There is a general perception of passive youth among the general public, which is not based on real data. With regards to social engagement, it has been noted that only 16% of young people are involved in volunteer activities in Albania. The curricula in schools lack this type of activities and do not develop youngsters’ soft skills, which are very necessary in the current labour market.
The main challenges for youngsters and youth organizations today are the lack of financial support and lack of information on these funding opportunities for youth and youth activities (Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, 2015). On the other hand, youngsters do not have a medium, where to raise the voice for issues concerning their community and their peers. The exclusion of youngsters from decision making and the likelihood to be unemployed contribute to an increasing number of youngsters who leave the country or their city. Considering the need for increased social and political participation of youth in particular at local level, PA presents the following project proposal that is designed to address youth activism in decision making, and strengthen the relation between youth and local communities.
The proposal consists in organizing youth camps in different cities of Albania, where youngsters will be mentored to develop their own grass-roots initiatives in their communities. The best project ideas will be awarded giving the opportunity to these youngsters to put their ideas in practice. All the success stories will be promoted through “Youth Speak Out” event, a TedX format for youth.
The goal of the project is to create a movement of youth across different cities in Albania through educating youngsters with the sense of voluntarism, activism and responsibility, as well as strengthen the relations between youth and local communities for a stronger democracy.
Improved skills and capacities of youngsters in problem identification, team building, project proposal writing, fundraising and project implementation;
Enhanced understanding of youngsters on local democracy, community issues; accountability;
Increased networking and exchanges of success stories and role models from youngsters to youngsters and other stakeholders at local level;
Implemented grassroots initiatives by youngsters at local level in 3 different cities each year;
The projected methods of implementation grouped the activities into two work packages, whereby each work package entails a set of activities whose results’ synergetic effects will produce the expected results and achievement of the specific objectives of the action. The methodology of the project applies a logical sequence of methods, just as the results are sequenced. The action intends to take the necessary steps towards increased skills and better understanding of youngsters in problem identification in their city, team building, resource mapping, project proposal writing, elevator pitch development, fundraising methods, project implementation and local democracy; providing some seed funding to enable the implementation of these grassroots initiatives developed by youngsters; promote the success stories and role models of activism in local communities to other youngsters, local decision makers and general public.
Hence, the methods for implementation are as follows:
Work package 1: Youth Camps: Through a combination of information sessions in high schools, three days of mentoring, continuous coaching, illustration of similar examples in other countries and coordination with an assigned teacher will help youngsters to identify the problems in their local communities, develop project proposals, explore fundraising options, improve their understanding on local democracy, accountability, responsibility. Through seed funding support and fundraising options, these youngsters will implement their grass-roots initiatives.
Work package 2: Youth Speak Out will be used to give voice to youngsters and to promote their activism, their initiatives and create some role models for youth from youth. Following the youth camps, they will have the opportunity to share their success stories in front of a wide audience ranging across local decision makers, MPs, city council’ members, youth councils in the format of a TEDx event. Videos of these success stories will be widespread to the general public.
The project is planned to be implemented during four years through the following activities:
Firstly, the project aims to organize two youth camps in three cities of Albania per year. Each year, the project will intend to cover different cities.
PA will conduct information sessions in high schools to explain the youth camp process. In each city, the youth camps will be organized in two different high schools. In each high school, a teacher will be assigned, usually those who are responsible for extracurricular projects, serving as a contact point and connecting us with the youngsters during the whole phases of the process.
Each youth camp composed by around 20 youngsters will consist in three days, where youngsters will be trained to develop their grassroots initiatives. They will be trained related to: problem identification in their city, team building, resource mapping, project proposal writing, and elevator pitch development, funding opportunities for youth, fundraising methods, and project implementation. After 3 days of youth camps, youngsters will take time to work on their project ideas and its budget with the assistance of Partners’ Albania trainers and the supervision of the assigned teacher.
During one day, each group participant of the youth camp will present the ideas in the premises of their high school, and the best idea will be selected to be awarded. Basically, two ideas will be selected from each city. The selection of the ideas will be conducted by youngsters themselves. Each group part of youth camp cannot vote for their idea, but they have the right to vote for one of the other groups.
The winning project idea in each city will be awarded 100.000 ALL. The winning group must secure additional 20% of the awarded amount, but no necessarily in cash. It can be in goods or services. This condition aims to encourage youngsters to be proactive and approach local businesses, as well as enhance their fundraising skills.
It is foreseen that about 500 youngsters will participate in 24 youth camps organized by Partners Albania during 4 years.
Youth Camp = 3 days of training + 1-day elevator pitch and competition
4 Years = 12 Cities = 24 High Schools = 24 implemented projects
Youth Speak Out
In the end of each year, the project has provisioned a “Youth SPEAK”, based on the TEDx format. This gathering will take place in one of the cities, where the youth camp will be organized in the next year. The purpose of the gathering is to involve not only youngsters, but also decision makers such as MPs, mayors, city council’ members, youth councils.
Youngsters representing the implemented projects will share their success stories in front of the audience. Beside the onsite event, videos of youngsters pitching their success stories will be streamlined and shared in social media, YouTube. The purpose of this format is to give voice to youngsters and to promote their activism, projects and create some role models for youth from youth. It is foreseen that about 300 people will participate in these on-site events. Youngsters all over Albania will be reached through promotion of videos in social media and You Tube.
In the end of four years, a closing “Youth Speak” event will take place and will feature 24 implemented local initiatives promoting all the work conducted in these four years.
The direct beneficiaries are about 500 youngsters, who will enhance their skills and capacities in fundraising, project writing and implementation. Indirectly, a multiplied number of youngsters all over Albania will increase their awareness in the matter through social media promotion and videos.
The final beneficiaries are the local communities along with local decision makers, who will benefit from concrete initiatives that will solve different issues concerning their areas.
This project proposal derives from the previous project of Partners Albania “Strengthening CSOs for effective inclusiveness and participation in policy-making and decision-making” supported by Leviz Albania, where democracy camps were one of the most effective components. It was noted a significant need of these youngsters to improve their capacities towards local democracy, project writing and implementation. Thus, this action is a further initiative, which will enhance youngsters’ skills in the matter and will give them the opportunity to implement their grassroots initiatives at local level.
The expected results from this project proposal are:
Enhanced skills and capacities of 500 youngsters related to project writing and implementation, fundraising, pitch development through 24 youth camps organized across the country;
- Enhanced understanding of 500 youngsters related to in depth issues of local governments;
- 24 supported projects developed and implemented by groups of youngsters;
- 300 young people, local decision makers, MPs, city councils’ members’ part of “Youth Speak” event.
This project will ensure the creation of engagement model and youth mobilization at local level. These grass-roots initiatives will strengthen the relation between youth and local communities, as well as will educate youth to make decision makers accountable. The project will help Leviz Albania to reach out youth audience. On the other hand, it will pave the way for the engagement of youth as future formalized groups or youth CSOs. In the end, the project ensures the participation of young people in local decision making and enable activism among youngsters.
The main assumption during and after the implementation of the project is that that no political, economic, social or other type of event will emerge that is so overwhelming over a lasting period of time, that would prevent the achievement of the objectives and the expected impact from the project.
Anyway, some potential risks that could hamper the continuity of the project are:
- Lack of interest from youngsters to be involved in this project;
- Delays to take the permission from the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth in order to conduct information sessions and other activities in the premises of high schools;
- Delays in the implementation of all developed projects by youth groups.
The capacities of Partners Albania in these types of projects and the wide networking at national and local level with civil society organisations and local government units are strong preconditions for the prevention of these potential risks. On the other hand, the coordination with a teacher in each high school can facilitate the process of developing projects and the contact with the youngsters.
The project has been planned keeping strongly in mind the need to guarantee its sustainability after the implementation, through the dissemination of project results to as many local stakeholders as possible. Partners Albania will continue to give them the necessary support to register as formal NGOs if they express the willingness to continue their initiatives. In the future, these groups could be potential applicants to the future calls of Leviz Albania, which could strengthen their financial sustainability.
As part of Partners’ Albania programs, they will be assisted to explore other forms of funding such as grants, crowd funding platforms, etc. As well, they will have the support to be exposed toward different national and international platforms and networks such as Youth Bank International, which supports the development of new YouthBanks and enhance the capacity of country-wide networks. It is a knowledge hub that provides access to information, materials, advice, networking contacts, opportunities to participate in seminars and conferences for youngsters.