SKOPJE – Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) signed contracts on Friday in Skopje with four civil society organizations and high schools from Macedonia 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 and high schools were addressed by Director of the Macedonian Agency for Youth and Sport and RYCO Governing Board Member Mr Darko Kaevski, Youth Representative of Macedonia in the RYCO Governing Board Mr Vladimir Gjorgjeski, and RYCO Local Branch Officer in Macedonia Mr Albert Hani. The event took place in the premises of the Agency of Youth and Sport.
Addressing the participants of the ceremony, Mr Kaevski pointed out that RYCO is important for the young people of the region and expressed his hopes that a lot of them from Macedonia and the Western Balkans will benefit from its work. He said that the youth are an important partner in improving the regional relations and cooperation and that RYCO is recognized as a mechanism for this change. He concluded by whishing the awarded organizations and high schools a successful implementation of their projects.
Mr Gjorgjeski stated that he will do his best to reflect the needs of young people into the decisions that the RYCO Governing Board is making but also to work on a better positioning of the youth interests in the region and on the European level. He stressed that for this work the support of the youth organizations and the organizations involved in the RYCO activities are needed.
RYCO Local Branch Officer in Macedonia briefly presented the results of the first Open Call for Project Proposals and underlined the challenges that RYCO learned about during the call. Mr Hani said that one of the challenges is to enable high schools to take a greater part in the RYCO activities and that RYCO will work on their capacity building, as well as the capacity building of the civil society to contribute more to the topics such as social inclusion and dealing with the past. He concluded by wishing the supported organizations and high schools a successful implementation of their project and thanked the Macedonian Agency for Youth and Sport for the sincere support that it is providing to RYCO.
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 and high schools – Center for Intercultural Dialogue, Zdruzenie KREATOR Kumanovo, Youth Educational Forum and Municipal high school in Radovis – were selected out of 61 applications from Macedonia 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.