Project „Increasing quality of activities targeting rural youth“ has been co-founded by the European Commission through the Erasmus + programme and implemented by NGO „Youth Workers Alliance Vranje“.
Project gathered participants from 6 partner countries on a Study Visit in Fuglebjerg, Denmark, from 14-22.06.2019. Partners are experienced youth organizations coming from North Macedonia (Next Generation), Montenegro (Mladiinfo Montenegro), Kosovo (OAPA), Greece (International Centre for Sustainable Development) and Denmark (Draft Copenhagen). Partners were able to present their work and share good and bad practices when it comes to rural youth.
The main purpose of the 8 days study visit was to provide the participants an opportunity to learn directly from practices of visited organizations and institutions, to get to know approaches that these organizations apply at their work with young people from rural areas, to discuss common challenges, to raise knowledge on Erasmus + Programme and to brainstorm ideas for future project.
Key issue addressed by the project ‘Increasing Quality of Activities Targeting Rural Youth’ is lack of possibilities for personal and professional growth for young people (16 – 30) coming from rural areas of partner’s countries. They are missing access to quality free time activities, services or information on local, regional, national or international projects open for youth. Young people are not fully aware of their rights as young citizens and they do not have access to information on possible sources of funding (such Erasmus + Programme, Europe for Citizens, Youth Department of the Council of Europe, RYCO, local and national authorities) given them an opportunity to realize own projects and initiatives.
During the Study Visit the participants got to know each other through name games, icebreakers and team building games and they created ground rules for the whole event. After that, in the working days there were many sessions. An overview of the project was presented. There was research and presentation about rural youth in partner countries. The participants learned through detailed presentation about Erasmus + Programme and importance of non-formal education and also what does it mean to achieve Youth Pass.
Research in Slagelse and Næstved happened during the project, and the participants did many interviews with the local people, about the situation in rural areas.
Most important part of the project was the Study Visit day in Copenhagen. Participants got to know the profile of organizations and institutions that were visited. There they learned a lot about working with rural youth, because these institutions and organizations shared their practices, experiences, they discussed common challenges and gave the participants tips for further work.
The first institution was Danish Efterskole; it’s a private school that has a very unique way of teaching, different than public schools in Denmark. It’s free school of 150 years tradition. They have free curriculum different from one “efterskole” to another. Students can be there only one year, from age 14 to 17, it’s their choice.
They practically live there in the school, they learn subjects by their wishes, they do all the chores together with other students, and they have more initiative and feel more useful.
The second organization that was visited is a Danish NGO Dansk – Indisk Børnehjælp. A volunteer in the organization presented the participants their missions, visions and activities targeting rural areas in India, especially education and empowering of women and young girls. Their program, long-term plans and their goals were explained. After that the participants had a chance to ask questions, and have discussions with the volunteer. The meeting lasted an hour and a half, and there the group also got a clearer picture about the NGOs work.
Also, the participants had a training for writing projects. After several project teams were created, they started working on new project ideas with the support of experts. They presented the ideas for projects on different topics and created plans for future cooperation.
In the next 10 months partners will work on increasing quality of activities targeting rural youth in their countries by having workshops and other local events.