In this world, where young people create movements, tackle big challenges and start the change in important fields, in Romania, in many rural communities and small town the adults still consider that young people don't matter because they don't vote. This has to stop and ATC plans to do that by involving young people in our home village in implementing solutions to the problems that they face. Workshops are good, but not enough. Young people need to act, to be part of the solution.
Cleja village, Bacau county, north-est Romania
Masive migration among young people, the lack of civic attitudes and initiatives, the mentality that young people don't matter because they don't vote and not a single youth/civic/educational NGO registered in the village make the problem more complex. In these circumstances, there are no activities about democracy, no discussions with young people about their rights and sometimes, when they have ideas, they don't have the support to implement them. Only when the voting sessions are close.. As a result, the local council and the mayor are the authorities that lead without taking into consideration people's opinion, there is no transparency, there are no young people involved in the local council and no social activities for the community.
Rural Youth Project sets the idea that young people matter and creates an opportunity for youngsters to address local issues and more important, contribute to the way that rural communities develop in this digital era. The masive migrations of young people in more developed countries is not only because of money, is also because our local and central gouvernments are trapped in the past. Giving the young people space to express themselves, to find solutions to the problems they see in Cleja will also challenge the adults to see the benefits of colaboration and to reinforce the importance of community. Be using street debate methods, design thinking sessions and community voting processes, we will rethink democracy as a way of real involvement, not simply as an ideology.
Rural Youth Project targets 100 young people, aged 15-30 and their families, no matter their backrounds. We will involve young people from disadvantaged families, that are outside of the educational system and young people that are orphans or living with their grandparents (because their parents work abroad).
By implementing the activities in a village, the indirect target group will be the community itself, with every person, from the priest to the last grandmother in the village.
In order to get involved, young people need the information, but they also need to be trusted and to have a team. This is why, the most important part of the project is creating the space to put the words into actions. The methods used to get there will be: steet debate events - so that young people, and not only, can express their opinion, design thinking sessions that will give them the chance to think about solutions for the problems they see and participatory budgeting that will give them the responsibility to implement small projects and give them the chance to see how to organise a project. In this way, they will have to form teams, promote and get votes for their ideas and involve the local community to decide which proposal is the best.
One year from now, 100 young people will have:
- implemented small projects with the community support
- participated at the local council meetings
- organised several interviews with young people living in the village and living abroad in order to reconnect the community
The general feeling in the village is that young people have to part of the decision making process and that their opinion matters.
The democracy in Europe is not possible without the involvement of young people at every level. In order to have democratic countries that shape the democracy in Europe, we need to have democracy in the last rural communities as well. By organising Rural Youth Project we enable young people in Cleja to understand the values, the purpose and the ways of shaping a community in a democratic matter, by taking decisions for their village, involving every person in the decision making process and voting for the best options.
Our village is not reach, but is not poor either, but still, we are stuck. One of the reasons for this situation is the lack of involvement of young people in the decision making. We believe that young people have the right, the energy and the information to bring our village in the current century, to make the digitalization possible, to make the real development possible, but because of the mentality, they don't have a chance. That's the reason we have to start with small steps like implementing small projects - this will give them the chance to see that they are able to have a contribution. We strongly believe that the development of your village is in the young people's hand.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
15.000 EUR - personnel costs
2000 EUR - training costs
1000 EUR - website costs
6000 EUR - office (rent) costs
3000 EUR - equipment
2000 - travel costs
5000 - equipment costs
It would be very nive to receive practical advices that work in rural areas or maybe suggestions of projects and organizations to follow on this topic. Suggestions on how to improve the application are always very welcome.