SERBIA – The RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia organized five local events within the project “Meet your representatives in Serbia. You (are) ask(ed)!” which took place from May to September 2021. In partnership with the National Youth Council in Serbia (Krovna organizacija mladih Srbije – KOMS), the RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia visited Novi Pazar, Prokuplje, Bačka Palanka, Inđija and Loznica and engaged with youth as well as relevant stakeholders and decision-makers at the local level.
Young people from five local communities had the chance to familiarize themselves with the work of KOMS and RYCO and learn more about the programs and projects they are organizing for young people. Moreover, participants also met the youth representatives from both organizations and together mapped their needs and their position in society. The representatives explained how the co-management principle of governing and the involvement of youth in decision-making processes are implemented in practice, as well as why it is important to involve and give decision-making power to youth in all stages of the policy cycle on both local and regional levels.
Youth discussed these topics with the Youth Representative of Serbia in the RYCO Governing Board Mr Marko Kostić and several representatives of the KOMS Governing Board, who are actively involved in decision-making processes on issues concerning young people, both in Serbia and within the Western Balkans.
Mr Kostić explained to participants how decisions are being adopted in the RYCO Governing Board and shared his views on the importance of youth voices in governing the regional mechanism such as RYCO. He also shared details about his everyday work as the youth representative and his experience in cooperation with other youth representatives and government members of the RYCO Governing Board.
“The main reason why I returned to Serbia after finishing my studies abroad is the idea that youth can influence the positive change in any aspect of life,” Mr Kostić said in Loznica during the last organized event.
The visits to five local communities also provided a chance for the colleagues from the RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia to meet with different local stakeholders, including local government officials, high school directors, and teachers.
In these meetings, the various possible ways of reaching youth from different local communities and involvement of vulnerable youth in implemented projects were the topic of discussions with representatives of local governments.
High school teachers and directors were introduced to the new program “Superschools” implemented by RYCO and received more information on opportunities for engagement. Teachers were encouraged to think about innovative ideas for regional high school exchanges and follow RYCO for regional youth cooperation opportunities.
These events were also a chance to strengthen cooperation with local youth offices and discuss possibilities for future action in the youth field. Representatives of youth offices shared their work and ideas for the improvement of youth’s position in their local communities, as well as the challenges they are facing and negative trends such as emigration, unemployment and more.
The RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia reaffirmed its strong support for all policies and activities which empower young people and have a positive influence on their development.
The project “Meet your representatives. You (are) ask/ed!” was implemented by the National Youth Council of Serbia (KOMS) in partnership with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) Local Branch Office in Serbia with the support of the French Embassy in Serbia, and with the assistance of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SKGO).