KORÇA – The two-day activity “Youth for Youth” organized by the Minister of State for Youth and Children of Albania, the RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania, World Vision Albania and UNICEF in Albania took place on 19-20 March, in Korça. The event gathered more than 200 young people coming from high schools from all over Albania. This multi-dimensional initiative gave the chance to the youth to reflect and actively contribute to the first draft of the Albanian National Youth Strategy 2022-2027 and to participate in various inspiring activities.
The event started with the opening remarks Minister of State for Youth and Children of Albania Ms Bora Muzhaqi who thanked and valued the great work done by the young people who participated in the previous consultations organized in the last quarter of 2021.
“In the beginning we only had a blank paper and a pen. After our first round of consultations across Albania, we filled in the papers with notes and suggestions from the amazing young people that were eager to share their vision on how the upcoming strategy should look like. We incorporated those needs, and now we have the first draft of the National Youth Strategy that we are looking forward to jointly discuss,” Ms Muzhaqi underlined.
During the first day, the youth worked in groups and discussed each of the seven pillars of the draft strategy. Under the moderation of youth experts, they focused on topics such as career planning, exchange programs, volunteering opportunities, technology advancement, social, cultural and education policies in order to come up with suggestions that would make the upcoming strategy more relevant and beneficial for them. The conclusions from each group were noted down and will be evaluated as input for the strategy. After finalizing the consultation process, the young people were immersed in variety of activities including arts, sports, innovation and technology, debates and career development.
The second day offered to the young people a possibility to interact with successful peers who shared their inspiring stories with a unified message. Among the inspirational speakers was also RYCO Local Program Officer Ms Flutura Brakaj who presented her own experience and how she achieved to work for RYCO.
“I used to be a volunteer, too, when I was younger. It was that experience which helped me the most to break the prejudices and stereotypes that I had and later on to try reflect this learning in my everyday life,” she said and added that she encourages the young people present to take part in different exchanges and break barriers to become better versions of themselves.
Ms Brakaj also mentioned several programs offered by RYCO, such as the RYCO Superschools, where some of the present schools are already taking part in. “With this program, we hope to help you become superstudents and superteachers and we are confident that you will,” she pointed out.
Meanwhile, during the activity, the youth shared their takeaways. One of the things that they enjoyed the most was to have the opportunity to give a voice to their opinions and be heard, as in the case of taking part in the drafting of the Youth Strategy. Some others highlighted the new friendships they created during their two days stay in Korça.
“I have been part of these activities since the beginning with Bora (the minister) and I’m really grateful that most of the things we have mentioned are now part of the first draft of the strategy and I look forward to see also the conclusions of this activity reflected in the upcoming strategy,” one of the young participants mentioned.
The “Youth for Youth” activity left a mark to all the participants as a flagship initiative highlighting the indispensable role of involving young people in decision-making processes and with the necessity to continue in investing in spaces where young people can explore and maximize their potential.