Rural Voices 1/2016

Page 1

01 / 2016 17 New challenges New ways!

The Rural Youth Europe Magazine

Junior Event 6


Rural Youth Project 2015

Rural Youth Europe Rural Youth Europe (RYEurope) is a European nongovernmental organisation for rural youth. Established in 1957, it is an umbrella for youth organisations working to promote and activate young people in the countryside. It provides international training possibilities and works as an intermediary between national organisations and youth organisations and public institutions at the European level. Rural Youth Europe is a member-led organisation: democratically constituted, the organisation is led by young people for young people. Rural Youth Europe unites 21 member organisations across 18 European countries. The membership base is over 500,000 young people who either live in rural areas or have an interest in rural life. If your organisation is interested to join Rural Youth Europe or you would like more information about our events, please contact or check our website

Rural Voices Rural Voices is published by Rural Youth Europe. Views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of Rural Youth Europe. Text may include informal translations of statements and documents. Reproduction of articles is authorised provided the source is quoted and copies of the article are sent to Rural Youth Europe. This newsletter is published with the support of the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and Erasmus+ of European Commission. The editors express their gratitude for all received articles and encourage every member organisation to contribute and to enrich this magazine. SECRETARY GENERAL: Jenni Heinonen RESPONSIBLE EDITORS: Mikko Välitalo, Emma Silén ADDRESS: Karjalankatu 2A, 00520 Helsinki, Finland PHONE: + 358 45 234 5629 E-MAIL: office@rural WEBSITE: CONCEPT & LAYOUT: Júlia Hentz PHOTO-CREDITS: Rural Youth Europe, its members and participants of events

CONTENT 3 E d i t o r ’s n o t e 4 -5 G oin g o n in Europe 6 -9 J u ni o r Eve nt 1 0 -15 R u r a l Yo u t h P r o j e c t 2 0 15 16 J o b o p o l y 17 N e w c h a l l e n g e s - new ways! 18 -19 G r e e t i n g s f r o m MOs 20 Calendar

Putting effor t on trainings pays off – for par ticipants and organisers I have shared my volunteering experiences here many times before. Still, I end up doing it again. I was part of the prep team for the second junior event Your Choice that was held in Turku, Finland during Easter. The process was long and made me feel many different emotions. First I was afraid of the topic. What do I know about gender equality? Are young people really interested in this? How can I contribute to the participants’ learning process? During the prep team meeting in Helsinki I noticed that the topic turned out to be interesting and useful, even though it is still was challenging. Together with the other prep team members we created a programme that we found interesting. We created sessions about their attitudes, defined key concepts, discussed gender equality in working life and youth organisations and encouraged them to follow their dreams. Volunteering is something I really enjoy. But to combine it with daily work is sometimes both challenging and stressful. But right away when I arrived in Turku I got into a good mood. The feeling is just great! The way these young people took part in the discussions surprised me and made me feel that this is important for them. In addition, there was much to learn for myself. After the event I felt really happy. We made it! I made it! A big thank you to the other prep team members and especially the participants. Your effort made the event a success! I want to wish enjoyable and relaxing summer for all of you! Mikko Välitalo Board member

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Estonian 4H celebrates its 25th anniversar y w ith mascot Huber t. Estonian 4H celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Throughout the year there will be carried out an information campaign named after their mascot. Mascot mouse-Hubert will go on a nationwide birthday tour to celebrate their organisation`s birthday with Estonian kids. You may see Hubert in schools, open youth centres, local streets, village centres and so on. Hubert adventures with members and will also seek new active kids who would like to join Estonian 4H. Hubert introduces the possibilities in Estonian 4H and a range of rural activities – he will show that it’s fun to live in rural areas. Hubert will teach how to make butter from cream, tell the difference between different varieties of corn, farm animals and agricultural implements by games and contests. You can keep an eye on Hubert’s journey on his Facebook page.

Going on in Europe E u r o p e a n R a l l y U l s t e r 2 0 16 – ‘ B r i d g i n g D i v e r s i t y, G r o w i n g To g e t h e r ’ YFCU and Rural Youth Europe warmly invite you to attend the European Rally 2016 that will be held from 30th July 2016 to 6th August 2016 at CAFRE - Greenmount Campus, Antrim, Northern Ireland.


The international prep weekend was held on 19th/20th March in Belfast where the YFCU prep team welcomed members from Landjugend Austria, and Latvia 4H, along with Rural Youth Board members to go through the rally plans for 30th July – 6th August. The International Prep team got to visit Greenmount and experience the rally venue and all the facilities we have on offer. The YFCU look forward to investigating the theme, ‘Bridging Diversity, Growing Together’ and the outcomes from the workshops. The venue of the European Rally 2016 will be the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise Greenmount Campus near the town of Antrim and not far from the United Kingdoms largest lake, Lough Neagh. The college is only 3 miles (5km) from Belfast International Airport, 21 miles (34km) from Belfast City Airport and 11 miles (17km) from Larne Harbour. The Call for Participants has now been published on Rural Youth Europe website. If you have any further questions please contact Rural Youth Europe office on

R u r a l Yo u t h Europe represents its members at E u r o p e a n Yo u t h Fo r u m A delegation from Rural Youth Europe (RYEurope) recently attended the European Youth Forum’s (YFJ) Council of Member’s Meeting (COMEM) in Brussels. The four-day event saw representatives from over 150 different international nongovernmental youth organisations (INGYOs) come together to discuss pressing issues affecting young people from across European society. Speaking after the event, RYEurope representative, Geoff Thompson had the following to say, “The EYF Council of Member’s Meeting was another opportunity for RYEurope to represent our member’s views and to ensure that the concerns of young people from a rural background are being voiced at the highest level of the European democratic process. During the event, the council voted on several policy papers on topics such as equality, non-discrimination, youth autonomy and inclusion and wherever possible we did our utmost to ensure that the concerns of our members were being voiced and included in the process.” Geoff continued, “In addition to representing the concerns of our members, the COMEM offered an opportunity for RYEurope to build upon existing relations with other INGYOs in order to ensure continued collaboration and to strengthen relationships with our partner organisations.

Rural Youth Europe member, Geoff Thompson, with president of MIJARC, Veronika Nordhus.


This year’s junior event was located in Turku, western Finland. There were 18 participants, aged between 14 and 17 years from Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Slovenia. The main topic of the event was gender equality.


The event was one of the most inspiring experiences of our lives. We have learnt so much about how important it is to respect people regardless their sex, gender and religion. We realised that we often judge people by their appearance, even if we do not want to. This made us think about how our society is built and how our lifestyle affects both our social and working life. Discovering that a lot of women in the world still have a sense of inferiority, gave us encouragement to follow our hearts. We have the opportunity to fulfil our dreams and we have to appreciate that, because some people do not have the chance of doing this. Even though the law is completely equal for everybody, people’s actions make it look unequal. We think that if we change the way of our thinking we can make a difference in the world and make a lot of people feel better about them.

“I liked how everyone just was together, like we had known each other for more than a day. People came along and it was so incredible! The sauna was pretty great, too!”

“I have opened my eyes a lot more, I can see things I didn’t see or knew before. I thought the world was very equal and there were no problems. But now, I’m motivated to make a difference!“

We recommend that everyone should participate in an event like this, because it is an amazing opportunity to share your opinions with other young people from all around Europe. We gained a lot of new experiences in speaking English, public presentations and expressing our opinions. We had a really good time in Finland while playing board games late in the night, enjoying sauna and also swimming in the cold sea. Of course we also met lots of new friends None of these experiences would have been possible, if we did not have such an amazing prep-team supporting us as we were learning a lot and having fun at the same time. They helped us to achieve the goals we set to ourselves at the beginning of the event. Hopefully we will all stay good friends and together make a difference in the world. Katja Koren (Slovenia) and Magnus Kjelaas (Norway)


The outcomes of the Junior Event “Your Choice – Rural Opportunities Regardless Gender” were broad according to the feedback after the event. The outcomes are on several different levels; an individual level as well as an organisational and European level.

“I can see things form another perspective.”

Junior Event - Learning Outcomes


The programme for the event was built so that a stable foundation and understanding of the topic was created. Creating common definitions helped the event take a step forward and the participants’ learning curves to start growing. Having common definitions eased the understanding of e.g. the difference between sex and gender. Since no one had English as their mother tongue discussions about nuances and differences in the different languages was rewarding. In some languages the word for sex and gender is the same, which in the beginning caused some confusion. Simply put we defined sex as the biological parts and gender as the social construction. We also discovered differences in attitudes towards genders. A big learning point was that what is defined as feminine and masculine is very personal and there is not really a right and wrong answer. Also that people think and view gender differently depending on their experiences and attitudes was brought to discussion. In the debate session we learned alot about researching, presenting arguments and debating. To see things from (at least) two sides was also helpful when creating a bigger understanding on gender related inequalities in the society. It was also great to learn general debating skills and to stand

“I got a reminder that we are all equal.”

up for your opinion felt which will hopefully be useful for the future.

“I will respect other genders more in the future.”

Human rights was also a topic of discussion. We read the rights through carefully to see whether there were some inequalities to be spotted from a gender point of view. There are a few things that could be changed to make the human rights even more gender equal. One example is that “his” should be changed to “one’s” or “your”. Another example is the now updated Article 3: “everyone has the rights to life, liberty, security and gender”. The Article 16 about equal rights to marry should also be changed so that it does not include just men and women, but also other genders. We also discovered how gender equality can be improved in NGOs. Some of the results are to make the members feel like they are heard regardless of their gender, to have activities suitable for everyone, give the leaders equal payment and let both members and leaders know how important they are for the organisation. The event was fully packed with new learning experiences and intercultural learning. Together with the arranging team we empowered each other, e.g. by learning about setting SMART goals and thinking about both our past and our future dreams and goals. All in all it was a good event with a lot of learning, and a lot of fun, of course!


We were im pre ss e d!

Such a close decision

But not only was the winning project an excellent project. During the application phase we received impressive projects from all over Europe. Youth exchange projects, public gardening, official campaigns to promote regional milk consumption, the construction of a memorial chapel etc. Outstanding projects planned, organised and implemented by rural youth, young farmers and 4H clubs to make a difference in their society. We want to say thank you for all the great applications.

After the internal evaluation from the board of the best three projects from Rural Youth St. Oswald (Austria), Rural Youth Mittersill (Austria) and Latvian Young farmers (Latvia) the scores were very close. Within the public voting we received more than 4000 votes and the projects got a great public attention. Again, it was a tight race, but in the end it was clear. St. Oswald won the Rural Youth Europe project of the year competition.

The best of the best Rural Youth Europe’s project of the year 2015! New evaluation procedure


This year, the board decided to change the evaluation process of the competition. The focus was set on the following three points: To make the application process simpler, to get a better understanding of the project and what really happened, and to give the best projects a much higher public visibility. And that is why the application form has changed a lot. After the restructuring the solution was to have less written questions and an automated presentation/video of the project instead. Due to the fact that it worked out very well, we will continue with that next year. The presentations helped us a lot to understand the project itself and its workload much better – a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Furthermore after the internal evaluation by the board the three best projects went into public voting. We wanted to have your opinion/vote included as we believe that the final decision should be made by our members. The best three projects chosen by the board were very good projects and all of them would have deserved to win.

Great pr ize Just as with the evaluation procedure, the prize has also been revised. Two places at the Junior Event (if the winners are under aged) or at the European Rally, worth €1500. It includes the complete participation of the Rally with all its expenses. We strongly believe that a great project should get appreciation and also public attention. Therefore the winners will receive the official winning certificate at the closing ceremony of the European Rally. We are already looking forward to lots more great projects for the next project of the year competition. Rural Youth Europe appreciates all the effort you put into active youth work and all these fabulous projects and ideas. Thank you for your hard work. I want to finish with the slogan of this year’s winner “together we can make a difference!” Sebastian Lassnig Board member

Some time ago we announced the winner of the Rural Youth Europe project competition 2015. This year the winner is Landjugend (Rural Youth Club) St. Oswald/Eibiswald from Austria. Being a bit more precise, St Oswald is a small town in the southwest of Styria close to the boarder of Slovenia. The rural youth club in St. Oswald organised a completely new event in their region and managed so to give their small hometown a great reputation. Just like their slogan “together we can make a difference”, they showed our society that rural youth is thinking about other people. They raised money for a young girl in their village who suffers from meningomyelocele. Rural youth made a difference there. Congratulations again to this great project.

Winner of Rural Youth Project of the Year 2015:

Koralpenlauf St. Oswald/Eibiswald, Austria 7-8 August 2015

On the 7th and 8th of August 2015 the first ‘Koralpenlauf’ took place in St. Oswald/Eibiswald. It was the first running event organised by our local Rural Youth group and a huge success. We established a totally new event in our small hometown that is now well known in the whole region. Article continues on the following pages


The first idea to organise the Koralpenlauf was born in 2013. Due to the current boom in running sports, the idea for organising a running event came quite naturally, not least because we realised that our beautiful local landscape would be the perfect stage for such an event. So we started working on the idea in more detail and it took us nearly a year, to manage the entire event-organisation. During the execution of this event we were also supported by the local volunteer fire brigade and by relatives of our members.


Emotions were running high when the first side event of the Koralpenlauf started on Friday afternoon. More than 200 guests saw a magnificent performance from the cabaret artist Marc Haller. It had begun and the first success was a great lift for all persons involved. On Saturday almost 500 runners and over 1.000 visitors attended the Koralpenlauf in St. Oswald. In times when many people do very little exercise, it is nice to show people that doing sports can be easy and lots of fun. According to our motto ‘together we can make a difference’ we also wanted to think of other people. Therefore, we decided to give € 5.- from each runner’s entryfee to a good cause. This enabled us to raise the total amount of € 2.185.- to support Lisa Lesky, a young girl in our village who suffers from meningomyelocele. Her family needs the money, to rebuild the bathroom for their daughter, so that she can do some of the most fundamental things like having a shower on her own.

It is the duty of our local Rural Youth group to take part actively in shaping our environment. St. Oswald is a very small part of the village Eibiswald. No more than 500 persons are living here. By organising the Koralpenlauf, we provided a great opportunity for our village to present itself far beyond the village borders. There were reports in different newspapers and many awards for our project like the golden panther from Rural Youth Styria and last but definitely not least the win in the RYE ‘Project of the Year’-competition

were the reward for the hard work. You can’t plan winning prizes, but if they happen, you are more than happy and proud. It was very nice to show, what is possible, if some young persons keep together on a totally new idea. The feedback of the visitors was very positive and that’s why our Rural Youth group decided, to organise a follow event. On 12th and 13th of August 2016 the next Koralpenlauf will take place in St. Oswald. Maybe some of you will take part. We are looking forward to it! Florian Mauthner


The project was done in the summer of 2015, where 15 youngsters and an adult leader went hiking for four days. During the hiking the youngsters learnt about paddling and fishing. The participants slept under the open sky. The outcomes of the project was partly to learn to appreciate the nature, and learning how to survive, but also about how much our lives nowadays are based on technology. During the hike there was no social media or other technical gadgets.


Finnish 4H Recycling roadshow by Launch Pad Kainuu

14 Forty youngsters from Slovakia, Spain, Hungary and Finland got together in Finland for 10 days in August 2015 in this Erasmus+ funded project about recycling. During the event different aspects of recycling were covered, through workshops and study visits. Best practices and good ideas about recycling culture were exchanged. Apart from learning about recycling the participants also created a good, international network.

The project “Glass of Latvia” was a campaign and reaction to a dramatic drop in milk prices in Latvia. The campaign was done through challenging individuals and NGOs to film themselves when drinking a glass of milk and then post it on social media using the hashtag #GlazeLatvijas. Approximately 50 videos were posted. The aim of the project was to open people’s eyes on how important it is to buy locally produced foods.

During the Rural Youth Project of the Year 2015 we received eight high-quality projects to judge. The winner is presented on pages 11-13. In this article we present the other projects that were received.

The exchange between Latvia and Austria gathered 30 youngsters who discovered the topic of rural entrepreneurship and youth employment. During the event the participants learnt how to pitch a business idea, how to present themselves during a job interview and thought about rural business ideas. Study visits to successful rural entrepreneurs were also made.

In 2015 the competition for finding the most innovative young farmer in Slovenia resulted in six applications. An expert committee home visited the applicants and judged according to the applicants’ innovation in the rural sector. The winner in 2015 was Matjaž Frešer, organic wine producer. The award was handed out by the Slovenian president.

The project was based on the idea that everyone in a community has a responsibility. The Landjugend club of Kilb in Austria decided to contribute to their community by founding a garden. 2000 plants of 120 different species were planted, both herbs and vegetables. Organic farming and a sense of community were key words – workshops for the people of Kilb were arranged. The project was so appreciated it will continue in 2016.


During the Study Session in Strasbourg last year one objective was to create a board game related to employability. Many hours of planning, testing, developing and testing again has now resulted in a final product; the Jobopoly board game.

Jobopoly –

the fun and educatio nal bo ard game! Together with MIJARC and receiving support from the Council of Europe the Study Session took place last October – this is where the participants worked in smaller groups to come up with the best idea to implement. After the Study Session the office worked closely with a few of the participants from the event to continue developing the game.


When we thought it was almost done it was played by some testplayers that provided constructive feedback, and so the development process continued. Then our designer Júlia started working on the drafts – here you can see the result of her creative work. The board game will be printed during the spring and sent to every member organisation of Rural Youth Europe for you to use as a fun evening activity, or for pure educational purposes, for example during an event. We hope you will like the game as much as we do!

Emma Silén Media and Communications Coordinator Rural Youth Europe

In 2017 RYEurope turns sixty years and due to that we are more than proud to look back to a very long time full of intercultural exchange, education & training opportunities for rural youth. It has been tons of great moments and unforgettable experiences for us and our members! But RYEurope hasn’t always been structured like it is today. A lot of things are different than sixty years ago and we believe that this is very good. It shows us that RYEurope has been developed further and happens to be an organisation which tried

out the new but manged to value traditions as well. Just to mention the European Rally, which has been arranged around Europe for more than 50 years already. Within the last year the board has recognised that RYEurope is facing new challenges. Like every other INGO (International Non-Governmental Organisation) we are dealing with several different external institutions on national and international level, European funders, partner organisations and of course our member organisations. Due to different reasons (new funding regulations, new requirements of members, europewide political changes ect.) the board implemented changes in the internal and external enviroment. Therefore the major desicion of a strategic reorientation was made. So what does it mean? The board and the office is analysing all internal and external processes and relationships of RYEurope with the goal to make it fit for the future. Currently we are in the middle of this strategic process and very soon we will involve our member organisations and funders, because we believe it is one of the most important step to get our stakeholders’ ideas and interests included.

Staying a strong rural youth umbrella organisation, developing new structures, opportunities and events to serve our members requires the best. RYEurope is a very unique INGO empowering young people from the countryside to open their horizons and therefore we strongly believe an adjustment to ensure future success is important. We are looking into a positive future because together we can achieve more! Sebastian Lassnig Board member – group 2

NBU Nor way For the ninth time in ten years NBU are experiencing growth in our member totals. We are looking back at a great year with lots of activities! Actually we have twice as many members in 2016 as we had in 2000. We have just completed our annual event “Vårkurs”, which is our schooling of our county board members with approx. 100 participants we had a great weekend. In the forthcoming months we are preparing for the upcoming summer event Landstevne. Landstevne is a week long festival with competitions, parties and great concerts. This years Landsstevne is located in Møre og Romsdal, a county on the west coast of Norway.

Greetings from Members

A c t i v e R u r a l Yo u t h : P r o m o t i n g Yo u t h E n t r e p r e n e u r s h i p T h r o u g h Yo u t h L e a d e r s From 19th to 23th of March there was an international training course for youth club leaders in the western part of Estonia, beautiful Tõstamaa manor. 24 participants from four countries (Estonia, Latvia, Norway and Denmark) came together for five days to educate themselves and discuss the subject of youth entrepreneurship.


From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. participants together with a trainer found key qualities of youth entrepreneurship, mapped their local enterprises,

shared experiences and found similarities and differences, mapped what has worked well, practised coaching, learned different methods, trained skills and created new forms of projects. They also had a debate and tv-show simulation game. Intercultural learning was promoted through evening programmes. In the international evening everybody made a small presentation to shortly talk about their country, national dishes, traditions and organisations. In the Estonian evening everybody was introduced to Estonian history and cinema history through a guided tour in the manor museum. The participants tasted local homemade bread and danced Estonian folk dances. The training course ended with a fancy dinner in the manor hall where participants could feel the atmosphere of 1920s through interior, costumed waiters and tableware. Everybody left in the last morning with heads full of wisdom and new thoughts, hearts full of new friends and pockets filled with youthpasses. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission Erasmus+ programme.

Latvian 4-H celebrates the 25th anniversar y since the o r g a n i s a t i o n ’s r e n e w a l On the 27th of February Latvian 4-H clubs’ representatives met at the annual conference, during which, as usual, they looked back at all that has been done during the previous year. However, this conference was special because Latvian 4-H celebrated its 25th anniversary since the organisation’s renewal in 1991. In honor of the anniversary, many decision makers (both on municipal and national level) were present to award the persons who have contributed the most to the development of the organisation. In addition, we looked back at two large-scale projects carried out in 2015 – “Augsim savam novadam” (approx. trans. Let’s Grow for our Municipality) and “Climate Language”. The project “Augsim savam novadam” brought together Latvian 4-H members and municipal decision makers in order to help them to better understand each other. During 8 meetings in 8 different municipalities the participants discussed how Latvian 4-H can help the municipality and vice versa.

Finnish 4H

In contrast, the project “Climate Language” invited Latvian 4-H members to record different observations of the nature around them, introduced childred to different experiments, and organised educational seminars for 4-H club leaders.

In Finland 4H enterprise is a smallscale business, a hobby under the guidance of a 4H instructor. There are currently around 500 of such enterprises. This is the 7th time the prize is awarded to a young entrepreneur in Finnish 4H.

The conference took place at the newly built Academic Centre for Natural Sciences of the University of Latvia. Therefore the children participating in the conference were introduced to the Centre and took part in several nature-related experiments and activities, while 4-H club leaders and municipal decision makers were involved in discussions regarding 4-H activities and possible future cooperation. We would like thank all of our local and international friends and supporters who have helped our organisation in one way or another during the last 25 years! Needless to say that we hope to continue our collaboration in the future – to make the best better!

Let us introduce Marlene, 20, 4H-enterpreneur of the year 2015 in Finland! She started her 4H-enterprise MA Nails - Marlene’s Nail studio in 2012, and since the beginning of 2016 she runs her own business, a beauty salon.

Latvian Yo u n g Fa r m er s’ Clu b ha s a new board! On February 17th in the Latvian University of Agriculture the Latvian Young Farmers’ Club held it’s 31st Congress, where the main event was election of the new Board. This year for the new board member place were 10 candidate members, but after discussions and based on the rules of our organisation, 6 members were elected. Good luck and productive work for the new board! Agita Medne Latvian Young Farmers’ Club, CEO

22-29 May, 2016, Strasbourg, France Dream it loud! Build an inclusive society for urban and rural youth! The aim of this study session is to promote an inclusive society by facilitating the access to social rights of young people coming from urban and rural areas.


Calendar EUROPEAN R A L LY 2 0 16

30 July -7 August, 2016, Northern Ireland Bridging Diversity, Growing Together Rally 2016 will look at our own personal barriers and how we overcome these in areas such as disability, race, religion, age, sexual orientation etc.

2-9 October 2016, Norway Think, love, move, do! The aim of the autumn seminar is to discover how everybody regardless of background can be included in youth organisations. This will be done through workshops about social inclusion, practical problem solving and raising awareness about inclusion for all.



News! A conference for key people in the Rural Youth Europe member organisations is preliminary planned for August/September 2017! This event would include our General Assembly 2017.