Promoting Youth Activism in Multiethnic Communities

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This publication was developed as part of the Promoting Youth Activism in Multiethnic

Communities project, implemented by Center for Intercultural Dialogue and supported by National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The aim of this publication is to give the focus on the Youth Call as a method of youth participation in decision making and achieving change within the community by giving access to funding and management of funds to young people. The publication shares the successful examples of developing a Youth Call that granted 5 youth advocacy campaigns that ensured a bigger impact on the local community, where the participants were the owners of the advocacy initiatives and their family/friends/community representatives saw them as active contributors to the society. In this publication you can find a step by step on how to address the needs of the community, empower young people to develop successful initiatives and ensure the sustainability and long-lasting impact of the same.

We want to thank everyone who contributed to the project and the development of this publication, all the participants of the advocacy campaigns, as well as the Youth Call Leaders and relevant stakeholders who contributed with their inputs and made each of these campaigns possible.

Center for intercultural dialogue

Youth participation in North Macedonia

Youth Participation and its importance Youth Participation at all levels in society has been a long-standing goal of different Youth Policies and many Youth organizations are working to promote it. But youth participation is not an end in itself, participation is an ongoing process that is both learnt and practiced. Youth Participation was defined by the revised European Charter on Participation of young people in Local and Regional Life: “Participation in the democratic life of any community is about more than voting or standing for election, although these are important elements. Participation and active citizenship is about having the right, the means, the space and the opportunity and where necessary the support to participate in and influence decisions and engaging in actions and activities so as to contribute to building a better society.”1 Participation of young people happens, and needs to happen in all areas of life: In political life – exercising power in relation to authorities and governments, public policies, and the distribution of decision at different levels In economic life – through employment and work in general In cultural life – through expression in different forms of art and having the capacity to access it In social life – through engagement in the community life, its social issues and benefits.


Revised European Charter on Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life, 2003, Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, available here:

The participation definition above proposed that participation is a process in the community that requires several conditions for it to happen properly. This is also known as the RMSOS (Rights, Means, Spaces, Opportunity, Support) model.


We will explore this model to explore the issues connected with the Youth Call: The right to participate is an essential Human right, coming from the basic civic and political rights. Young people also as other people, have the basic human right to participate. This right is written down in different documents used at local and national level, as well as in the Constitution. It also implies young people should advocate and exercise their right to participate. The Youth Call also secures the right for young people to participate in deciding about funding Youth-led projects. At the same time it secures that the rights-based approach is respected by insuring the possibility for participation.


‘Have your say!’ Manual on the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life, 2015, Council of Europe, available here:

The means to participate refers to having the conditions to participate. This means that basic needs should be provided in order for young people to be able to take part meaningfully. For example, are all young people able to arrive at a certain place to participate (access to transport), or are all young people having access to internet to participate online. The benefits of participation are of course bigger than the costs of the means, as these should not be a factor of discrimination or inequality. The Youth Call allows for young people to present projects that would identify which means to participate are needed. Young people also decide to address those needs at peer-to-peer level. In such a way, the Youth Call can secure allocating funding to those means of participation which are truly needed by young people themselves. The spaces to participate refer to the institutional and decision-making processes and if these processes provide spaces (including physical) for a meeting, organization, and consultation. These spaces should be accessible to everyone concerned, visible and known, as well as, transparent spaces. Spaces are often manipulated with an intention to tokenize young people, therefore, a transparent process and defining participation spaces are an important factor in securing meaningful participation. The Youth Call spaces include the space for young people to meet and decide on funding other youth projects, to set up truly Youth-led spaces and to secure that this model also inspires others. The set-up of the Youth Call with its transparent rules promotes that Youth Participation spaces should not be used to manipulate young people, but to empower and support them. The opportunity to participate means that young people need to know how they can take part, this information needs to be clear and accessible. The opportunity is not about posting online calls for participation, but it also refers to making sure that the decision making processes and systems are clearly explained and are “youth-friendly�, so that young people understand them and have sufficient time and supportive structures to make sense of them.

The Youth Call process is promoting youth-friendly communication which creates the opportunity to participate. The work of the Youth Call aims to secure that young people create in their own way the projects that provide an opportunity to participate for their peers. The support to participate means ensuring young people can have the support they need to participate, such as the financial means to do so, or the adequate Youth Work or educational programmes, including training and advice on the different steps of participation. This does not mean making the decision on behalf of young people, but it means providing them with information and training so they can make an informed decision themselves. The Youth Call offers supporting information and guidance to the young people so they can make the decisions themselves. It is also offering educational activities and other supporting ways to secure that the young people are encouraged and informed to make decisions and advance their work. Participation is essential for democracies and should not be taken for granted. Just as anything else, participation needs to be learnt and supported through measures and systems that encourage it and make it possible.

Situation of young people in North Macedonia ‘80% of young people in North Macedonia state that the authorities do not care about them at all or only partially care about them, their needs and their problems. ‘ ‘Only one in five young people in North Macedonia believe that the government is committed to addressing the problems of youth.’ ‘71% describe themselves as a socially inactive citizen.’ ‘Only 8% of young people have taken steps to solve a particular societal problem.’

All of these statements have been taken out of a research that was conducted with young people in North Macedonia on the socio-political participation of youth in the country3. The study was conducted by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, and it outlines the current situation of young people in North Macedonia, and their position when it comes to the reflection of their needs on both policy and societal level, as well their level of engagement within the society and their communities.

Up until recently when the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policy 4was adopted (beginning of 2020), North Macedonia did not have any laws or bylaws targeting Youth Participation and the need for a systematic support for the same. Despite the adoption of the law more than a few months ago, the practicing of the same has not yet begun, and from this standing point it still has a long way to go in order to aid and ensure the changing of the above-mentioned situation of young people (within the study) on local and national level. Bellow is an analysis of the current situation of Youth Participation on multiple levels5.


Socio-Political Participation of Youth in North Macedonia: Apathy, optimism or disappointment, 2019, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, available here: 4 Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policy, 2020, Republic of North Macedonia, available here: 5 Youth Participation in Policy Creation and Decision Making, 2015, Ivana Davidovska

National level youth participation Despite the efforts of young people and civil society organizations to establish a national youth representative body for many years, this was not the reality in North Macedonia. The first self-sustainable, democratic and participatory representative body was finally developed in 2013, with the establishment of the National Youth Council of Macedonia. Until today, this youth representative body is not recognized as a legitimate partner for youth-related questions on national level, and lacks the institutional and systematic support. With the newly adopted Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policy, this representative body is again not recognized, but the law calls for the creation of yet another structure, National Youth Assembly, and the operational costs for the organization of the general assemblies of the same would be part of the budget of the Republic of North Macedonia. Even if we consider this as the initial step towards ensuring the much needed institutional support for national-level Youth Participation, this law still does not guarantee the support for already existing youth-led structures, but in the short run increases the confusion connected to the responsibilities and accountability of a national Youth Participation structure. Youth participation on local level Local youth councils exist as a form of Youth Participation and youth organizing on a local level in some municipalities. With an exception to few positive examples, the Local Youth Council structure and position within the local decision-making processes has not been unified and in many of the municipalities the level of participation if almost non-existent.

Around 40 of these local Youth Councils were created as consultative bodies within the municipalities under the instructions of the Agency for Youth and Sports and the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia in 2014. Additional 20 Local Youth Councils were created as part of the efforts of the civic sector, and were based on the principles of youth and civil sector self-organizing6. With the new Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policy, all the municipalities will need to establish Local Youth Councils that will have the space to contribute towards the discussions taking part in the City councils, but also initiate different questions and priorities concerning young people within the work of the municipalities and the development of the Local youth strategies. The only concern that arises with this law in connection to the Local Youth Councils is the lack of defining the way this Local Youth Council would be established and by whom, putting under question mark the democratic selection of the youth representatives – part of the Local Youth Councils.

Youth participation on educational level Youth Participation as part of the educational organizing is also an important element towards youth organizing. This is closely connected to the educational institutions that the young people go to, mainly the high-school and university level organizing. Research shows that in the country there is currently no high school where the participants can actively contribute to the decision making within the schools7.


As part of the project Youth decides! lead by Youth Educational Forum and Center for Intercultural dialogue. The publication YOUth decides!, 2015, available here: 7

School student union organizing and participation, 2012, Youth Educational Forum

Starting from 2019, there has been the slow restart of a School student union in North Macedonia, as the first active Union of high school students after the dissolvement of the Union of high school students and High school student union in 2008 and 2009. On higher education level, there are student parliaments and student unions in each of the state universities, and they are regulated under the Law for higher education. The level of the democratic functioning of these student unions can be debated, as well as the openness towards new membership and the election procedures for the bodies of the same.

The Youth Call as a support system for youth Participation on local level responds to the needs of the young people, and also acts as a corrector to the omissions that have been identified within the already existing structures on both national, local and educational level.

Youth call as a way to youth participation Youth Participation as such, but also the nurturing of the culture for Youth Participation, has had its roots embedded in today’s society. As such Youth Participation builds the basis of a democratic, inclusive and participatory society for everyone. In order to reach the level of young people who actively participate in their community, but also in decision-making in it, it is important that they are given the means, the space and the support. By doing so, young people in the community are recognized and accepted as equals in the decision making and policy creation processes, creating the space for them to become the community agenda setters. Youth Call as such is one of the paths to reaching the point of democratic societies that have a sustainable and supportive system for young people.

Youth empowerment

Multistakeholder support

Community engagement

Participation in decision making processes

In the next chapter we will go through the entire process of the Youth Call, and we will analyze the challenges and opportunities in the process.

Reaching out to youth and promotion of the entire process through presentations – informal and formal leaders (collaboration with schools).

It all starts with reaching young people. Reaching youth may seem simple, but in fact there are more than one challenges in doing so. The journey of this Youth Call began with outreaching to youngsters living in Kumanovo, Lipkovo and Staro Nagorichane municipalities. In order to create a cohesive community where our background does not play a crucial role in defining our place in the same society, it is important that all people have the same access to their rights and are given the space and empowered to practice the same. When reaching out to youngsters from these 3 municipalities it was important to take into consideration: Geographical balance This factor plays an important role when creating the group for the Youth Call. You need to take into consideration to have people coming from different areas of the communities, as this usually implies differences in the social and economic background, but also the access to these young people to their rights – especially the vicinity of schools, cultural events and transportation. Moreover, it is crucial to involve both people coming from rural and urban areas, disadvantaged and privileged geographical areas, in order to ensure everyone’s participation.

Gender balance As a second very important factor when selecting a group is the gender balance. In most communities there is still a huge gap between the opportunities young women and young men get, which would later on be transferred into many different parts of their lives (education, employment opportunities and promotion opportunities, salary, etc.). In traditional communities such as the one in North Macedonia, this phenomenon of institutional and social gender discrimination is specifically visible, and even embedded in the cultures of the different ethnicities living in the country and region (Macedonian, Albanian, Serbian, Roma, Turkish, etc.). This is why it is very important to empower young girls and women into taking an active role within their schools and communities, and to be given the opportunity to explore and step out of the culture imposed frames that exist for them. When talking about gender it is also very important to step beyond the binary understanding of the same, and to look at it from the perspective of a range of characteristics including gender identity, biological sex or social structures based on sex (for example gender roles in the community, etc.). Ethnical balance Working in post-conflict communities that are at the same time multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious always requires that specific attention is given to the balance between all these aspects whenever you are creating a group. In communities such as Kumanovo, Lipkovo and Staro Nagorichane, where we have witnessed smaller and bigger scale conflicts building up the tensions between the different communities (especially Macedonians and Albanians), a clear division and segregation has been created between the two. It has led to both institutional (for example different schools where the pupils learn) and social segregation (different places for going out, living in different parts of

town, etc.) which going through the years has been seemingly escalating in spite the many efforts of non-governmental organizations and individuals working on the topic. Having said that, it is crucial that when creating a group that will be working together an ethnical, cultural, religious and lingual balance is taken into account, creating the space for expression of all the individuals without fear or shame of ‘othering’, but also to create a space for common learning and understanding of the many similarities that the individuals have – in spite their background. Motivation and group complementarity (expertise wise) One aspect is often neglected when creating a group coming from an ethnically, socially, religious, economic and geographical different areas, and that is the motivation and the group complementarity in terms of their experience and knowledge. When creating a group it is very important to know why this young person wants to join (or even not join) your group or educational process, and how each of the selected individuals can contribute to the cohesion in the group but also to the educational aspect, discussions and peer learning.

But in order for you to take into account all these elements when creating a group, you must first reach out to the young people. When doing so, it is crucial that you do not forget that you are targeting both formal and informal leaders. Formal leaders are those that can often be reached out to through the schools, they are engaged in many sections and study groups, they have attended many different workshops and non-formal education trainings before and very often they are the ones that when reaching out to the school will be pointed out by the teachers.

In Informal leaders on the other hand can be the quiet individuals that love to read, the youngsters that painted the school graffiti, the most popular ones in school, or even the class clowns. They are the individuals that stand out and that other youngsters want to be near to – be part of their group.

The Youth Call started out like this too! Firstly, the promotion started online. The team working on the project from the side of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) developed the promotional strategy that would include both promotions online and offline. As part of the promotional strategy, different promotional designs were developed, as well as the outreach designs, posts and calls for publishing online. Following the strategy, the promotion tools followed two directions: (1) Offline promotion in the schools in Kumanovo and Lipkovo. Both schools learning in Macedonian and Albanian were targeted, ensuring the necessary outreach to young people living in Kumanovo, Lipkovo and Staro Nagorichane. The offline promotion started with meetings with the administrational staff in the high schools. On these meetings the school staff was introduced with the project idea and objectives, as well as the long term plan for the project activities and involvement of the schools and the students. This ensured that the team was granted access to the school and the students in order to promote the call. (2) Parallel to the offline promotion an online promotion also took place, mainly targeting young people through social media. Once the process of the promotion was finished a core group of 20 motivated youngsters was selected, and the Youth Call officially stared!

Capacity building of the Youth Call core group

Youth Workshop – Capacity building 5-day training in Ohrid The first activity as part of the Youth Call capacity building process was the Youth workshop that took place as a Capacity-building 5-day training for the selected 20 youngsters. As this was the first activity where the entire group met, it was very important that at this point the programme focused on the group creation and getting to know each other. This first part was the base ground to forming of the group cohesion and it gave the space for each individual participant to feel safe with the rest of the group, and enjoy their time within the Youth Call process. Once the group was created, the focus of the programme shifted towards intercultural dialogue and learning, trust-building, human rights and community resilience. Covering these topics ensured that the group felt safer with each other, and the participants felt comfortable to ask questions and at the same time question the narratives that exist within the community connected to the ‘othering’ of those different than us. In the second part of the programme youth activism was explored. The group talked about community and youth leadership and its connection to the Youth Call, as well as and their engagement within the process. Due to the many topics that needed to be covered in the first training, the educational team consisted from four trainers each covering specific elements of the programme and complementing each other within the same. Moreover, all the sessions were developed jointly, making sure that there is a flow between the programme, and that each session feeds into the next.

An important aspect of the youth workshop was the bilingual approach, that would later follow throughout the entire Youth Call. All the sessions were conducted bilingually, ensuring that the programme is understandable for all the participants. It is interesting to mention that the facilitators were co-facilitating bilingually and not translating, ensuring that there is not a feeling that one language is more important than the other – but that both the languages are complementary to each other. Besides the language it was important to make sure that the educational team also consisted of individuals that are coming from different ethnicities, in order to make sure that they understand not only the language but also the cultural context of creating a cohesive multicultural and multi-ethnic group.

Short term capacity building trainings After the Youth Workshop in Ohrid, the capacity building continued with the development of participants’ competences through a few short 2-day trainings. The aim of this trainings was to bring different experts and trainers both from CID and from CID partner organizations that would cover more in-depth different topics such as leadership, advocacy, cooperation with stakeholders, project cycle management, campaigning and promotion, and mentoring. These topics were chosen due to the nature of the Youth Call and the responsibilities that the youngsters would have as part of the core group that would later need to work on the development of the call for initiatives, promotion of the call, granting and mentoring of other youngsters (their peers). The first set of short term capacity building trainings was 3 different 2-day trainings taking place within the Youth Center MultiКулти in Kumanovo, and the final training was a combination of two 2-day trainings (total of one 4 day training) that took place in Kratovo.

All of these trainings were very important for the group cohesion and for keeping the level of motivation within the group for the Youth Call, but also served as a medium for the young people to ask questions to different experts in the field and learn from their experience to work with Youth Advocacy and empowerment in North Macedonia.

Opening of the Youth Call, regranting process, mentorship and initiatives implementation

After the capacity building trainings, the Youth Call leaders were ready to begin their journey into mentoring and regranting other groups of young people in the implementation of their initiatives. They started off with defining the priorities of the call: (1) Quality education (2) Fight against discrimination and inequality; (3) Improving the cultural and social life of young people in the society; (4) Access to youth rights (transport, political participation, participation in the school system, access for persons with disabilities to public institutions, etc.).

After they had the priorities defined, the Youth Call leaders then started to develop the promotion plan, and design the promotional materials. The application procedure and application form were also developed. It was very important that at this stage the Youth Call leaders got the necessary support from the CID team, as well as get access to different materials, plans and digital tools for the realization of their promotional plan.

The promotion was done both online and offline. The Youth Call leaders grouped in teams and had different promotional activities in schools for their peers – both in class and during the school breaks. Moreover, they also promoted the Youth Call on social media, through a designated Instagram profile and Facebook page for the call. Additionally, they also targeted their friends on social media through posting and engaging on their personal social media profiles. As such, the Youth Call leaders managed to reach more than 2000 young people from Kumanovo, Lipkovo and Staro Nagorichane to hear about the call, and to become interested in the same. As a result, after the finishing of the deadline, the Youth Call had about 10 applications that were fulfilling the criteria and were eligible for the same. They evaluated all the eligible applications and decided to endorse 5 with their mentoring and financial support. After the selection procedure was finalized, the Youth Call leaders and youngsters that had their initiatives granted dedicated 1-3 months (depending on the initiative) in preparations for the implementation phase. Throughout this time, the Youth Call leaders supported the youngsters logistically and in the planning phase by mentoring and knowledge transfer, but also were monitoring the entire process through different meetings. Once all the preparations were finalized, the youngsters started with their initiative implementation.

The following initiatives were granted as part of the Youth Call:

(1) Girl UP! Club What? A club for young girls inspired by the Girl up movement aiming to advance girls’ skills, rights and opportunities to be leaders in the community.

Who? A group of young girls from Kumanovo, Lipkovo and Staro Nagorichane, were the core group organizing and starting the Girl UP! Club. How? The objective of this initiative was to create a safe space for young women and girls, where they would advance their skills and competences, but also rights and opportunities for becoming leaders in their communities and beyond. Before the decision to start this club in Kumanovo, the youngsters were insecure about the input and the achievements that they could reach knowing the environment and the segregation of the schools, as well as the difficulty of reaching and helping peers on different sensitive topics. MultiКулти is a place known from the youngsters as a safe space so that was the main reason for choosing this space to open the Girl UP! club. The club was started by bringing together young girls from different communities and backgrounds, that formed the group and planned together the future meetings and activities of the club. As part of the activities of the Girl UP! Club was an event for the International day of women in Sports where the Girl UP! Club invited successful women in sports to share their stories, motivate and inspire more young girls to believe that everything is possible once they put their mind and heart to it. Another significant day that the Girl UP! Club organized was a motivational campaign for the International Women’s Day, organized with the support of the Municipality of Kumanovo and the Local Police Unit. As part of this campaign the Girl UP! Club shared flowers and postcards with empowering quotes to women for women’s rights and equality.

(2) Human rights and scouting What? A workshop for Human rights education organized in the Primary School ‘Svetozar Markovic’ in Staro Nagorichane, and a 2-day training on the same topic taking place in the School dormitory in Dragomance. Who? The initiative was organized by young scout leaders from Kumanovo and Staro Nagorichane, using different activities and methodology of the scouts for introducing Human rights to the youngsters from the rural area of Staro Nagorichane. How? This initiative was developed in 2 phases: (1) workshops on human rights in the Primary School ‘Svetozar Markovic’ with around 30 students taking part in different non-formal educational activities, group discussions and games for introducing the Human Rights and Children’s Rights. The second phase (2) was 2-day training, taking place in the School Dormitory in the village Dragomance. During this 2-day residential training the participants familiarized themselves with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and had a chance to discuss these rights and reflect on them in their local community. Moreover, during the training the participants learned about the means and mechanisms for the protection of their rights and how they can address the same. This initiative also had an advocacy element to the same, focusing on meetings with the Mayor of Staro Nagorichane and the school principal of primary school ‘Hristijan T. Karposh’ in the village Dragomance and ‘Svetozar Markovic’ in Staro Nagorichane, all aiming to raise awareness of the need for Human Rights education especially with primary school students and the advocacy for their continuous support and interest in organizing workshops on the topic both by the school, NGOs and different youth individuals working on the topic of Human Rights.

(3) Freedom of movement applies to all! What? Advocacy campaign for access of people with disabilities to public institutions Who? The initiative was organized by a group of young people from Kumanovo (both Macedonian and Albanian)

How? The advocacy initiative started by making a short video for raising awareness about the (lack of) infrastructure and the difficulties that people with disabilities (especially with mobility disabilities) are facing in Kumanovo. The group of young people filmed the most frequented locations in the city center showing that the streets, institutions, schools, bars were not friendly for people with disabilities. After finalizing the video, the same was shared on YouTube from where it was shared further with the wider audience. The advocacy initiative later continued with a meeting with the Mayor of Kumanovo, in order to ensure that the need for improvements in the infrastructure was much needed in the municipality, and that in order to do so the municipality needs to take a sustainable and serious approach towards ensuring accessibility and movement, and in the same time access to their rights to all people from Kumanovo. As a follow-up activity that was agreed with the Mayor of Kumanovo, was that the young people provide their input to the city administration for drafting a plan that would further on be taken to the City Council and will serve as a base ground for the infrastructural changes in the municipality.

(4) Critical and creative writing What? Workshops in the local High School ‘Goce Delchev’ on developing critical thinking of young people and creative writing expression Who? A group of youngsters from Kumanovo, Likovo and Staro Nagorichane, led by a young student of literature and an activist in the local theatre.

How? This campaign was based on the need to build the capacities of young people in Kumanovo, Lipkovo and Staro Nagorichane in critical thinking, and to broaden their interests and views beyond what they are studying in school. Through a set of workshops, the young high school students of Goce Delchev had the chance to explore different literary directions, writers, as well as to discuss the topics that deal with some of the greatest minds - philosophy, gender, empowerment, etc. The youngsters had the chance to put in practice expressing both orally and in writing knowing that their opinion matters on different topics, but also were encouraged to explore, read and critically assess everything that they heard, and to question any one-sided truth.

(5) Social challenges of a young person in our country What? Essay competition on the topic of ‘Social challenges of a young person in our country’

Who? This initiative was organized by a group of young high school students, studying in the Albanian language classes of the High School ‘Pero Nakov’ How? A group of young students applied to the Youth Call with an idea to start a writing competition in their school, in order to motivate young people to speak up of the issues that they are facing in connection with the (lack) of access to their social rights within the school and community as a whole. By doing so the youngsters would have a medium to express themselves without a fear of judgement from their teaches and community, but also would be able to exercise their critical thinking and expression of the same – ensuring that social rights are once again put on the agendas of schools and the local communities. This especially was encouraged through the organizing of non-formal education based discussions covering the topics of the essays, where each of the students could share their opinions out loud and express their point of view. An important element to this initiative was the collaboration of the youngsters with the school, more specifically with the literature teachers, who encouraged more of their students to take part of the competition, but also were part of the jury that was later evaluating the essays.

Support and preparation to the Youth Call leaders from the side of CID youth workers

The Youth Call targeted young people that are in the early years of high school (mainly first and second year) who didn’t have much experience in working with nonformal education, educational trainings out of school and overall did not have much experience in working in intercultural groups. Having said this, the team from CID started providing support to the selected young people for the Youth Call from their selection until the finalization of the process (and beyond). The support was given in many different forms, starting from introducing them to non-formal education, to familiarizing their teachers and parents with the purposes of intercultural learning, to replying on questions in different fields of interest for the young people and many more connected to the activities and in-formal elements of the Youth Call. This ensured that the young people felt safer and surer to take upon the challenge of participating in a long-term process, even starting such a process, even if they did not previously know anyone from the group. Moreover, the support from the side of Center for Intercultural Dialogue also came in a more informal way, by organizing get-togethers with the participants outside of the capacity building trainings, but also providing them the space and support them to organize something themselves (movie nights, game nights, karaoke events, etc.). All of these activities, both inside the MultiКулти Youth Center and outside, made sure that the youngsters stayed motivated and interested in the Youth Call.

Collaboration and support from different stakeholders in order to ensure the success and sustainability of the Youth Call (High school, Municipality)

When considering starting a Youth Call, there are many elements, challenges and obstacles that need to be considered. One of the most important ones overarching both the implementation phase, but also the sustainability for such a youth empowerment progammes is the collaboration with different stakeholders on local level – starting from the municipality, schools, local businesses and NGOs. Implementation As part of the implementation phase for the Youth call, it is very important to reach out to the relevant stakeholders when planning and implementing the youth initiatives. Doing so will ensure the support for the initiatives from the side of the stakeholders, familiarizing them with the idea of the initiatives (and the Youth Call) but also presenting them with the added value that the initiative brings for the whole society and for them as a stakeholder. Even if some stakeholders decide not to support the initiative directly, reaching out to them will ensure that they are familiarized with the same and do not block the processes and activities within. Moreover, by creating the links with different stakeholders, the young people get to put in practice their advocacy skills and actively (politically) represent their standpoints and needs to the (usually adult) decision-makers, donors and institution representatives. Sustainability Another very important element when we speak about the engagement of the stakeholders in programmes for youth empowerment and capacity building for

engagement in decision making is the sustainability that each stakeholder can potentially bring to the Youth Call. What does this mean? In simple words, it means that the Youth Call programme will be recognized by the local stakeholders as a very important youth programme in their community, ensuring that they continuously support the running of the programme, and with that ensuring the sustainability of the same beyond the engagement of one organization or donor priority. Even if the explanation is simple, the mere act of the sustainability of such programme requires the engagement and endorsement (in terms of time, financial and material resources, contacts, decision making power, and beyond) of many different stakeholders active and relevant in the community, such as the municipalities, administration, schools, businesses and non-governmental institutions. All of these above-mentioned stakeholders would ensure that: (1) They provide the space for young people to gather and have capacity building activities for other youngsters free of charge. The capacity building would be supported by the Youth Workers and non-governmental organizations working in the field; (2) They provide a financial support for their initiatives. Ideally this would be 50-50 endorsement from the side of the municipalities and the business sector; (3) They listen to the inputs and requests of the young people, by channeling them to the decision-makers both on school and municipal level (City Council and administration sectors); (4) The schools support the active engagement and Youth Participation of their pupils in matters that concern them on both school and community level, empowering and equipping them with skills and means for their voice to be heard;

(5) They communicate and coordinate with each other, aligning their efforts and community improvement priorities towards the active engagement of young people within the community itself. By ensuring that all of these elements are taken into account and respected, the Youth Call would become a self-sustainable programme where young people will be able to define their priorities, share their knowledge and experience with their peers, but also will have their voice heard and accepted as relevant by the adults within their community. By doing so, we will ensure that we have healthy societies, respectful of different individual and group needs, that live in cohesion, integrity and solidarity towards all.

Stakeholder’s meeting In order to set the base ground for such a programme in Kumanovo, Lipkovo and Staro Nagorichane, as part of the Youth Call CID organized a 2-day Stakeholders meeting bringing together mainly representatives from the city councils and municipalities, together with representatives from the school administration and teachers in local high schools. Even this was the first step towards ensuring the sustainability of the Youth Call on local level, the Stakeholders meeting was quite successful in terms of: The stakeholders recognizing their role as focal points and a key link between the authorities and young people in the process of implementing youth-led initiatives; The schools engaged to improve and maintain good communication between each other, especially those with students from ethnically diverse backgrounds; The different stakeholders present put on disposal their capacities to mentor and support the implementation of the youth initiatives as part of this Youth Call; The stakeholders present stated their willingness to engage and be involved in possible follow up stages of the Youth Call.

Recommendations for policy makers

Recommendations for policy-makers for addressing the need and sustainability of the Youth Call The Youth Call – Enhancing Youth Participation in multiethnic democratic societies explored the possibilities for continuous support and implementation of the Youth call, as a structured programme embedded within the communities, with a continuous support from the relevant stakeholders on local level. Following the same, the following recommendations for policy-makers were developed, addressing the need for sustainability of the Youth Call.

(A) Purpose and scope of the recommendations The purpose behind the recommendations is to address the need for having the Youth Call as a programme for systematic support of greater Youth Participation on local level, and a programme where young people have the decision making power to distribute the local budget for youth-related priorities and initiatives. Moreover, the implementation of the recommendations on local level in North Macedonia, would ensure the enhancement of Youth Participation in the policy creation processes (both concerning youth and the general public), ongoing mapping and prioritization of youth interests on local level, as well as intergenerational and multistakeholder partnership for the support of young people to take an active role within the decision making and policy making processes on local level.

The recommendations have been developed as part of the Youth Call – Enhancing youth participation in multiethnic democratic societies, by joining the inputs both from the young people taking part in the process and the different stakeholders that CID has been working with throughout the project. The recommendations themselves look at existing policies and practices, but also explore the connection between the Youth Call and the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policy that has been adopted in early 2020. (B) Principles The recommendations are built on the principles of: Equality, equal opportunities and no discrimination; Transparency within all the structures of decision making on local level; Multiculturalism, interculturalism and inclusivity of Youth Participation; Multi-stakeholder approach towards the increase of systematic support for greater Youth Participation; Recognition of the youth role within the society as active contributors.

Both the Youth Call and the development of these recommendations derive from the principles of voluntary and active participation of young people, equality in access to opportunities and rights. They are youth-centered, rights-based and inclusive towards all young people, their needs and ingenuity.

(C) Measures In order to establish a sustainable and youth-centered Youth Call, the local governments and policy-makers are invited to implement the following recommendations:

1. Dedicate a part of the budget for the implementation of the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policy on local level towards the sustainability of the Youth Call. This would ensure that a part of the designated 0.1% of the total budget of the municipalities on yearly basis would be directed towards the establishment and financial sustainability of youth participation structures and systems for decision making for funding of youth initiatives on local level. 2. Establish a direct link between the Youth Call leaders/structure and the Municipal Youth Officer, where the Youth Officer would be an uninterrupted and continuous contact with all the relevant stakeholders on local level, when it comes to the implementation of the youth-led initiatives and defining of the youth priorities. The Youth Officer would be the point-blank for the communication establishment with the schools, municipal and city administration, different businesses and nongovernmental organizations, and as such would follow the main purpose of the existence of the Municipal Youth Office. 3. Establish a link between the work of the Local Youth Council and the Youth Call. The advocacy work of the Local Youth Council can be always in sync with the needs defined with the Youth Call, but also of the advocacy element of the youth initiatives. By the establishment of this connection, the Municipalities will make sure that all the youth structures on local level are connected and interlinked, and that the needs of all young people are conveyed towards the City Council members, and are taken into consideration when drafting the Local Youth Strategy and the Action Plan for the implementation of the Local Youth Strategy. On national level, the Government and national level policy-makers are invited to: Review the existing taxation policies and include tax relief for businesses donating towards the Youth Call and youth initiatives on local level. This will ensure that the taxes from the local based companies are invested within the young people in that community, contributing to their active involvement in the same

About the project

Name of the project: Promoting Youth Activism in Multiethnic Communities Supported by: National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Period: 01.04. 2019 – 31.03.2020 Description: This project is directly addressing the core needs for the local reality in Kumanovo, Staro Nagoricane and Lipkovo through promoting social cohesion between diverse ethnicities of Kumanovo and the region which is of high importance for a post-conflict but multicultural, multiethnic and multireligious region. Following an open call for applications, CID selected a group of 20 youth leaders, from 15 to 20 years old, from four multiethnic communities in North Macedonia to participate in a five-day workshop, followed by series of 5 two-day interactive trainings on the topics of democratic values and principles, human rights, leadership, community resilience, intercultural dialogue and community trust-building. The fiveday training was the first training and focused on creating team spirit and cohesion, as well as human rights principles and values, while the two-day training focused on specific topics such as: democracy, active youth participation, leadership, community resilience, intercultural dialogue, community trust-building, volunteering, advocacy and project management. The trainings created a ground base of knowledge and skills on these topics and provided a space for young people to reflect on their common needs tht need to be advocated in front of the local authorities, as well as to map out the main challenges related to youth issues in the community.After the trainings, based on their engagement and potential 10 of the trained young people were selected to become the Youth Call Leaders and mentor other youngsters from their communities to create and implement their own initiatives, using the resources

from the Youth Call. The Youth Call serves as a platform for youngsters to become the mentors and multipliers of democratic values to their peers, as well will empower youth to self-sustainably manage small scale grants and programmes. The Youth Call granted 5 youth initiatives that took place in one of the 3 targeted municipalities – Kumanovo, Staro Nagoricane and Lipkovo. A crucial part of this project was the roundtable which gathered the Youth Call Leaders and stakeholders for a mutual discussion on the needs and ideas of the young people and what the stakeholders can do to support them. The idea is to provide support and financial sustainability for the Youth Call so that it doesn’t finish with the end of this project, but to continue to be functional for other young people with ideas and initiatives to be able to use it.

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About Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID)

Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) is a civil society organization working to promote intercultural acceptance and active citizenship through capacity building processes, education and youth work. The organization’s activity focuses on many aspects which are of interest for young people: from provision of services and information, to research and support for policy-making and networking.

CID is working to create diverse responsible and cooperative communities where citizens are actively contributing to the social development and integration. Our mission is to ensure sustainable community development by creating opportunities for quality engagement of civil society, advancing learning opportunities, and active involvement of young people and other citizens.

More about CID can be found on:

About the author

Dragana Jovanovska is currently working on European level as a Programme manager of the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU). Until recently she has been working on local level and national level in Kumanovo and North Macedonia, as part of Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) in her capacity as the Executive director of the organization. Dragana is an experienced educator working with non-formal education with young people and adults on a local, national and international level, with her focus being on human rights education, inclusion, youth participation, intercultural dialogue and prevention.

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