BELGRADE – Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) signed contracts on Friday with twelve civil society organizations and high schools from Serbia that got the support to organize the first youth exchange programs within the RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals.
The representatives of the twelve organizations and high schools were addressed by Mr Darko Stanić, State Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sport, Ms Milica Škiljević, Youth Representative in the RYCO Governing Board and Ms Marija Bulat, RYCO Local Branch Officer in Serbia. The event took place in the premises of the Ministry.
Mr Stanić pointed out that RYCO gives an opportunity to young people to improve their personal and social skills, share experiences, learn from each other and initiate activities through partner project cooperation. He added that the sustainable and effective mechanism of the regional cooperation, based on mobility, sharing of ideas, peer to peer education and tolerance is an irreplaceable tool for economic, cultural and social youth empowerment in the Western Balkans.
Ms Škiljević underlined the importance of cooperation between the beneficiaries with the RYCO Governing Board members in the field of the RYCO strategic development and pointed out the necessity of synergy between all RYCO supported projects that should contribute to the connectivity of the Western Balkans.
RYCO Local Branch Officer in Serbia, Ms Bulat, said that the supported projects cover a number of topics and consist of a number activities in the fields of culture and arts, sports, active youth participation, dealing with the past, ecology etc. She expressed satisfaction that RYCO will enable new partnerships between high schools and civil society organizations and underlined that the organization will monitor the implementation of the projects and promote their results and successes.
RYCO believes that the exchange of experiences between young people from the region will help to form new ideas for the future of the region, contribute to the better understanding of human rights, initiate intraregional exchange and cooperation, and help foster trust building between youth from different ethnic groups. Throughout the first call for project proposals, RYCO aimed to provide necessary regional perspective and support a regional approach to continuous sector development in WB6. RYCO believes that only this is possible path to sustainable and peaceful development of the region.
The project proposals of the twelve organizations and high schools – First Nis Grammar School “Stevan Sremac”, Nisville Foundation, Grupa ’’Hajde da…’’, Hemijsko-prehrambena tehnološka škola Beograd, Association “Center for ecology education and sustainable development”, Center for Holocaust Research and Education, Secondary Vocational School ’’4. Juli’’ from Vrbas, Novi Sad Humanitarian Centre, Center for Social and Economic Development, Libero, Intermedia Blace, and Polytechnic School from Kragujevac – were selected out of 141 applications from Serbia which aimed to contribute to the process of reconciliation in the region of the Western Balkans through increasing youth mobility, cooperation and activism.
During the first open call for project proposals, RYCO received more than 420 applications from the Western Balkans which networked more than 1300 organizations and high schools form the region. The overall financial envelope for the call was 900.000 Euro.
The signing ceremonies for the beneficiaries from the other RYCO Contracting Parties will take place in the following days.