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


Date de début


Date de fin


Project budget

4 976 262

ERDF amount

2 985 757

ERDF rate


    À propos

    Common challenge

    VRAC aimed to reduce the risk of school delay and early school leaving for vulnerable children. Despite their efforts to comply with European and international recommendations (e.g. PISA 2015) contemporary educational systems still fail to break down social barriers, guarantee inclusive opportunities for social upward mobility and prepare vulnerable youngsters for qualitative employment. 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 the 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 successful school attainment. 
    This results in a lack of institutional support for cross-sectoral cooperation. Previous efforts to cooperate included relocating leisure activities within a school environment and hosting separate projects by third sector organizations. However, these initiatives were not interconnected, lacked a pipeline approach, and did not seem to have any durable effects. VRAC sought to develop a cross-sectoral service that strengthens school attainment.

    Main Achievements

    ‘It Takes a Village to Raise a Child’ (VRAC) was launched in 2019. Eight organisations from 4 different countries set out to achieve ambitious goals. The process was challenging, rich in learning and one which called for openness, collegiality, flexibility, pragmatism, and resilience, not least because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The key focus of the project is to support children and young people in their development and further create resilience as to their wellbeing. The lives of children and young people encompass various social environments: home, community, and leisure, and of course, school. These are separate worlds, and yet at the same time they influence each other. Based on this context, project partners presented the issue of school delay and early school leaving as a challenge. Given that one in 10 young people in Europe leave secondary school without completing their education, could they increase their chances of a successful school career by focusing broadly on these environments? The image of a village fitted this objective perfectly. Experiments were set up in six pilot areas, thus giving a voice to all stakeholders: professionals in education, wellbeing and leisure, policymakers, parents, as well as children and young people. In this shared space, it was important to support one another: no one should have to do it all alone.

    A cross border cooperation also offers the opportunity of looking at one self’s organisation from a different perspective and to improve ways of working, with the common threads being a shared vision, an integrated offer, participation, and co-creation. With similar objectives as the starting point, it is possible to undertake very diverse actions. There is no one unique answer it is not a copy paste method. Instead, it’s all about actions undertaken by people, in a specific context and subject to very specific challenges. Building a village takes time, but above all, it is a task that is never finished. It is only by cooperating with one another, by discussing and reaching agreements after listening to each other and by undertaking activities jointly, that the village is eventually created.


    “When a young person feels better and receives the care and necessary leisure opportunities he needs, this will have a positive impact on his studies.”



    Karel de Grote Hogeschool, Katholieke Hogeschool Antwerpen vzw

    East Sussex Community Voice


    Wattrelos Association of Community Centres

    SAAMO Provincie Antwerpen vzw

    MAP (Mancroft Advice Project)

    Gemeente Leiden


    Output title
    URL / Download


    Thème: Innovative social servicesIntegration and education

    Guidance on how to bring about transition from sectoral to integrated services enhancing school attainment

    Type: Strategy/action plan
    Target: Local, regional and national authorities


    Thème: Innovative social servicesIntegration and education

    Pilots of extended learning time (= formal and informal group activities) organised intersectorally by education, leisure, and socio-cultural sector

    Type: Pilot and demonstration action
    Target: Universities, research and training centres


    Thème: Innovative social servicesIntegration and education

    Pilots of integrated frontline wellbeing teams in vulnerable areas offering individual 'Wraparound' support to children�s needs

    Type: Pilot and demonstration action
    Target: Universities, research and training centres