It Takes a Village to Raise a Child | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

Priority Axis

Technological and Social Innovation

Specific objective

Social Innovation

Lead partner

City of Mechelen

Start Date


End Date


Project budget

4 976 262

ERDF amount

2 985 757

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    VRAC aims to reduce the risk of school delay and early school leaving for vulnerable children. As they cannot identify with the formal middle class education culture, vulnerable children and families lack a ‘sense of belonging’ in the education system. Parental involvement is low and education professionals do not have the skills nor tools to tackle these problems. If any, they perform stand-alone interventions aimed at particular aspects of children's lives.

    Schools are traditionally perceived by society as the predominant actor in succesful school attainment. This results in a lack of institutional support for cross-sectoral cooperation. Previous efforts to cooperate include relocating leisure activities within a school environment and hosting separate projects by third sector organizations. But these initiatives are not interconnected, lack a pipeline approach and do not seem to have any durable effects. VRAC will develop a crosssectoral service that strengthens school attainment.

    Main Achievements

    "It takes a village to raise a child" (VRAC) aims to reduce the risk of school delay and early school leaving for vulnerable children and young people. We strenghten the sense of belonging and wellbeing of children and families, we build an integrated service for strong learning environments, and we increase family involvement in children's education.

    2020 started with a clear and detailed plan for all pilots and the project as a whole. During the first partner meeting in February 2020, all partners were very much committed to the succesfull implementation of the project. However, the global pandemic altered in almost every way our plans. The consecutive lockdowns, different in each country, made it very difficult the allign activities. The partnership decided to develop and request a major modification, resulting in an extension of the deadline with 4 months. We anticipate that these extra months will help us to meet all the targets set in the original plan.

    In 2020 the partners in the consortium reacted creatively and agile to the new erratic situation. For example, PP1 and PP6 organised, between lockdowns, a Summer school using the VRAC principles, PP3 held a survey to be informed about the pressing needs of vulnerable young people, PP7 experimented with online methods to consult young people and their parents. We organised 3 partner meetings, with only the first one in real life (Antwerp). To have more intense contact to allign activities and to keep on focusing on the deliverables, working groups for each work package were established. These working groups meet regularly and are very much hands on. The partner meetings can in this way be more focused on co-learning and overarching themes.

    We also finalised the central registration system. Our knowledge partner (PP2) summarizes all the data to develop a thorough analysis of the pilot. With an adapted workplan, all partners are engaged to fully implementing the VRAC project.



    Karel de Grote Hogeschool

    East Sussex Community Voice


    Wattrelos Association of Community Centres

    Samenlevingsopbouw vzw

    MAP (Mancroft Advice Project)

    Gemeente Leiden