A public speaking competition for youth voice in 7 small cities. In a 3 minute speech, teenagers will talk about an important issue in their community, including a possible solution and a call for action. The purpose of this competition is threefold: encourage them to make their voice heard on issues of importance to them; make youth aware of their valuable active role to make positive changes in their communities; help them develop valuable skills: public speaking and critical thinking
7 smaller cities: Alexandria, Curtea de Argeș, Targoviste, Focsani, Buzau, Constanta, Slobozia
Democracy exists as long as citizens demand it. Unfortunately, Romania is still lagging behind when it comes to rule of law and democratic practices. Civic education is essential for empowering citizens, especially youth. But schools, in general, do not equip young people with the instruments to detect and fight propaganda and bad governance. There is a lack of relevant policies meant to solve the issues of civic engagement and critical thinking. More often than not, students are not encouraged to engage in their communities and to voice their priorities. This perpetuates the bad governance vicious circle at local level and the saying that “nothing ever changes”. This is especially visible in smaller urban communities where EFOR intends to work.
Our main objective is to create opportunities for the youth to develop into active citizens by making sure their voices are heard and by increasing the number of teachers who actively work with their students on topics related to civic engagement. As such, the project connects the students to their communities, helps them assess the needs of the communities and discover ways in which they can get involved and make their needs a priority. In order to achieve this goal we would work on two levels that are often interconnected throughout our activities: youth and teachers. The teachers will be the ones, together with us, to help the students identify issues important to them, voice them, connect with their communities, find arguments and discover instruments to get involved.
Direct beneficiaries will be around 200 high school students from 7 smaller cities in Romania who will benefit from training, support and participate in a public speaking competition focused on making youth voice heard on issues of importance in their communities. Also, 14 teachers who will participate in a workshop on the methodology on the competition. Indirect beneficiaries include the members of the community. The competitions will be judged by non-biased actors, active pillars in their communities such as activists, local representatives, former students. As such, we are bringing the communities together around this competition.
Develop the methodology, prepare the activities, contact teachers (14 teachers)
Organise a workshop for teachers on the methodology and curriculum of the project
Call for participants (30 students/city)
Teachers will organise workshops for students in preparation for the competition discussing on the following topics: community, public speaking, research, fake news
Offer support to students in preparation for the competition through online seminars and training sessions
Organise 7 local competitions and select the top 3 speakers/city for the national final
Organise the national final competition in Bucharest
Work with teachers on a possible scaling of the competition throughout the School for Democracy network
The seminars will provide teachers with knowledge and instruments that they will be able to use for a long period, thus impacting a larger number of students. Teachers are an essential target group because they have a great power of dissemination of information of participation tools. Their young students will learn more about critical thinking, fake news, research methods, but also about their communities, being able to connect with them and discover them more fully. They will learn how to use their voices, make their needs a priority, how to step in and make a change. In the long term, these activities will empower young adults to be their own advocate on issues that are important to them and grow up as civically engaged
The quality of education is a clear indicator of the quality of the democracy in a country. More often than not where we encounter a lack of access to education regarding democracy, we can also see a non-functional rule of law. Through our efforts in various projects, we have aimed at being actors of development in the quality of the educational system both at national level, and more locally, taking a grass-roots approach. As such, we have been moving our focus towards creating a network of “change makers”. With this project we are looking towards empowering the youth to take action and to speak their mind, approaching subjects such as discrimination, poverty, climate change, corruption, mental health issues and civic involvement.
This project would be part of a significant strategic topic for us, the consolidation of rule of law through active citizenship. We have been organising School for Democracy since 2012, in partnership with relevant Romanian NGOs and international institutions and we continue to consider this topic a priority. We have been working on similar competitions on a smaller scale, online, but based on the feedback we believe that there is a demand for such opportunities especially in small communities where we plan to work. The projects we have been working on so far which allow young people to be actively involved in their communities, and moving forwards, this competition is in exact alignment with one of the specific objectives of the call: increasing the voice of youth in the society.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Human resources costs - 16000 EUR, Travel and per diem cost - 2500 EUR, Accommodation, meals and hall rentals - 6500, Visibility and promotion - 3700 EUR
Web-hosting and IT -750 EUR, Awards, development of training tools and training materials 3000 EUR, Internet and communication costs - 700 EUR, Expert fees - 2000 EUR
Administrative costs - 2500 EUR
Looking for further innovative ideas and experiences on making youth voice heard