The city of Montana in Northwestern Bulgaria has a decreasing number of youth due to a high unemployment and mobility of young people towards other regions. The municipal plan for youth development is trying to respond to the challenges but can benefit if consulted with young people. The idea is young people to be engaged in a cooperative planning process together with key stakeholders and to produce an updated municipal plan for youth development visualizing a more youth friendly community.
Montana, Northwestern Bulgaria
The low opportunities the town provides to yong people makes the youth migration from Montana to other regions a specific challenge that needs to be addressed. There is a need for community mobilization and cooperative efforts to improve the quality of life and make the town youth friendly, increase the opportunities for education, youth recreation activities, culture and sport. The idea is to engage youth in cooperative planning process with key stakeholders and develop initiatives appealing to young people. This joint planning process will contribute young people to be treated with respect and to feel safe, welcome and included in the decision making process concerning their town.
The key target groups are young people 14 - 18 and 19 - 25 yeas old from the town of Montana. Shool children and young people whole graduated or dropped out school will be part invited to attend training sessions and cooperative planning process aiming at developing an action plan and community initiatives important for youth.
Key stakeholders from the areas of town administration, education, social care, culture, sport and business will be involved in the cooperative planning process.
1. Situation analysis. The team will gather complete information about the situation to inform the next steps. It will include mapping of stakeholders involved in the situation and institutions that seek a solution to the problem; gathering of information to understand the complexity, dynamics and relationships associated with the problem, opportunities for collaboration /Months 1 – 2/
2. Two 2-day training sessions related to youth empowerment and advocacy, cooperative planning process and project management will be conducted. 20 participants will particpate in each session, recruited among young people and local stakeholders. /Month 3 – 4/
3. Facilitation of the cooperative planning process. Participants will be engaged in a series of collaborative meetings facilitated by experienced experts. The methodology includes problem definitions, analysis, and prioritization; cooperative meetings design and roles distribution; group creative problem solving; generating solutions and agreement. /Month 5- 7/
4. Creation of Youth Friendly Community Action Plan. /Month 8 – 9/
5. Design of youth friendly community initiatives. The project will fund 2-3 small initiatives but the idea is to stimulate collective efforts to mobilize local resources to provide funding /Month 9-12
6. Communication dissemination of results and a final conference /Month 12
The results will include: A situation analysis report with recommendations; two 2-day training sessions for 40 participants in youth empowerment and advocacy, cooperative planning process and project management; cooperative planning process facilitated with at least 30 key stakeholders; a Youth Friendly Community Action Plan created; at least 5 youth initiatives created -2 of them funded and implemented; a final conference for 50 people. The expected results include also: young people are empowered to participate in community planning and decision making; the community has improved social cohesion and mobilised to works towards more youth friendly environment; key stakeholders modeled cooperation and overcoming of differences to achieve agreement around common community goals.
The cooperative planning process will be inclusive and empowering young people to work with other stakeholders towards community that respects their needs and creates environment that improves their life. The Action Plan, result of this cooperation will be supported by all stakeholders including the authorities and the young people participating in the process. As a result of community cooperation around youth issues the plan will inform the municipality council to improve its strategic youth policy and practice. As a result of the process and the development of action plan, young people will be invited to design initiatives in line with the plan. The project will fund 2-3 small initiatives but the idea is to stimulate collective efforts to mobilize local resources.
The project team consists of project manager, researcher, trainers and facilitators. The team consists of experienced professionals with more than 20 years of work in community development projects and youth empowerment. The team has worked with the city of Montana, including its municpality, schools and local museums, implementing successfuly several projects related to human rights education and youth participation. This, more than 10 years of cooperation with local people, built knowledge about local needs and the PBF motivation to continue working for this region.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
1. Personnel cost - 15000 Euro
3. Situation analysis - 2000 Euro
4. Trainings - 4000 Euro
5. Cooperative planning - 4000 Euro
6. Travel and accomodation - 2000 Euro
7. Communication, conference - 3000 Euro
8. Youth Initiatives - 5000 Euro
Any innovative ideas about citizens' collaboration and youth empowerment are welcome, especially if tested and proved successful.