The Regional Cross-Border Volunteer Program ROUTE WB6 has been presented in Podgorica, Montenegro on Tuesday, 8 June 2021. The program represents a unique opportunity for the Western Balkan youth to volunteer across the region. Approximately 400 young people from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia will have the opportunity to volunteer in the region, but also to learn more about the concept of ethical volunteering and how to improve volunteer policies and legislation.

Three opportunities will be available for young people – ROUTE MINI, MIDI and MAXI. Through ROUTE MINI, it will be possible to volunteer at regional festivals and sports events, lasting up to seven days. The final list of festivals will be available by the end of June on the project’s  website: . ROUTE MIDI will be dedicated to volunteering activities in  a community that lasts up to two weeks, for example, volunteer summer camps. The call will be open in June 2021, and civil society organizations from across the region offering volunteer opportunities will be able to apply. ROUTE MAXI offers young people the opportunity to spend up to two months volunteering in some of the most prominent civil society organizations in the region, including RYCO local branch offices as well as partner organizations.

“We have already received 300 applications from young people from urban and rural areas and the entire region, and eighteen-year-old Amina Šabanović, a graduate of the Podgorica Medresa, will be our first regional volunteer to travel to North  Macedonia in August for the Bitola Open City Festival organized by our partner MKC Bitola. We are reminding all those who have not yet applied that the application process will be open throughout the summer at, ” ROUTE WB6 Communications and Visibility Officer Ms Megi Ruka pointed out.

The event was opened by RYCO Secretary General Mr Albert Hani, emphasizing the importance of this program both for the area of ​​volunteering in the Western Balkans and for the overall RYCO strategy. The audience was also addressed by SEEYN Executive Director Ms Mirela Rajković and RYCO Program Director Mr Jan Zlatan Kulenović. RYCO and the project partners also presented two documents – the Regional Code of Ethics and the Policy Brief.  These  documents will help  promote volunteering values, recognizing and appreciating volunteer experiences across the region.

The ROUTE WB6 project aims to promote cross-border volunteering as a tool that will contribute to reducing social and ethnic distance among young people in the region, as well as strengthening their prosocial and European values, leading to reconciliation, stability and prosperity in the region. The project is being implemented across the Western Balkans by a consortium led by the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) in cooperation with Beyond Barriers, the Southeast European Youth Network, Lens, Youth Cultural Center Bitola, Association for Democracy and Prosperity – Zid, Young Researchers of Serbia and Institute for Youth Development KULT. The project is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

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