Youth Festival: Youth Are Solution for Western Balkans

TIRANA – World Vision, in collaboration with RYCO, organizes a regional youth festival in Tirana from 3 to 5 September. The Youth Festival kicked off with a two panel discussions participated by young people, representatives of civil society, governmental institutions, local and international agencies who discussed inclusion of youth in decision-making processes and inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities in local and regional projects.

Moderating the first panel discussion “Inclusion of youth in all aspects and stages of policy and decision-making: Creating policies for youth with and by young people”, Youth Representative of Albania in the RYCO Governing Board Ms Dafina Peci stressed the importance of the inclusion of youth in all the aspects.

As the discussion’s participant, Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania Mr Kreshnik Loka pointed out the example of RYCO which is actively involving young people in decision-making processes. “RYCO’s co-management system is a great example which reminds us all that policies for young people cannot be done without young people,” he told the participants.

The discussion was also enriched by inputs of the following participants – Ms Dragana Bulić of the World Vision Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Alessandro Angius of the EU Delegation to Albania, Representative of the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth of Albania Ms Jehona Varfi, Youth Representative of the IMPACT Club Ms Orjana Çekrezi and the European Youth Forum Board Member Mr Michael Piccinino. The participants agreed that it is important to include youth in policy making, but that it is also important to create opportunities and raise capacities for them to engage into dialogue.

The second panel discussion entitled “Inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities in local and regional projects” focused on the experience of working with the most vulnerable youth groups through programs or sub-granting which shows that the process of including young people with fewer opportunities in local and regional projects is not an easy task.

The panel moderated by Program Manager of Beyond Barriers Association Ms Ira Topalli highlighted that the NGOs which are working with young people at grassroots level are facing a number of difficulties: lack of funds and resources, difficulties in identifying these young people and managing the risk of marginalizing them even more.

Participating the discussion, RYCO Program Manager Ms Bojana Bulatović shared information on what are the RYCO programs and policies which are tackling the topic of work with young people with fewer opportunities. “RYCO is putting a special focus on working with secondary schools. Moreover, RYCO will offer mentoring support to schools to design their project better. Finally, we redesigned our grant scheme allowing smaller organizations to get supported by grading their financial management lower than in cases of bigger and experienced organizations,” she underlined.

Ms Bulatović also pointed out that it is needed to increase motivation of young people who haven’t had opportunities to take part in youth exchanges to take part in these activities by asking them about the needs of current young generation. “Our researches conducted with our partners showed us that in order to increase transformation potential and social cohesion prospects of youth exchange programs it is needed to increase variety of participants of such programs, support projects that engage novices and plan adequate recruiting strategies,” she concluded.

Among the discussion’s participants were Western Balkans Fund Executive Director Mr Gjergj Murra, Representative of the UNFPA Albania Ms Dorina Toçaj, Executive Director of Youth for Social Change Ms Mimoza Ikonomi and South East European Youth Network Executive Director Ms Mirela Rajković and Youth Representative of IMPACT Club Mr Ujmir Uka.

The festival’s second day will be dedicated to raising awareness on vulnerability factors leading to violence against children and the consequences of violence for children seen from the perspective of child development professionals but also designing advocacy messages speaking out that it is never late to stop violence against children. Finally, the last day will be dedicated to pitching competition for business ideas of adolescents and students.


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