Empowering Young People: APY Reflects on the Success of the Up2You(th) project

Armenian Progressive Youth is thrilled to share the inspiring journey and successful conclusion of the Up2You(th) KA2 project, a collaborative initiative undertaken with the Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) and Youthfully Yours (YY). The project aimed to tackle the prevalent issue of youth disengagement in Slovakia, North Macedonia, and Armenia. The culmination of this transformative project was marked by a dissemination event on August 22, 2023, where APY members and colleagues gathered to learn, discuss, and celebrate the impactful results.

The Up2You(th) project began with a critical examination of the prevailing sense of disillusionment among young individuals in Europe, particularly in Armenia. A noticeable disconnect with governmental structures and a feeling of being undervalued had led many youth to distance themselves from political and community endeavors. Recognizing the detrimental effects of this alienation, the project took on the challenge of strengthening youth voices and fostering active engagement.

The initiative spanned multiple phases, each contributing to a deeper understanding of the barriers, aspirations, and potential solutions to increase youth participation. Engaging with over 1,300 young individuals across three countries, the Up2You(th) project conducted comprehensive desk research, country surveys, focus group discussions, and practical local workshops. The emphasis on direct youth involvement ensured that the resulting knowledge and strategies were not only empirically grounded but also endorsed by the very demographic they aimed to empower.

Learning from Project Activities:

  1. Desk Research: The foundational understanding of youth disengagement was laid through comprehensive desk research.
  2. Country Surveys: Delving into youth perspectives on community participation across Slovakia, North Macedonia, and Armenia provided diverse insights.
  3. Focus Group Reports: Synthesizing local discussions captured how young people perceive the barriers and potential solutions for increasing their community engagement.
  4. Local Workshops: Practical sessions were conducted to address specific needs and areas of interest highlighted by the youth during the project.
  5. Recommendations: The Up2You(th) Initiative concluded with actionable strategies to reinforce youth engagement, tailored for stakeholders on regional, national, and European levels.

As we reflect on the Up2You(th) project’s journey, APY is proud to have been part of a transformative initiative that addressed the challenges of youth disengagement head-on. The dissemination event on August 22 allowed us to celebrate the project’s success, share valuable insights, and inspire further commitment to fostering active citizenship among the youth. The Up2You(th) project is not just a conclusion; it’s a beginning – a testament to the power of collaboration and youth-led initiatives in shaping a brighter future.

Everybody Counts: Rural Youth Empowerment in Eastern Partnership Countries

Low level of youth participation in rural or deprived urban areas remains one of the key issues across the Eastern Partnership countries. Specifically in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine there is a clear lack of youth participation structures in rural areas. At the same time, young people are not able to join the decision-making processes on youth issues at a local level because of the absence of youth consultative bodies or youth councils in the municipalities.

Recognizing the above mentioned problem, “Everybody Counts: Rural Youth Empowerment in Eastern Partnership Countries” project pursues the aim of fostering the integrationand participation of young people from rural and deprived urban areas through:
– Raising awareness on youth participation opportunities,
– Providing job preparation, digital and mobility trainings,
– Developing opportunities and an ongoing conversation with participants on civic engagement/participation.

Most importantly, the project mainstreams rural youth participation issues into state youth strategies and policies among the stakeholders in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine and encourages the state authorities to put specific efforts in regional and rural youth policy development and implementation.

The project outputs include, but are not limited to the following:
– Empowerment of young people and youth workers through workshops and trainings,
– Summarizing the findings of online research on youth participation and involvement.
– Supporting the development of youth participation structures in rural areas through grass-root work and dialogue with official stakeholders responsible for youth,
– Mainstream youth participation issues into state youth strategies and policies through preparation of a package of recommendations on youth policy,
– Development of a handbook on Inclusion of youth with fewer opportunities.

On December 29th in Yerevan, Armenia an International Youth forum was organized as a part of the effort of mainstreaming youth participation issues. The forum brought together rural youth, the actors from civil society and the state to create and offer to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports the package of recommendations Strategy of the State Youth Policy for 2018-2022.

“The project benefits from the support through the EaP CSF Re-granting Scheme. Within its Re-granting Scheme, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) supports projects of the EaP CSF members with a regional dimension that contribute to achieving the mission and objectives of the Forum. The donors of the Re-granting Scheme are the European Union and National Endowment for Democracy. The overall amount for the 2017 call for proposals is 290.000 EUR. Grants are available for CSOs from the Eastern Partnership and EU countries. Key areas of support are democracy and human rights, economic integration, environment and energy, contacts between people, social and labour policies.”