Asociația Informală a Vocilor pentru Incluziune
Since October 2019 we are building small-scale independent, volunteering-based, youth-centered press hubs in four different communities in Romania. Our first and largest community is based in Botoșani (North-Eastern Romania). The program selects willing candidates, who become a part of the local AIVImedia.hub, where we train and mentor them to document & realize press materials about their local community, with a focus on inspiring initiatives, young entrepreneurs, and educational projects.
Botoșani, North-Eastern Romania
Botoșani is a city of great potential and many initiatives that go unnoticed due to the absence of a strong civil society component and of organizations able to inspire people into cohesion. There are few opportunities for youth volunteering or involvement, and apart from some cultural initiatives mostly accessible to higher-lever schools there is next to nothing in terms of non-formal education, civic engagement opportunities, and action calls. Young people face a lot of social challenges, with many forced to commute from (not so) close rural areas to reach education and entertainment.
We are already working with a local high school, whose students are among the volunteer journalists we are training and mentoring to document and tell stories from their local communities. However, we feel that we need to extend our reach, and to get through to more youth from various (high) schools in the city. Therefore, we'd like to set up a permanent hub where our (currently online, due to the coronavirus pandemic) workshops and boot camps could take place, and where we can engage volunteers coming from all parts of the city, with their stories to tell and their problems to address. Cohesion, social inclusion, and mostly civic engagement beyond ethnical and social differences are our goals.
The group of people we are working with is formed by high school students (ages 15-19), but we'd like and have the resources to adjust our programs for younger people, too. At the same time, we target seniors, or elder adults, who are a strong component of the society there (and everywhere) and should be involved in more inter-generational projects. As far as audience is concerned, we aim at national level, mostly to try and wipe off the stigma that has affected the city and the region for many years; people there are vastly considered poor, not so well-educated, and lacking positive futures.
Fall 2020: Setting up a new media.hub, with components from any part of the city/any school interested to join in
Organizing the first (online or offline) meetings with the volunteers
Planning and pacing together the publishing intentions: keep updating the platform & also go offline, in print, maybe monthly, and publishing an independent city magazine by youth
Winter 2020: First reactions after the series of workshops we have already started and signed up professionals to keep doing
Boot camp to create and publish the first magazine issue
Launch event with local actors & World Cafe-type event
Spring 2021: The hub is ON. We have active volunteers who can already train other people to become a part of it.
Caravans in the region. Capsules of 1-2 days worth of workshops.
First of all, we'd have a physical base. We'd have a small hub where volunteers can come and go, a hub to hold workshops at and to act as an independent press room for youth (and seniors).
Second, we'd already have published enough articles on our website, and two-four printed magazines to attract the general public's attention, and we can focus on organizing the caravans in the nearby communities and to create the boot camps on community journalism and civic engagement.
We believe that strengthening democracy in a key area such as the NE Romania, where there are many outside influences, particularly found in a border city, is crucial to help Europe in winning more visionary citizens, who are open-minded, think globally to act locally, and know how to promote their region, its products and services, as well as its human capital, national- and worldwide.
As previously said, for years and years we've seen the region and its cities being rolled in the mass media mud, becoming a target for jokes and irony, and generating lots of hate speech and discriminating statements. We know the cultural, social, and economic potential of the city and we strongly believe that joining youth and seniors in learning what rights they have, how community development looks like, and what are the tools they can all access to move on is the key to a more self-sustainable and independent future.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
(For one year)
Office expenses --- 4000 EUR
Travel & accommodation --- 6000 EUR
Personnel costs --- 24000 EUR
(This would cover the two main trainers' and most of the guests' fees)
Licences, applications & permissions --- 6000 EUR
Public relations --- 4000 EUR
Have you seen something similar to our initiative being implemented in your community? How did it work? What was the impact? What have you learned?