Civic education is the backbone of a strong civil society in which human rights and rule of law are fundamental. There is a growing tendency of lack of interest of young people into participating in democratic processes on a local and national level. The current project for Global Leadership Academy aims at showing to young people aged 16-26 different processes of civil engagement and why their participation matters.
Within the last few years Smolyan has faced many economical and demographic problems. Young people leave the town as soon as they graduate from school in search of new career opportunities and better living standarts. The lack not only of options for career development but also opportunities for cultural and sport activities to manage their work-social life balance have led to migration of many young citizens of Smolyan. Due to its geographical border location and cultural history the town of Smolyan has the potential to be transformed into international hub of active citizenship trainings and educational programmes for young Europeans, which will strenghten democracy for Smolyan citizens and will also turn the town into live, dynamic and touristic location.
The Global Leadership Academy will include four trainings in Smolyan Rudozem, Chepelare and Dospat reaching out to the young people (16-26) in those areas. It will include trainings on civic rights, structure dialogue with local authorities, democratic participation in local politics. The methodology of the trainings will be designed by political scientists and professional facilitators. It will include lectures with experts, workshops, discussions, simulations of local council meetings, councils and general assemblies of international organisations. Participants will form teams and start their own project with a focus on bulding sustainable local community and finding a solution to a local problem, which they will implement together with the help of a mentor following the Academy.
The main target group of the project will be young people aged 16-26. The direct beneficiaries of all trainings will be 80 young people in the Smolyan region. The project will also directly involve local authorities, journalists and local activists. They will take part into structure dialogue, discussions and workshops with the youth.
Indirect beneficiaries will be parents and teachers, as well as fellow students to the participants in the Global Leadership Academy. Other stakeholders will be also local business, organisations and media.
The implementation of this idea stems from the partnership with local organisations. Together with its local partner the Atlantic Club will initiate an open selection procedure for the young particiapants who will take part in the local one-week trainings. Upon selection young people will name one most pressing issue and challenge in their local area which they think should be solved and which is of critical importance to the development of their community.
These issues will be included into the structure of the methodology of the trainings, as within the scope of the one-week training participants will examine these local challenges and via which methods, approaches and civil initiatives, they can reach their solution.
The main results which the projects seeks are empowering young leaders of local communities to be drivers of change, based on their knowledge in democratic processes and civil engagement. A year after the project 80 young people in the area of Smolyan will be educated and trained on the main democratic proceses and will have experience in working with team and findging solutions to the local problems of their communities. Another results which the project will be seeking is establishing better communication between young people from the civil society and the local authorities.
As a result of the proactive initiatives of the local young leaders, local authorities will also work in a more transparent way.
This idea is designed to introduce young people to basic democratic processes on a local, national and European level. As Bulgaria is member of the EU for more than 10 years, EU democratic values are indispensable part of the implementation of the current idea. The methodology of the four trainings from the Global Leadership Academy will include lectures, workshops and trainings on European values, EU citizenship and the rights and obligations embedded to it, European Citizenens' Initiative, etc.
My mission, embedded to the mission of the Atlantic Club is to work to bring a change in Bulgaria and turn the country into a sustanable place for living for Europeans, who can have a good living standart, opportunities for career development and social initiatives. Our organisation has turned into a key factor of political change in the capital since 1991, but the change comes with hard work on a local level. Working with local communities in economically underdeveloped areas or areas across Bulgaria with societal challenges or difficult access to education, has brought valuable experience for our team.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
office expenses 6000 EUR
travel and accommodation of team members, facilitators and lecturers 14 400 EUR
coffee breaks and lunch for 80 participants for four academies = 9 200 EUR
public relations 4000 EUR
educational materials 3500 EUR
facilitators and lecture fees - 7900 EUR
personnel costs - 3000 EUR