PRISTINA – Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) signed contracts on Friday with four civil society organizations from Kosovo that got the support to organize the first youth exchange programs within the RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals.
The representatives of the four organizations were addressed by the two RYCO Governing Board Members Mr Kujtim Gahsi, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and Mr Arianit Jashari, Youth Representative in the RYCO Governing Board, as well as by Ms Krenare Gashi, RYCO Local Branch Officer in Kosovo.
Mr Gahsi pointed out that the ceremony of signing the contracts with the first beneficiaries is another proof that RYCO is indeed a promising initiative and a hope for the future of youth cooperation in the region. He said that with less than 10 people on board, traveling to 39 cities around the region, and as a result, receiving 421 applications and initiating more than 1000 partnerships, within a record timeframe, for him, as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, but also as RYCO Governing Board member, this is the first tangible success of RYCO Secretariat. Therefore, he underlined, all of us should be proud. He concluded by congratulating the awarded organizations and said: “Let me remind that your success is our success and your challenges are our challenges. So, I will continue to provide the all needed support from my side”.
Mr Jashari expressed his happiness that we came to this moment and congratulated all awarded organizations from Kosovo. As the youth representative from Kosovo in the RYCO Governing Board, he said, I am looking forward for the RYCO first youth exchanges. He pointed out that such programs are more than needed in the region in order to foster mobility, cooperation and empowerment of youth. “Together with the RYCO Secretariat, we will continue supporting you in the implementation phase”, he concluded.
RYCO Local Branch Officer in Kosovo Ms Gashi welcomed all the guests and underlined that the event is a unique moment for RYCO. Within less than one year, she said, we managed to successfully develop the first Open Call and despite the fact that it has been a challenging journey, we are very happy that we did it. She pointed out that it has been a learning process but a unique one and said that it is the time to celebrate and congrats all the awarded organizations and wish them a good luck in the implementation phase.
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 four organizations – Better Life in Kosova (BLINK), Enviromentally Responsible Action (ERA Group), GAIA and Play International Kosovo – were selected out of 56 applications from Kosovo 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.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.