Centre for the Research of Ethnicity and Culture (CVEK)
The project will increase civic engagement and participation of young people from vulnerable groups through their involvement in an action group. The project will provide them with tailor-made mentoring and education developing their skills important for participation (e.g. communication, advocacy, fundraising, project drafting etc.). We will connect vulnerable youth with institutions (municipalities, NGOs), help them understand each other, and foster their cooperation on civic activities.
Bratislava, capital, a city with the most diverse population in Slovakia.
The culture of participation is still underdeveloped in Slovakia. Young people are often viewed as immature to take part in decision-making processes and civic activities. And yet, they are expected to be active citizens once they reach adulthood. Up to 70% of youth think their voice is not heard in society and 90% think they should have a say. Our project will address this gap between the expectations and the lack of opportunities for young people to learn and practice participation. We will reflect on barriers that youth from minorities face in participation and will work towards their empowerment and development of their skills and capacities to fully engage in society.
The project will connect young people from different backgrounds in the Bratislava region. We will focus specifically on strengthening engagement of young people from vulnerable groups such as migrants, Roma, young people with disabilities, identifying as LGBTI or from impoverished households. Young people from the majority and from vulnerable groups rarely interact with each other, let alone cooperate. Youth from vulnerable groups usually lack skills, knowledge and often also confidence to engage in civic activities. We will work directly and intensively with 15 young people from different backgrounds but will target a larger population of roughly 500 young people (30 through research activities and 450+ through PR and communication activities and through dissemination of our results).
First, we will conduct 30 individual interviews with young people from vulnerable groups (ethnic minorities, migrants, LGBTI, disabilities, etc) to research their needs, barriers in participation and voice they have in society. We will explore their expectations from institutions and chances to participate in community life.
Based on the findings we will create an action group of roughly 15 young people from diverse backgrounds. Regular meetings of the group will focus on mentoring and empowerment. Experts and practitioners will be invited to help them improve skills in communication, fundraising, advocacy, etc.
With our guidance members of the action group will work on their small participatory project ideas. We will help them find support (financial and/or institutional) for their implementation.
We will also connect the action group with different institutions - schools, local governments, NGOs, MPs. The action group will present and advocate for their project ideas and try to find support for their implementation capitalizing on skills gained in the meetings.
Finally, the action group will create a small video campaign, the main message being „Listen to us“. The goal will be to raise the voice of youth and to present their ideas on how they, as diverse young people from marginalized groups, can be active citizens and make a difference in their local communities.
The project will empower youth from vulnerable groups and will build bridges between them and youth from the majority on one hand and institutions (schools, municipalities, NGOs) on the other. The project will improve young people´s communication skills (presenting and advocating for their ideas in formal settings), fundraising skills (finding support for implementation of their ideas) and build their confidence. Working together in the action group will enable diverse young people to find common ground for action and strengthen the voice they would have as separate groups. Connecting youth from minorities with institutions will improve their civic engagement and institutional trust. It could also help change institutional processes towards inclusion of vulnerable groups in participation.
First, we will provide mentoring for a group of minority youth to develop their skills and capacities. It will involve introduction of participation processes, sharing real examples of youth´s participation, development of their own participatory project ideas – discussions, comments and recommendations within the action group as well as expert advice and feedback.
Second, we will connect members of the action group and public bodies they may encounter in their future participatory activities. We will arrange meetings with other relevant institutions (NGOs, donors) that may provide insight into participation. This can help institutions understand barriers minority youth face in participation and change their processes towards greater involvement of vulnerable groups in decision-making.
CVEK is an NGO focusing on research and educational activities in the area of minority rights and status. Our team is composed of sociologists, a social psychologist and a social worker. We firmly believe that being a full-fledged member of society means you have a voice in it which is not the case for minorities. That is why we decided to research and advocate for the participation of vulnerable groups in decision-making (we published 12 case studies on the topic). In the last 6 years, we have worked with several municipalities (including Bratislava) helping them grasp the notion of inclusion and participation of migrants and other vulnerable groups. The work included training and facilitation of minority groups´ participation in policy making on the local level (the town of Svidník).
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Project management: 4800EUR
Lectures and training: 10000EUR
Goods (refreshments, office supplies, print): 800EUR
Services (research): 9800EUR
Travel costs: 400EUR
Rent of premises: 910EUR
Other personal costs: 3000EUR
Administration and finance management: 4800EUR
TOTAL COSTS: 34510EUR
We would welcome examples of participation of minority youth that could inspire youth involved in our project. We would appreciate information on successful cases of participation of vulnerable groups in civic activities as well as critical reflection on drivers and barriers of participation.