Before the OFCI

Confronted with various problems related to education, youth and employment, Youri Bergoug from Roubaix decided to join the Youth Council of the town of Tourcoing where he studied. There, he first discovered project management and work in the service of the general interest.

-2012-

September 2012 – Creation of AFCI

Disappointed by the administrative rigour and political limitations of a Municipal Youth Council, Youri Bergoug decided to co-found the AFCI, the Association Française de la Coopération Internationale. Co-founded with his father Abdelkader Bergoug, the association in its willingness to open up to the world is destined to expand to many other members later on. However, as the internet domain AFCI.FR is already in use, the association decides to rename itself OFCI for Organisation Française de la Coopération Internationale.

December 2012 – First International Project

Less than 3 months after its creation, the OFCI is already flying off to its first international project in the Gaza Strip in Palestine. As the small enclave besieged by the Israeli army has just experienced a terrible week of war, many people from Roubaix are collecting donations to support the Gazans in this ordeal. A report on our journey was filmed during our stay and then shown in several theatres in the Lille region.

-2013-

Discovery of the Youth in Action Programme

When Farid Baouali, a friend met within the framework of the Youth Council of Tourcoing and later administrator of the OFCI, Informed of the existence of the European network SALTO the association decided to register in the database of the network. Thereafter, the first requests for partnership from other countries quickly landed in our mailbox. At the time, the programme was called « Youth in Action » and later it became Erasmus+

August 2013 – First participation in a « Youth in Action » project

Invited by the Brussels association « SVI » to join a Franco-Belgian group to go to the Czech Republic, Youri Bergoug was able to discover the forerunner of the Erasmus+ programme through a project based on interculturality which immersed him for more than a week in the Moravian countryside to meet young people from Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Italy and Spain. In the following years new projects would be co-organised directly with the OFCI.

November 2013 – First « Youth in Action » Project with the OFCI

In the meantime, the OFCI had signed one of its first partnership mandates with the B-Right Media association. With the financial support of the European Union, the OFCI was finally able to fully participate in its first ever European youth project all by itself.

-2014-

Transition to the Erasmus+ programme

The « Youth in Action » programme, which started in 2007, would end in 2014 to make way for the Erasmus+ programme. This one concentrates all the educational programmes for European and international mobility funded by the European Commission. Like its predecessor, it will last 7 years, giving way in 2021 to a new programme with new opportunities and a new way of operating.

September 2014 – Working with Lebanon

The 2013 Coup d’Etat in Egypt precipitated the area into a major crisis and the Gaza Strip found itself under complete siege. Work with Gazans is almost totally compromised with the closure of the border between Egypt and the Palestinian enclave. The return of the dictatorship in Egypt with the violent seizure of power by Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi forces us to review our strategy of support for the Palestinian cause. On the advice of Palmed Europe, we decide to shift our efforts to the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. A first prospecting mission brings the equivalent of 60’000 € of paramedical equipment before taking off in September 2014 to meet the different political, associative, hospital and economic actors of life on the spot. Despite the absence of new field activities in Gaza, we maintain regular contacts with the Palestinians of the enclave.

December 2014 – The New Office and Arrival of the first Civic Services

In 2013, a request for a location is sent to the « Socialist » municipality of Roubaix in order to be able to have a headquarter to welcome our members, trainees and volunteers. Our request remained unanswered but is better considered by the new « Liberal » team that takes place following the elections of March 2014. It is finally in December 2014 that the OFCI officially signs the lease for an 18m² office. Despite the hard work of the OFCI and the many contacts with the municipal team, the requests for subventions, which we were legitimate to receive, would all be refused.

With the occupation of the new office, we sign an agreement with Animafac for the first civic services that will join the permanent team of the OFCI: Ludmila Ursu and Nassim Daci for a six-month mission.

-2015-

March 2015 – Meeting with the YES association

During a youth formation on the environment in Turkey, a small group of the OFCI meets for the first time with members of the YES association. Soon strong bonds of friendship and a real willingness to develop international projects develop between us. Furthermore, invited by YES to participate in a « Youth Meeting » in Costinesti, we go to Romania to strengthen our ties and to observe the working methods of the YES association. A partnership is then set up to ask the European Commission to finance a stay in Reunion Island, France for 46 young Europeans around the issue of recycling.

-2016-

January 2016 – Arrival of the first Erasmus+ trainee

Kasia Galant, then a Civic Service volunteer at the OFCI, presents the Erasmus+ Traineeship programme. This program should allow the OFCI to receive trainees financed by the European Commission who come to be trained in the methods and tools of the association as well as to support our activity. In January 2016, we welcome Alessandro Zambetti, our first Erasmus+ trainee for a mission of 3 months. Since 2016, we have therefore had the incredible opportunity to welcome in Roubaix and cooperate daily with more than 35 trainees from more than 15 different countries.

January 2016 -Organisation of the project in Reunion Island

Forced by the lack of consideration of the City of Roubaix, we have to seek for funding elsewhere. We decide with the association YES to apply for Erasmus+ funds from the European Commission. In September 2015, the sum of 53’000 € is successfully released to organize a “Youth Exchange” in the Reunion Island with 46 young Europeans including 9 French. This project will take place over 11 days between January and February and will allow the OFCI to further develop its expertise on youth, education and intercultural issues.

June 2016 – First OFCI Employee

While other structures can profit from receiving subventions from Roubaix City Council in addition to receiving colossal sums through other funding, the OFCI must tighten its belt and survive on the contributions of its members.

Despite the size of the European subsidy received for the project in Reunion Island, the significant expenses of such an ambitious project are greater than the first down payment and the balance would not be evened out until more than a year later. However, the dynamic development of the association continued and the OFCI was looking for solutions to recruit an employee. Hence, the OFCI decides to make use of a Contrat d’Avenir supported by the State to ensure the financial stability of the association. Due to his active voluntary involvement and the eligibility criteria of the Contrat d’Avenir, Youri Bergoug is recruited internally by the Board of Directors for a full-time position.

Other Projects financed in 2016 and 2017

With the Cypriot association « Citizens in Power » and in partnership with ten other European associations, the OFCI successfully submits to the European Commission 3 other Erasmus+ projects in which more than 100 young Europeans take part between August 2016 and April 2017. These 3 « Youth Training » projects focused on entrepreneurship, will confirm the versatile nature of the OFCI, an association fully capable of working on any subject. These trainings took place in different cities in France (Roubaix, Toulouse) as well as in the French Overseas Territories and they are proof, that  the OFCI’s is capable of decentralizing its activities and maintaining logistical efficiency regardless of any geographical constraints.

-2018-

In 2018, we continued to grow in strength with a very large number of partnerships leading to our participation in 19 Erasmus+ projects, i.e. almost 2 international projects per month!

-Today-

The OFCI is constantly evolving, drawing daily nourishment from international meetings. The next page in the history of the OFCI is yours to write!

Before the OFCI

Confronted with various problems related to education, youth and employment, Youri Bergoug from Roubaix decided to join the Youth Council of the town of Tourcoing where he studied. There, he first discovered project management and work in the service of the general interest.

-2012-

September 2012 – Creation of AFCI

Disappointed by the administrative rigour and political limitations of a Municipal Youth Council, Youri Bergoug decided to co-found the AFCI, the Association Française de la Coopération Internationale. Co-founded with his father Abdelkader Bergoug, the association in its willingness to open up to the world is destined to expand to many other members later on. However, as the internet domain AFCI.FR is already in use, the association decides to rename itself OFCI for Organisation Française de la Coopération Internationale.

December 2012 – First International Project

Less than 3 months after its creation, the OFCI is already flying off to its first international project in the Gaza Strip in Palestine. As the small enclave besieged by the Israeli army has just experienced a terrible week of war, many people from Roubaix are collecting donations to support the Gazans in this ordeal. A report on our journey was filmed during our stay and then shown in several theatres in the Lille region.

-2013-

Discovery of the Youth in Action Programme

When Farid Baouali, a friend met within the framework of the Youth Council of Tourcoing and later administrator of the OFCI, Informed of the existence of the European network SALTO the association decided to register in the database of the network. Thereafter, the first requests for partnership from other countries quickly landed in our mailbox. At the time, the programme was called « Youth in Action » and later it became Erasmus+

August 2013 – First participation in a « Youth in Action » project

Invited by the Brussels association « SVI » to join a Franco-Belgian group to go to the Czech Republic, Youri Bergoug was able to discover the forerunner of the Erasmus+ programme through a project based on interculturality which immersed him for more than a week in the Moravian countryside to meet young people from Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Italy and Spain. In the following years new projects would be co-organised directly with the OFCI.

November 2013 – First « Youth in Action » Project with the OFCI

In the meantime, the OFCI had signed one of its first partnership mandates with the B-Right Media association. With the financial support of the European Union, the OFCI was finally able to fully participate in its first ever European youth project all by itself.

-2014-

Transition to the Erasmus+ programme

The « Youth in Action » programme, which started in 2007, would end in 2014 to make way for the Erasmus+ programme. This one concentrates all the educational programmes for European and international mobility funded by the European Commission. Like its predecessor, it will last 7 years, giving way in 2021 to a new programme with new opportunities and a new way of operating.

September 2014 – Working with Lebanon

The 2013 Coup d’Etat in Egypt precipitated the area into a major crisis and the Gaza Strip found itself under complete siege. Work with Gazans is almost totally compromised with the closure of the border between Egypt and the Palestinian enclave. The return of the dictatorship in Egypt with the violent seizure of power by Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi forces us to review our strategy of support for the Palestinian cause. On the advice of Palmed Europe, we decide to shift our efforts to the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. A first prospecting mission brings the equivalent of 60’000 € of paramedical equipment before taking off in September 2014 to meet the different political, associative, hospital and economic actors of life on the spot. Despite the absence of new field activities in Gaza, we maintain regular contacts with the Palestinians of the enclave.

December 2014 – The New Office and Arrival of the first Civic Services

In 2013, a request for a location is sent to the « Socialist » municipality of Roubaix in order to be able to have a headquarter to welcome our members, trainees and volunteers. Our request remained unanswered but is better considered by the new « Liberal » team that takes place following the elections of March 2014. It is finally in December 2014 that the OFCI officially signs the lease for an 18m² office. Despite the hard work of the OFCI and the many contacts with the municipal team, the requests for subventions, which we were legitimate to receive, would all be refused.

With the occupation of the new office, we sign an agreement with Animafac for the first civic services that will join the permanent team of the OFCI: Ludmila Ursu and Nassim Daci for a six-month mission.

-2015-

March 2015 – Meeting with the YES association

During a youth formation on the environment in Turkey, a small group of the OFCI meets for the first time with members of the YES association. Soon strong bonds of friendship and a real willingness to develop international projects develop between us. Furthermore, invited by YES to participate in a « Youth Meeting » in Costinesti, we go to Romania to strengthen our ties and to observe the working methods of the YES association. A partnership is then set up to ask the European Commission to finance a stay in Reunion Island, France for 46 young Europeans around the issue of recycling.

-2016-

January 2016 – Arrival of the first Erasmus+ trainee

Kasia Galant, then a Civic Service volunteer at the OFCI, presents the Erasmus+ Traineeship programme. This program should allow the OFCI to receive trainees financed by the European Commission who come to be trained in the methods and tools of the association as well as to support our activity. In January 2016, we welcome Alessandro Zambetti, our first Erasmus+ trainee for a mission of 3 months. Since 2016, we have therefore had the incredible opportunity to welcome in Roubaix and cooperate daily with more than 35 trainees from more than 15 different countries.

January 2016 -Organisation of the project in Reunion Island

Forced by the lack of consideration of the City of Roubaix, we have to seek for funding elsewhere. We decide with the association YES to apply for Erasmus+ funds from the European Commission. In September 2015, the sum of 53’000 € is successfully released to organize a “Youth Exchange” in the Reunion Island with 46 young Europeans including 9 French. This project will take place over 11 days between January and February and will allow the OFCI to further develop its expertise on youth, education and intercultural issues.

June 2016 – First OFCI Employee

While other structures can profit from receiving subventions from Roubaix City Council in addition to receiving colossal sums through other funding, the OFCI must tighten its belt and survive on the contributions of its members.

Despite the size of the European subsidy received for the project in Reunion Island, the significant expenses of such an ambitious project are greater than the first down payment and the balance would not be evened out until more than a year later. However, the dynamic development of the association continued and the OFCI was looking for solutions to recruit an employee. Hence, the OFCI decides to make use of a Contrat d’Avenir supported by the State to ensure the financial stability of the association. Due to his active voluntary involvement and the eligibility criteria of the Contrat d’Avenir, Youri Bergoug is recruited internally by the Board of Directors for a full-time position.

Other Projects financed in 2016 and 2017

With the Cypriot association « Citizens in Power » and in partnership with ten other European associations, the OFCI successfully submits to the European Commission 3 other Erasmus+ projects in which more than 100 young Europeans take part between August 2016 and April 2017. These 3 « Youth Training » projects focused on entrepreneurship, will confirm the versatile nature of the OFCI, an association fully capable of working on any subject. These trainings took place in different cities in France (Roubaix, Toulouse) as well as in the French Overseas Territories and they are proof, that  the OFCI’s is capable of decentralizing its activities and maintaining logistical efficiency regardless of any geographical constraints.

-2018-

In 2018, we continued to grow in strength with a very large number of partnerships leading to our participation in 19 Erasmus+ projects, i.e. almost 2 international projects per month!

-Today-

The OFCI is constantly evolving, drawing daily nourishment from international meetings. The next page in the history of the OFCI is yours to write!