ALBANIA/BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA/NORTH MACEDONIA – Within the second RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals co-financed by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, the Youth Center John Paul II (NCM) from Bosnia and Herzegovina, in partnership with the National Association for Life (SHKEJ) form Albania and Acta Non Verba (ANV) from North Macedonia, implemented the project “Scroll Down the Region”.
The project took place from December 2019 to November 2020 and empowered young people from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, to learn about and promote the rural heritage of the Western Balkans. Moreover, it enabled young people to connect and use digital tools in promoting the region by collaborating with one another across borders through virtual exchange and activities.
“While creating the project “Scroll Down the Region”, we could not have imagined that the entire world would be facing various difficulties caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, right when the idea of creating new opportunities to connect youth from the Western Balkans came to life. Nevertheless, the initial idea of applying digital tools to promote rural cultural heritage through social networks fit into the new environment. I found myself learning a lot through this beautiful project, facing a lot of challenges, trying to collect the best ideas and ways to put young people from the region in contact,” Project Coordinator Ms Minja Todorović highlighted.
During the activities, young people visited the rural areas around the cities where the project was implemented, explored and learned about digital tools and photography and shared their knowledge and experiences with their peers online. The project helped them raise awareness on the importance of cultural diversity in the Western Balkans through youth cooperation, exchange and intercultural dialogue.
“Participating in a project like this for the first time, I can say that I learned a lot of new things. I met new friends with whom I enjoyed talking at workshops and during field trips. I hope that in the near future I will have the opportunity to get to know young people from North Macedonia and Albania better. I look forward to sharing my impressions with my peers,” one of the project participants Ms Lucijana Matić stated.
Inspired by the cultural diversity and rural heritage in the region, the project participants collected photo materials which they integrated into an online interactive storytelling platform. The platform enables them to share their stories and experiences with other friends and peers in the region.
Besides learning about online tools to promote culture and diversity in the region, young people involved in the project connected and made new friends despite being online or offline.
“After seeing youth waving on the screen and promising that they will visit each other soon, I must say that it is all worth it. The pandemic may have opened some new horizons and opportunities. Therefore, at the final activity, our group agreed that every ending is a new beginning,” Ms Todorović concluded.
To visit the interactive online platform created by the project participants and organizers, please click the button below: