TIRANA – Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) signed contracts on Tuesday in its Head Office in Tirana with five civil society organizations from Albania that got the support to organize the first youth exchange programs within the RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals. The event was attended by the representatives of the partner organizations as well as the international community in Tirana.
The representatives of the five organizations were addressed by RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša, RYCO Deputy Secretary General Mr Fatos Mustafa, Albanian Youth Representative in the RYCO Governing Board Ms Dafina Peci and RYCO Local Branch Officer in Albania Mr Kreshnik Loka.
Mr Loka shortly welcomed the guest and the representatives of the organizations by presenting the activities done since RYCO became operational and lessons learned from these activities. He pointed out that the interest shown by civil society organizations and high schools from the Western Balkans is a clear sign that the region wants to incent the youth with critical thinking, open-mindedness and equip them with skills to openly accept the other regardless the story behind. He concluded by saying that the first projects are just the beginning of a permanent work that RYCO plans in the region.
Ms Peci express her hopes that there will be more applicants from Albania for the next RYCO open call for project proposals and underlined the need to engage more schools into the reconciliation processes in the region through a bigger support by RYCO to them. She also thanked the RYCO Secretariat for its work and efforts put in the first Open Call for Project Proposals.
RYCO Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General, Mr Blanuša and Mr Mustafa, thanked the representatives of the granted civil society organizations as well as their partners for taking part in the first RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals, and wished them a good implementation phase of their projects. They both underlined the need for youth exchange programs in the region that should serve as the opportunities for youth of the Western Balkans to create a better region.
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 five organizations – Beyond Barriers Association, Centre for Comparative and International Studies, Women ́s Network Equality in Decision Making, Partnerë për Fëmijët and Youth for Social Changes – were selected out of 46 applications from Albania 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.