Keeping Hope Alive: JRS Europe and Country Directors reignite common purpose at the Regional Coordination Meeting
19 November 2021
On 16-17 November 2021 the bi-annual Regional Coordination Meeting (RCM) took place in Drongen, Belgium. JRS Europe and the Directors from JRS national offices attended to work on common goals to pursue our mission to serve, accompany and advocate refugees and forcibly displaced people in Europe. Following last year’s online RCM, all participants welcome the occasion to meet in person, in full respect of Covid safety rules.
“For the national directors and JRS Europe staff, the RCM is a very important time both to meet each other and to move forward on common projects. It’s a time for planning and evaluating shared programmes and activities, but it’s also a moment to share a common vision. Our approach is based on the experience of the refugees and displaced people with whom we walk, accompanied by the work carried out by our professionals and volunteers,” said JRS Europe director Alberto Ares.
Key point on the agenda was the drafting of a new Strategic Framework for the region for 2022-2024. Based on feedback on the previous framework, JRS Europe and country Directors had the chance to discuss the programmatic areas and work together to develop a coordinated strategy for the future, to effectively fulfil common goals.
The discussion also covered new challenges presented by the pandemic and best practises. “We agreed on the main lines of the Strategic Framework, the paths we want to walk together in the coming years. JRS Europe works towards a Europe where human rights, protection, hospitality, integration, and reconciliation all have a place to flourish within a larger vision for inclusive and welcoming societies. In every RCM we find time to celebrate and commemorate the people we serve,” said JRS Europe director Alberto Ares
JRS Europe also provided an update on the activities done at European level, including projects, funding, advocacy and communication.
Fundraising Coordinator Christopher Klotz showed a breakdown of current and pending funding from JRS donors. In terms of projects, JRS Europe is currently running several activities, including the Oak Foundation sponsored ‘Monitoring Detention’ and the school programme for awareness raising ‘Change’, and more will come next year.
Advocacy and Policy Coordinator Claudia Bonamini shared the latest updates on EU migration policies, which JRS Europe is involved in through advocacy efforts on the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum and participation in Frontex Consultative Forum.
All country Directors also had the opportunity to present the current context and activities in their countries. The presentations showed the diversity of JRS activities across Europe, always based on true understanding of local needs and ranging from detention monitoring, reception and psychosocial support, language learning, and more.
The two days allowed participants to reconnect with the network, to strengthen capacity across countries, share best practises and make use of each other’s support and capabilities.
“The most important thing of all was to meet again, to share our lights and shadows in this common work we all carry together, through the people we accompany, serve and advocate … to keep hope alive.” concluded JRS Europe director Alberto Ares.