2017-2018: Youth Ideas Empower Local Democracy in Europe (Y.I.E.L.D. in Europe)

Project name:
Youth Ideas Empower Local Democracy in Europe
Project number:
Project duration:
01.09.2017 – 31.07.2018
Coordinating/host organisation:
LDA Local Democracy Agency Verteneglio
Partner/sending organisations:
Open Door International e. V., Köln, Germany
Mladiinfo ČR, Brno, Czech Republic
Associazione Protezione Civile Gruppo Lucano, Lucano, Italy
Mladiinfo International, Skopje, Macedonia
Susanne Schulz
Petr Svoboda
Domenico Lena
Ana Trajkovska

The long-term volunteering project Youth Ideas Empower Local Democracy in Europe represents a structured programme for eleven months that aims to positively influence and improve a combination of acute and persistent problems that challenge the youths’ place in the local democratic process as environment and process, the quality of the local democracy, the lack of receptiveness and interest of the ideas of significant proportion of youth living in small communities, the availability of perspectives for their potential and skills at local level, how the ideas and the potential of the youth can flexibly and effectively be heard and turned into real projects and build trust and motivation to develop.
The concrete objectives come as result of the assumption that the motivation and choice of young people to live anywhere in Europe, and particularly to see a life perspectives and develop a sense of belonging in their home regions, depends on the environment as quality of local democracy and level of governance, trust in the local institutions and functional knowledge and understanding of the rules and instruments of influencing the public, being active citizens. To develop that culture of approaching and relating to the local democracy is especially important for the youth of every region and still not well developed in many Eastern European countries, where the democratic tradition has been established more recently (in comparison with the old Western democracies). The objectives are to:

1) achieve results by turning the volunteers ideas into activities, elaborate creative methods to raise the knowledge and understanding how the local democratic process function; to raise the supportive public attitudes towards youth engagement in this process;
2) identify the local actors in that process, the interests of youth and the youth organizations’ positions, their input on the social environment and level of services and how can promote ideas that benefit and improve aspects of their community life;
3) the volunteers will reach, inform and involve the local community and particularly the youth in their activities with organizing events, presentations, celebrations, having the full support of the LDA team;
4) to raise the awareness of the Erasmus plus programme development opportunities for young people;
5) contribute for the intercultural dialogue, offer an opportunity to the volunteers and to the local community to learn other European languages.

As Croatia is the youngest EU member state, one of the EU leaders in youth unemployment, with many regions where young people leave due to lack of economic and development perspective, with still ongoing reforms in its institutional system of governance, around average social trust in respect to the EU standards, low youth interest and inclusion in the process of local decision making, LDA dedicates the current project to match these issues and offer to young people from Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M.), Italy, Germany and Czech republic to share their ideas, elaborate on them with the LDA staff and share them with the local Istrian youth, exchange experience how the local bodies and the institutions respond to their requests and ideas, present good practices, examples and knowledge on their rights and their place as actors in the process of the local democracy.
Additionally, the international volunteers will be able to spread and increase the awareness of the opportunities which the Youth in Action programme offers to the European youth, the purposes and how it can benefit their personal development with new skills, knowledge and practical experience. Volunteers life in Istria will give them the chance to gain new skills in both languages of the Istrian region (Croatian and Italian), to explore the culture and the nature of the region, to experience and learn the local traditions, festivities and products.
On the side of the local community, they will receive the chance to benefit from the presence and the activities of the volunteers, collaborate with them in the project activities, learn their languages, get to know their original cultures and create new friendships and develop new interests.
The design of the projects is entirely matching the goals of Erasmus Plus programme, aiming to improve the level of competences and skills of the youth, promote participation in the local democracy, the EU standards and values, social inclusion, the active citizenship and to raise the awareness of the youth of the possibilities at local level. The project will also affect positively the cooperation, organizational and presentational skills raise the youth awareness and interests in local development and policies. It will be a valuable contribution to the international dimension of youth activities of the agency and its partners.