We are happy to announce our new project called SETYN. As a part of the Mladiinfo Network, together with Mladiinfo International, Mladiinfo Montenegro, Mladiinfo Poland, Bosnian Representative Association for Valuable Opportunities, Club for Youth Empowerment 018, Balkan Youth Activism, and organisation Access, we want to build first-ever youth network connecting the Western Balkans with the EU countries from Central Europe. So what does the acronym stands for? SETYN means ´Socially Empowered and Transparent Youth Network´ and it is as exciting as it sounds!
The project ´SETYN: Socially Empowered and Transparent Youth Network´ aims to enhance the management, innovation capacity, governance, and internationalisation of youth NGOs in the Western Balkans (WB) and EU. In practice, this means that together with the SETYN Consortium we want to increase the internal capacities of youth organisations and their absorption potential for sustainable and efficient NGO governance, as well as to encourage active citizenship among young people. To have a better impact, we will establish a youth NGO network between WB and Central Europe that will cooperate strategically to promote transparent and effectively governed organizations in WB. We want to boost the cooperation between these two regions, relying on the best practices and international experience of Mladiinfo Network composed of organizations from Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovakia, and Poland to build the capacities and foster efficient management, internationalisation and leadership of youth NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, and Serbia.
We kicked off this project with the first meeting in Skopje, North Macedonia from 27th to 30th November 2019. The kick-off meeting was hosted by Mladiinfo International and it was attended by two representatives from each of the eight organisations. Our Communication & Performance Manager Karolina and Project Coordinator for Social Impact Award Roman were proudly representing Mladiinfo Slovakia. Besides the project´s introduction and discussion, meeting in Skopje was a great networking opportunity for the representatives to get to know each other better, exchange experience, and talk about future cooperation. Watch the aftermovie from our kick-of meeting here.
Engaged, connected and empowered youth, resilient, and capable to face the internal and external challenges of the changing world in the future of the EU. EU`s democracy, peace, prosperity, and innovation depend on the youth`s talents, creativity, and education, thus placing it as one of the core priorities in the EU. The new EU Strategy embraces renewed and comprehensive youth cooperation as an outcome of the EU`s experiences and lessons learnt in the past twenty years of its work in youth policy. As one of the most important actors for the successful implementation of the Strategy and therefore, the future of young Europeans, are the non-governmental youth organizations as interlocutors for facilitating democratic participation, youth dialogue, and positive change. More than half of Europe`s young people (53%) engage in activities of the NGOs and nearly one third are active volunteers which embrace the role of youth NGOs as services for civic engagement, education, and employment.
On the other hand, the breakup of the socialist regimes in the WB left an institutional and policy vacuum disregarding youth and their potential to contribute in the transformative processes of state-building and EU integration. Significantly low participation and inclusion of young people predetermine WB youth as a marginalized category–socially, politically, and economically. Yet, the EU`s contribution as the biggest donor in the WB and the credibility of the enlargement reinforced with the Berlin process, brought a new dimension to youth issues and helped to establish a more structured policy approach.
In this regard, the stakes for the youth civil society and young people in general in the WB in light of the EU integration processes are exceptionally high. Firstly, youth NGOs need to fill-out the policy vacuum and contribute to greater youth engagement, connection, and empowerment, and secondly, to develop organizational, managerial, financial structures and capacities to absorb the EU funds and practises. Additionally, they should establish quality professional networks on the national and regional level and bridge the young people with their peers within the WB and EU, and align their practices with the key EU youth actions.
That’s why we would like to spread awareness about the importance of the efficient youth NGO management and governance, aiming to increase the organisational[KF1] sustainability and resilience of these organisations. We want to support the youth NGOs to increase their organisational capacities for efficient management of programmes that will engage, connect, and empower young people across the world. As a part of the project, we are planning to provide workers from youth NGOs with two expert trainings that will be held in Montenegro and Poland. Although the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak had postponed our project activities, trainings and next meetings, we are staying connected and working together online. Together we are creating the Online platform for Youth NGO Management which will be supplemented by the Handbook on youth NGO management. Stay tuned for more info to come!