ALBANIA/KOSOVO/MONTENEGRO – Supported by RYCO and the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund through the second RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals, the Environmentally Responsible Action group (ERA) from Kosovo, in partnership with the International Volunteer Service for Development (VIS) from Albania and the NGO “Green Step” from Montenegro, implemented the project “Connecting Rural Youth Across Borders II”.
The project took place from January to November 2020 and addressed the strong marginalization and exclusion of youth living in rural areas by empowering them to become drivers of change in their communities. Moreover, it enhanced cross-border cooperation and exchange through the implementation of various online and offline activities that promoted youth inclusion and development.
“The project had a huge impact on the youth participants especially considering the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the period of lockdown. The activities contributed to the socialization and cross-border cooperation between youth from Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro through empowerment and training on advocacy, biodiversity and nature conservation,” Project Coordinator Ms Adelina Kastrati emphasized.
Throughout the project activities, youth were provided with the opportunity to strengthen their capacities and explore new opportunities which would enable them to connect with one another and take the lead to bettering their societies together.
“During the activities in nature the participants stated that the experience and the friendships they made helped them in overcoming the stress and fear created from the pandemic, hoping that similar activities will take place again soon,” Ms Kastrati added.
Enhancing cooperation and engagement among youth with fewer opportunities was key to the project implementation phase, and young participants will remain connected in fostering activism and youth empowerment in the areas where they live.
“In the course of this experience, more young people, especially girls, have been involved in the project and its enriching activities. I wish we will be able to travel again soon and to meet youth from Montenegro and Kosovo, to know them better and exchange more ideas with them,” one of the project representatives from Albania Ms Stela Hysaj stated.
Even though most of the activities were implemented in a challenging period, the project “Connecting Rural Youth Across Borders II” contributed successfully to the creation of an enthusiastic and sustainable youth network in the region.
*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.