The advocacy trip of Don Bosco Tech Africa in Brussels

On 17 and 18 June, Fr Maximus Okoro, Director of Don Bosco Tech Africa, was welcomed in Brussels by Don Bosco International (DBI), the body that represents the Salesian Congregation within the institutions of the European Union (EU).

With the idea of strengthening joint advocacy actions between Africa and Europe, DBI organised a round of meetings with EU officers and civil society organisations in which Fr Okoro had the opportunity to present the mission of DBTech Africa, the Salesian investments in vocational education and training (VET), good practices in the field of social inclusion, youth employment, and empowerment of communities.

On Monday 17, Fr Okoro attended the High-level event of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA), an ideal occasion for networking with different European stakeholders.

Among the institutional meetings held we can mention those with H.E. Mgr. Noël Treanor and Monsignor John Baptist Itaruma – Apostolic Nunciature to the European Union, Ms Maria Lamin and Mr Rok Kozelj – European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms Claire Herrmann – European Commission (DG EAC), Ms Esther Montiel Cortes – European Commission (EACEA).

During these meetings with EU officers, Fr Okoro also presented the results of the SAAM (“Supporting Alliance for African Mobility”) Erasmus+ pilot project, showing the experience of the Salesian VET centres. A special interest was raised by the positive professional, pedagogical, and human impact of the project mobilities on students and teachers.

At the same time, a meeting with different Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) took place at the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) with the aim of enriching the ongoing dialogue on the EU-Africa partnership. Many interesting insights were raised on interfaith dialogue, the impact of religious organizations on local communities, safeguarding and child protection, programs to empower girls and women, and the development of EU-funded projects in Africa.

For both DB Tech Africa and DBI, this trip raised awareness about the potential of structuring a common advocacy strategy, enabling the Salesian family to influence EU mobility schemes and partnership policies between the two continents.

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