For the period 2013-2020 EFIL Startegic goal in Advocacy is to engage in overall advocacy of Intercultural Learning on the European level and lobby to remove structural obstacles to youth exchanges, meanwhile confirming and strengthening EFIL’s position as a key player in providing Intercultural Learning opportunities and ensuring EFIL’s involvement in strategic alliances of interest to the AFS core business.
The main focus of EFIL’s advocacy efforts is on Intercultural Learning and its links with the wider field of Global Education, with additional topics: Active Citizenship and Volunteering. Key strategy is to stay up to date with European developments in these fields and influence decisions in the interest of the Federation, through participation in public consultations, submitting positions on legal documents and contributing to the EU Structured Dialogue with young people on youth policy opened to European youth organisations since 2011. In order to be recognised as a relevant actor when influencing policy, EFIL links its activities with research (e.g. Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchanges), and submits papers for conferences and publications as evidence-based contributions to youth policy connected to Intercultural Learning.
More operational matters that create the right conditions for the former include recognition of study periods abroad, visa issues regarding youth mobility, recognition of non-formal learning and volunteering, providing funding for projects involving youth organisations.
EFIL takes part in several relevant stakeholder groups and platforms, and selectively networks with like-minded organisations to create strategic alliances and make sure its priorities are addressed at the appropriate level, this way influencing policy-making at European level and mainstreaming youth exchanges as a recognized best practice for Intercultural Learning. EFIL’s main external partners are the European Youth Forum (YFJ) and the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL).
Lobbying and networking further improves visibility, credibility and EFIL’s reputation within Europe, hereby profiling itself as a respected, professional organisation with much wanted expertise.
For an efficient follow-up, a support infrastructure is in place, including the European Pool of Representatives (EPOR), the group of national EFIL Advocay Liaison Persons, and the AFS EuroNet group (an initiative that connects AFS returnees based in Brussels and working in European institutions and other, to provide an additional link for EFIL with the European institutions).