A-net youthforum is a Ngo located in a small municipality called Robertsfors in the north of Sweden. A-net has been working with international youth projects since 1998, and co-operate with the local youth centers. A-net has around 100 members and the leaders and coordinators work on a voluntary basis. With the youngsters, A-net arrange activities on the topic of equality, environment, anti-discrimination and life skill planning. The youth in action programme was an important tool for including youngsters in rural area in activities within the YiA programme. A-net host and send volunteers, take part and arrange youth exchanges, trainings and seminars and have participated in around 250 international projects. The target group is mainly youngsters between 14-20 years old.
Youth participation is important and therefore we involve the youngsters as much as possible in everything we do. A-net has organized and taken part in around 100 youth exchanges in Europe, Africa and South America since the start 1998. Youth leaders in A-net are the organizers and trainers during the training course. One of A-nets goals are to involve new young leaders so their always will have a core of young leaders with fresh ideas. A-net have regularly seminars and trainings how to hold and arrange youthexchanges.
Key methods: active participation of young people in the entire youth exchange process, project management, non-formal learning methods, safety and risk aspects, the role of the leaders, peer-leaders system, intercultural learning, Youthpass as a tool for self-assessment, presentation of the Erasmus+ and opportunities for creating youth exchanges together.
Once upon a time in a (cold) country called Sweden there was a youth centre called Arnold. The youth centre was located in Ånäset up in the far north part of the country in a small municipality called Robertsfors. Robertsfors only have 7000 inhabitants and it is located in a farming area.
Arnold was a popular place and many of the youngsters had it as a second home. The youth leaders worried about the growing xenophobia, racism and the drug problems in the region. They learned about youth exchanges and in 1998 Arnold participated in his first exchange.
The international work grew bigger and bigger, and Arnold felt lonely. In 2001 a group of young people started a new organisation as a platform for the international work. They named her A-net. Arnold was very interested in A-net and soon they married.
The young A-net was very enthusiastic and she worked hard and many were the youth exchanges she participated in. A-net also hosted and sent EVS volunteer and held contact meeting seminars.
The youth helped her a lot and they did a lot of voluntary work together. They helped her set up the rules for A-nets projects. Rule number one: All A-net projects are drug free.
A-net really put Ånäset and Robertsfors on the map. Her target group was young people between 14 – 20 years old. She works with all kind of young people, youth with disabilities, economic problems, ADHD and et cetera. A-net has a good relation with the schools and together they try to encourage youth they believe would have a lot to gain from youth exchanges to participate. Since 2005 A-net work together with the municipality of Robertsfors with a partnership program with Busia in Uganda.
During the years A-net has been involved in over 200 youth exchanges and met young people from more than 28 different countries.
Nowadays Arnold and A-net is still happily married and are planning to move to a new house.
Arnold will live on central plan and A-net will have the upper plan. In the new house they will share an office. The municipality of Robertsfors is very proud of A-net and Arnold and what they have accomplished together, and will therefore support them with their new house.
A-net has a long-term partnership with the village Busia, in Uganda. It all started when Tori Carlsson received an invitation from the Globetree, Stockholm, asking her to hold a speech in the United Nations headquarter in Nairobi, 2003. In this event, all countries with boundaries to Lake Victoria were represented together with swedish municipalities in order to participate in the opening ceremony of the United Nations fireplace
This was the beginning of many twinning projects between Sweden and the african countries Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The initial contact with Busia, Uganda, was made and two years later (2005) Tori travelled with five girls to Africa for another project. Their journey started in Nairobi to later, through travel by car, end up in Busia. Since then the cooperation between Robertsfors and Busia has been an on-going process with many visits in both cities. A-net applies for projects in Uganda together with Robertsfors municipality.
The environmental project “Make Busia Green” (2008-2010) offered 12 swedish youths with leader, to participate in the World Championship in Cooperation in Kampala, held by the Globetree in june 2008. They travelled together with one municipal councillor from Robertsfors.
In the same year (2008) 14 youths and one leader from Busia visited Robertsfors. This project was oriented towards the school and several of teacher exchanges have been carried out afterwards. Trees have been planted, environmental clubs created, ambassadors trained and schools have been environmentally certified using the “Environmental Flower”.
Next big project “Wake Up Call” (2011- 2013) was yet another project with the school as a partner. Thanks to “Wake Up Call”, a teaching aid in Life Skills and HIV/aids STD was developed and sex education made compulsory in Busia. In Robertsfors municipality HIV/aids education was added to the local curriculum. In 2014 A-net was granted the shorter broadening project “Sustainable Busia”, with the purpose of finding new ways for future cooperations. And the result? Submission of another project application.