Targoviste, Romania | 20th-29th August 2018
Between August 20 and 29, Citizenship Academy sent some Portuguese youngsters to the city of Targoviste, Romania, to be received by the association BeYou Romania, our partner organisation, in the project Ative Citizenship. This project, tackled the theme of activism, by raising participants’ awareness for the importance of their active participation at local, national, European and global levels, through non-formal education methods. Since the involvement of young people in society is essential for the proper functioning and continuity of democracy, we are happy to have given Portuguese young people the opportunity to be empowered with this project.
This Training Course was designed to develop the critical sense of its participants by showing them the various ways of being active in their societies. The various facets of political and social participation were presented and, thereby, the participants were able to acknowledge that to be a active citizen is not only to participate in the governmental and party reality. This process goes through several stages: (1)Information – in which the importance of media’s role and critical thinking were recognise as a mean of preventing the dissemination of “fake news”; (2) the vote – by emphasising the role and importance of voting, which defines the governments that, in theory, represents citizens’ decisions; (3)others – such as political awareness, demonstrations, activism, volunteering and social solidarity. All those values and actions are extremely important to maintain the proper functioning of a democratic society.
During these days, personal and interpersonal development activities, group problem solving, debates and cultural and recreational activities were carried out. The young people involved also had the opportunity to get to know a bit more about the history of Targoviste city, by visiting its castle, the communist museum (where Romanian dictators were imprisoned), its parks and the historical area of the city.
To do the dissemination of “Active Citizenship”, our organisation is involving the participants from Portugal in this strategy which consists in developing a regular meeting club for people who are willing to make a positive impact on the society. At the moment we have already talked to the participants, proposing them to help us implement this strategy.
Considering that this activity was financed the European Commission through ERASMUS+ programme, BeYou Association, our partner, was able to gather all the conditions to deliver to the participants a project in which the European Values were promoted. As a very trustworthy and professional organisation, we truly believe that Active Citizenship had a positive impact in all parts involved (participants, local community, host and partner organisations).
Testimony of one of the participants of the Project, Miguel Ferreira:
“I was able to get to know other cultures, taste new tastes and enrich my own culture. I would like to inspire young people from all over Europe to continue to develop activities here in Portugal in this regard. I am now more capable of developing group activities with non-formal education tools and methods that I acquired during this project.”
The democratic future of a nation is an invaluable asset, and the involvement of young people in society is essential for the good functioning and continuity of democracy. Sociological research demonstrates that the largest segments of society with the greatest capacity for change are the young people. It depends on us, the adults, youth workers and educators the extent to which the young generation will be prepared to assume the responsibility of active participation in society.
Unfortunately, global statistics reveal the low interest of young people in democratic life, in knowledge of state institutions, citizens’ rights and freedoms, active participation and responsibility within the community. This things happens due to social inequity, poor governance in some, the social and economic crises, the huge differences between social classes, especially in Eastern countries. Young people have lost confidence and motivation to change something, only few of them believe that the future of society stand in their hands and act to change something.
The purpose of the Active Citizenship training course is to pay attention to this phenomenon, to mobilize youth workers to find solutions to raise awareness about the importance of democratic life for young people, to find methods to stimulate active participation and show the consequences of indifference and non-involvement in civic life.
- To increase the level of knowledge about youth participation, and civic life;
- To increase the level of knowledge about lobby and advocacy in the topic of active citizenship;
- To strengthen the abilities of youth workers to choose, adapt and implement new non-formal education methods for motivate and encourage youth participation to civic life;
- To create space for youth workers to conceive and develop project drafts on the topic of youth participation and civic life;
- To develop cooperation between participating organizations by sharing experience on local, national and international youth policies;
- To foster professional and persoanl development of youth workers.
32 youth leaders and youth workers (4 participants per each partner organization) older than 18 years old (no age limit) belonging to partner organizations, involved, interested and motivated to participate in the project. Participants are people who develop activities in the area of active citizenship and youth participation to democratic life who want to deepen their knowledge about active citizenship, youth participation, democracy and human rights.
Participants will come from Romania, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Portugal and Slovak Republic.