Project – Youth Leadership Network

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Project “Youth Leadership Network” CB007.2.22.053 is implemented by the Association “New Way” Bulgaria in partnership with the Association “Voice of Vranje”, Serbia. The project is funded by the European Union through the Interreg-IPA Bulgaria-Serbia Cross-Border Cooperation Program 2014-2020.

The project is worth 136,664.55 euros

The project covers the North-Western region of Bulgaria with a focus on the municipality of Vratsa and the district of Pcinja in Serbia with a focus on the municipality of Vranje. The planned activities will be implemented simultaneously on both sides of the border, which will ensure the achievement of a cross-border effect of the project and the sustainability of the project results.

The project started with the preparation and conduct of a study in the target regions on the opportunities for inclusion of young people in civil society. The study will include the development of an analysis of existing policies, strategies, plans and documents to identify the reasons for the low level of civic participation of young people and conduct 4 focus groups in Bulgaria and 3 in Serbia. Based on the information gathered, the necessary knowledge and skills will be identified to overcome existing deficits and promote civic participation through training of young people who are leaders of public opinion.

There will be a selection of 40 young people from both sides of the border, who will be trained in the following modules “Local and National Youth Policies”, “Civic Building” and “Leadership and Development Opportunities”. The training will combine the provision of theoretical knowledge with practical work in small groups and will focus on building skills for involving young people in local and national policy-making, mastering key elements of civic participation, problem solving, project development and etc.

After completing the training, young people will develop non-financial projects to solve local problems and encourage civic participation. In developing their projects, young people will receive support from experts with practical experience and high professional qualifications (mentors). The projects will be presented at the youth camp “I am young and active”.

The 40 trained young people from Bulgaria and Serbia will build a network whose main goal is to share experience and experience in solving community problems and encouraging their civic participation. A Code of Ethics and Rules for the operation of the established network will be developed, which will be mandatory for the members of the network.

The project will also build a web portal “Youth Guarantee”, which will build the prerequisites for the sustainability of established relationships between young people on both sides of the border, support for sustainable development of the youth leadership network and provide opportunities for communication between young people through the use of modern online tools. The web portal will operate as a bilingual and two-way platform, which will also provide job search opportunities for young people from the cross-border regions involved in the project.

The main results of the project will be:

– Web portal for young people from the North-Western region of Bulgaria and Pcinja district in Serbia

– Conducted 1 cross-border camp for exchange of projects and ideas

– Established network of youth leaders with active position, knowledge and skills for civic participation in public policy making