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We make Democracy

Project on international mobility, networking and democratic competence-building for Swiss and Western Balkans Youth.

“We Make Democracy!” is an international project that aims to provide youth and youth organizations with relevant knowledge and tools, to encourage and manage diversity, active citizenship and democratic initiatives. By training local youth organizations in practicing inclusiveness as well as equipping their local community members with civic competencies, the project offers comprehensive and suitable answers to the multidimensional nature of discrimination.

We Make Democracy in a few words:

  • 9 countries
  • 45 participants - youth-workers and youth activists
  • Peer-to-peer exchange between youth and youth organizations from Switzerland and Western Balkans
  • Theoretical approach during seminars and workshops
  • Practical approach during site visits
  • Horizontal collaboration and exchanges on „We Make Democracy!“ online platform

Needs analysis

Civic and social competences are being recognized as one of the key competences in the developed democratic world, not only because they encourage active citizenship and democratic participation but also because they enable and allow for the continued existence of democracy. Civic competences are the complex mix of the sum of the different learning outcomes (knowledge, skills, attitudes and values), which are necessary for an individual to become an active citizen. Youth and other civil society organizations play an important role in fostering active citizenship and tackling social exclusion. The project is therefore designed: a) to fight the underdeveloped competencies for active democratic participation, and b) to reduce the feeling of gap between youth on one side, and NGOs and political decision makers on the other side.

 

Main activities

  • Selection and recruitment of participants;
  • Coordination with participants and their organizations;
  • Development of the online platform by the organizations;
  • Kick off webinar for the 45 participants joining the project;
  • 5-day workshop for common basics with hackathon;
  • During the hackathon: selection of 3 challenges and allocation of participants in 3 thematic groups of 10-12 participants each;
  • Implementation of participants‘ projects in local contexts;
  • 3 site visits: one in Albania, one in Slovenia and one in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • 2-day final conference;


Outputs

The main outputs of the project are:

  • an online digital platform, which will help to create a community and to present the methodology of the project. This online platform is thought of as a safe place, where participants can share best practices, use “We Make Democracy!” training toolkit and develop an international network.
  • reports, podcasts, articles, publications from local initiatives and projects produced throughout the duration of the project. All these outputs will be uploaded on the platform;
  • local projects and initiatives carried out by participants and their organizations, based on the project plans designed at mobility events.


5 objectives of the project

  1. Provide youth and youth organizations from Switzerland and the Western Balkans with tools and a training program to improve their competencies on inclusiveness and democratic participation;
  2. Create an online platform for networking and sharing best practices and experiences;
  3. Develop an informal international network of youth organizations interested in „We Make Democracy!“ training and inclusiveness methodology, as well as future programs;
  4. Stimulate common projects, initiatives and exchange between the youth and youth organizations from Western Balkans and from Switzerland to empower the civil societies of each country;
  5. Set stable basics for sustainable cooperation between the diaspora living in Switzerland and their country of origin.

 

Target audience

Participants will be selected in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia and Switzerland. The project is designed for 45 young adults between 18 and 30 from diaspora, minorities as well as marginalized, vulnerable and underrepresented groups. To reach the target audience and select 3 to 5 participants per country, we rely on in-house resources and the network of coordinating organizations.

 

Outcomes and impacts

At the local level: youth organizations benefit from newly acquired competences (verbal skills; project planning; advocacy skills; intercultural dialogue) of the participants to become more inclusive, community oriented, attract more active members and improve their local recognition and credibility. It will also enable organizations from the diaspora to reach out to their members and get better involved in the local Swiss communities. The participants are also enabled to actively engage in the democratic processes and therefore shape the future of their respective communities.

At the national level: participants and organizations learn various mechanisms for enhancing inclusion, democratic participation and active citizenship and become able to apply these mechanisms to their context and frame relevant future projects, oriented towards tolerance and democratic inclusion.

At the international level: the project helps organizations to build an international partnership. This will trigger cultural understanding among participants and enhance the international openness and presence of youth organizations. By setting up an online platform, the project sets the basis for sustainable cooperation between youth organizations for continuous peer-to-peer learning and mobility projects.

 

Organizations

The project is run by the Swiss National Youth Council (SNYC) and its long standing partners i-dijaspora in Switzerland, Youth Center “Perspektiva” in Albania, Udruženje Za Brigu i Opšta Prava Djece “Naša djeca” Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina and IPM Inštitut za politini menedžment in Slovenia.