ALBANIA – The RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania together with World Vision Albania and the National Youth Congress (NYC) concluded successfully the Youth Festival 2022 under the theme “Y-Grow, Youth Getting Ready for Opportunities and Well-being” on Friday 1st of July 2022. The festival was organized in Korca and brought together around 100 young people and those working with youth.
The first day of the Youth Festival combined sports activities with advocacy messages to raise the promotion of gender equality and social inclusion in school environments and communities. It brought together IMPACT Club members from Albania for a final tournament in two disciplines: volleyball and basketball. The finals were followed by a dialogue among youth and relevant stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities of addressing the underlying norms that support gender inequalities and social exclusion.
The second day of the sixth edition of the Youth Festival took place at “Thimi Mitko” Library, in Korca, under the slogan: the Future Me. The events offered young people the space to exchange with stakeholders from local and central institutions as well as representatives from businesses and organizations supporting the skills and opportunities for youth employability. Digitalization, innovation, and technology literacy were at the top of the discussions as the crucial skills needed in the present and future labor market.
The panel discussions of the Youth Festival were attended by the Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania Mr. Kreshnik Loka; Ms. Eljona Elmazi, Executive Director of World Vision Albania; Ms. Bora Muzhaqi, Minister of State for Youth and Children; Mr. Sotiraq Filo, Mayor of Korce Municipality; Mr. Roberto De Bernardi, UNICEF Albania Representative; Ms. Kleina Kasanai, General Director of National Youth Agency; Mr. Agron Kasa, Dean of the University of Sports; Ms. Irena Topalli, Tirana European Youth Capital 2022; Mr. Enio Jaco, American Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Verdi Norja, One Communications, etc.
Speaking of innovation, the Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania emphasized the importance of the skills that young people need in order to thrive in the job market nowadays, mainly focusing on soft skills such as communication, teamwork, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, etc. “All these skills can be acquired by participating in RYCO exchanges. Our programs create safe spaces for young people to grow professionally and personally.”, concluded Mr. Loka.
Afterwards, the Local Program Officer in LBO Albania Ms. Flutura Brakaj presented various current programs of RYCO and invited youth to stay proactive in applying for many more programs designed to empower youth and their communities. In addition, the Youth Representative in the RYCO Governing Board Ms. Franceska Muço held an open discussion with young people on concrete ways of engagement in the community and civil society by also sharing the practical example of the RYCO Governing Board as an opportunity and responsibility for young people to assume their role as active members of the community.
Year after year, this festival brings an innovative spirit and is conceived as a platform where young people advocate and seek solutions to the issues facing their communities. At the same time, they expand their network of acquaintances, explore new opportunities offered and have fun.