How it started…
The story of YOUCA starts in 2005, when 3 inhabitants of Halle, a city in Flanders, meet each other while working for the NGO Diaconia in Brazil. When Daconia won the Norwegian Student Award in 2005, Bart, Ellen and Carine were introduced to the concept of Solidarity Action day through Operation Daywork in Norway. Immediately, they recognized the potential of organizing such an initiative in their hometown. They contacted the Belgian social entrepreneur Ewoud Monbaliu and thus the first edition of YOUCA (then stilled named Zuiddag) took place in Halle, one year later.
What started as a local event involving 8 schools and 500 participants soon turned into a quickly growing organisation with 5 full time employees organising an Action Day in 200 schools. YOUCA now only organises the Solidarity Action Day in Flanders and Brussels, but that might change in the future.
YOUCA (Youth for Change and Action) is an organisation for, by and with youth. We encourage youth to work for a sustainable and fair society. We do this by raising awareness about different important social challenges and by supporting social engagement. Within YOUCA, we also provide unique meetings with an impact on cultural, business and public life.
Our Solidarity Action Day
The third Thursday of October we organise the YOUCA Action Day, formerly Zuiddag (South Day). Since 2006 more than 15.000 pupils from Flanders and Brussels engage to work one day for a company, organisation, governmental institution or a private person. They donate the salary they earn – 50 EUR – on this day to youth projects worldwide.
YOUCA yearly supports one big youth project for €250.000 abroad and several projects in Belgium. Action Day participants elect the Belgian projects at our biggest event the VIP-day which annually takes place in September. A youth committee first selects certain projects which reach the requirements of YOUCA.
Also for the big projects a committee is responsible for the first selection. After an application is spread through the Belgian NGO federation and other channels, Belgian organisations can apply with their project partners. The selection committee checks whether the application reaches all YOUCA’s requirements. Every project which reaches the requirements, can be presented in front of the General Assembly of YOUCA in March. The General Assembly decides on the project which receives a fund of €250.000 which is spread over three to five years.
YOUCA’s best practice
YOUCA possesses online a job bank. All administration (e.g. insurances, payments, …) is being done on this job market. Every participant and employer is registered on the job bank. An employer can post jobs on the job bank where participants can apply for. But participants can also find new jobs on the job bank and register their employer. Teachers at the schools can see on the job bank if and where pupils found a job. Through the job bank, YOUCA also sees which employers already paid or still have to pay and how many pupils are still searching for a job. Through the statistics of the job bank YOUCA can evaluate its work daily, based on the previous years.