On 6 and 7 September 2021, over 70 members of the FEAD Community virtually came together to participate in the Thematic Seminar on “Monitoring and outreach of FEAD-funded measures for the most deprived people”.
Hosted by Estonia, the event offered the opportunity for a diverse set of stakeholders – representatives from the European Commission, Managing Authorities, Partner Organisations directly involved in the implementation of the FEAD, independent experts, and other civil society organisations – to connect, extend their knowledge, exchange experiences, distil common problems, and elaborate on measures to tackle them.
On the one hand, the items on the agenda included interactive panel discussions with Managing Authorities, experts, and Partner Organisations, including the participation of Piet Boerefijn from Toidupank, and an introduction to the features and use of the Open Data Portal for European Structural and Investment Funds, which offers an extensive bandwidth of quantitative data on the EU and national level. One the other hand, participants had the chance to take part in working groups to discuss methods, challenges and opportunities for monitoring and evaluating the impact on FEAD measures on the target groups and end recipients, as well as for outreach practices. Key issues mentioned entailed the lack of resources on the provision side and the reluctancy and/or unknowingness on the reception side. However, the engagement and training of volunteers being local experts and a closer cooperation between Managing Authorities and Partner Organisations were considered as having a high potential to surmount identified hurdles.
Finally, the European Commission shared an outlook to the transition from the FEAD into the EFS+. Although not being a simple process involving changes regarding operational rules and objectives, it is regarded a chance to promote a stronger social inclusion.
Acknowledging that there can be no one-size-fits-all solution for all Member States and Partner Organisations in the field, the two-days Thematic Seminar ended with a call to continue mutual learning activities and strive for the achievement of the FEAD’s main goal: the alleviation of the worst forms of poverty.