our way to collaborate. The consistency and commitment of the group allows us to build on the solid foundations we have and advance on more ambitious objectives and joint work”.
Meanwhile, Nalé Barbieri Pederiva, JRS Europe Communications Coordinator, underlined the importance of the communications taskforce in building capacities within the network: “Relaunching the communications taskforce is very helpful to advance in our joint projects, but perhaps the most valuable outcome is building communication capacities in the network. By learning from each other and sharing the knowledge, we are expanding our reach and our impact”.
Each task force had the opportunity to share the work, opportunities, and challenges at national, regional, and global levels. This discussion highlighted that while national contexts differ, there are lots of areas of possible common work. It also stressed the importance of aligning work on the three levels, particularly through knowledge sharing and collaboration. In this way, the impact can be maximized while reducing the effort and resources needed from each office.
While mostly working separately in parallel, the task forces joined for a plenary discussion on the upcoming European Parliament elections. Together all participants dialogued and brainstormed on a joint advocacy-driven communications campaign to be launched in April. The objective of this campaign will be to mobilize first-time European voters to keep in mind the impact of their vote on refugee rights. The campaign will be focused on common values and will be primarily short-form video-based, as it has proven to be the best channel to reach the target demographic.
Established in 2018, the Advocacy and Communications taskforces bring together officers from national country offices across Europe to coordinate common activities and increase the capacity of the network through training and mutual learning.