“Our goal is not just to implement projects, or only support NGOs in their activities. It is to be together in policy creation, deciding together what to do and how” Emir Coric, Coordinator of the Youth Office of the Municipality of Centar (Macedonia)
Visiting Local Youth Councils
Local Youth Participation in Macedonia
The Steering Group arrived to Macedonia, thanks to the warm hospitality of our Kumanovo-based member CID (Center for Intercultural Dialogue).
Before getting into business on the present and future of the Network, we dedicated the day to visit some local practices of youth participation.
We met with the representatives of three local Youth Councils and with a Municipality Officer. It was an opportunity to see how diverse realities influenced the processes of establishment of youth councils, as well as their management, the implemented activities and the challenges they faced. From a structure born because of the strong will of a group of activists that is now striving to achieve recognition and legitimacy to a youth-friendly municipality that promotes participation of young people and changes its legal Statutes to ensure youth representation within the City Council, it was interesting and inspiring to observe many distinctive models of youth participation in decision making.
Lipkovo Youth Council was established with the support of CID, thanks to a project that focused on youth participation through the development of local Youth Councils in 12 Municipalities (read more about this project and its impact in Lipkovo here). Valon Sapiki, President of the Council, presented Lipkovo Municipality explaining its peculiarity of being a very spread out rural area, and linked it with the challenges that the youth council faces like the difficulty of its members to meet because of distance, as well as to find a working space.
Florim Rediepi, Chair of the Local Youth Council of Kumanovo and Project Officer of CID, presented the process of establishment of Kumanovo Youth Council, that was the result of the will of working together of the community of local activist youth. Their challenges concern how to make the council sustainable, by gaining more support and recognition form the Municipality and by transferring knowledge among its members, to prevent losing historical memory and experience when there is a turnover of representatives.
To close this first visit, Aleksandra Tasic spoke on behalf of BUJRUM (Center for Rural Development), a non-profit youth organization that works to promote and support sustainable development within rural communities through innovation and creativity in entrepreneurship, education and intercultural understanding for the young people of the rural municipalities of Kumanovo, Nagoricane and Lipkovo, which is considered not only ‘rural’ but also one of the least developed areas in Macedonia. Visit BUJRUM website here.
In Skopje, Emir Coric, coordinator of the youth office of the Municipality of Centar, welcomed us to the youth centre administered by the Municipality for the use of local youth organizations and youth groups. He presented the work of the City Council for young people, and its commitment to support young people that led to the approval of the 2015-2010 Youth Strategy and the establishment of the local Youth Council as a body of the city council of Centar. Goran Tanevski, President of the Youth Council, and David Danailov, representative of one of its members, explained in more details the functioning of the council and its activities.
Martin, member of the Secretariat of the National Youth Council, responsible for international affairs, closed the visit giving a broader overview of the situation of young people at national level and the government’s national youth strategy. It explained how the previous national youth strategy 2005- 2015 encouraged the creation of local youth council thus the emphasis of the government and of CID to support their establishment. He also informed us of the most recent youth policy presented by the Agency of Youth and Sports for 2015-2020.