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Protest Against the German Government’s Plans to Cut Funding

The International Association for Education and Exchange (IBB e.V.) sharply criticises the German government’s plans to cut funding for youth work, voluntary services, sports, extracurricular education and other services by one fifth. The Dortmund-based non-profit organisation is calling for people to take part in the Germany-wide rally on 20 September in Berlin.

On Wednesday, 20 September, the Bundestag Committee for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth will discuss the cuts to the Federal Child and Youth Plan (KJP). The government’s draft for the 2024 federal budget provides for cuts of 44.6 million euros (19 per cent) compared to the previous year.

Elke Wegener, managing director of IBB e.V., criticises the federal government’s plan: “Those who cut back on future opportunities for children and young people today will pay the price tomorrow. In our work, we experience the drastic positive effects of non-formal youth projects – especially for those whose parents cannot afford every commercial offer. The cutback plans strike the providers of youth work at a point when they have their backs to the wall: The enormous price increases already make it difficult to maintain services at all. At the same time, the needs of young people are particularly high in a time of multiple crises. In this situation, we actually have to talk about increasing the budgets, but not about cutting them!”

Among other things, the International Association for Education and Exchange uses funds from the Federal Child and Youth Plan (KJP) to support international youth projects. Within the framework of the programme Generation Europe – The Academy, IBB enables local project partners to form youth groups that get involved locally and network with partner groups from other countries – regardless of origin, parents’ income and previous success in the formal education system. The federal funds are used for training and networking offers, which are absolutely necessary for pedagogically sustainable youth work with diverse target groups. In addition, the Dortmund-based organisation uses KJP funds to support memorial site visits to places of learning about Nazi history in Germany and abroad.

Demonstration in Berlin – Symposium in Dortmund

A lack of skilled workers, overwork, underfunding and bureaucratic hurdles have characterised the field of youth work for years. The new cutback plans of the federal government are only part of the problems that organisations and the young people concerned are currently facing. “Professionals, young people, academia, administration and politics must network to analyse the challenges and jointly develop solutions,” says Elke Wegener. That’s why IBB is inviting to an international symposium in Dortmund, Germany. The symposium “Youth work in Europe – mission (im)possible?” will take place on 13 November 2023 in Dortmunder U – Centre for Art and Creativity. In addition to multipliers from various fields, youth work professionals and young people from ten European countries have already confirmed their participation.

The demonstration “Your decision will destroy millions of futures” against the cut in funding for the Federal Child and Youth Plan (KJP) will start on 20 September at 10:30 a.m. in Berlin at Washingtonplatz (Berlin Central Station). The route will lead through the Brandenburg Gate, past the Federal Ministry of Youth and the Federal Ministry of Finance to Potsdamer Platz. The initiators of the demonstration include the national umbrella organisations of child and youth work, among them the Federal Youth Ring (Bundesjugendring), the Association of German Educational Organizations (Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstätten, AdB), the German Federation for Arts Education and Cultural Learning (Bundesvereinigung Kulturelle Kinder- und Jugendbildung, BKJ) and the German Sports Youth (Deutsche Sportjugend, DSJ).