Advocacy and Education (intercultural co-operation and learning) outreach
Through engagement in, and support to a large-scale as well as local advocacy and lobby activities, SEEYN should become an even more visible and serious actor in the region in order to work actively for changes in civil society at local and (inter)national levels. Participation in democratic decision-making processes is embedded within the programme strategy in itself, encouraging especially young people to take an active role in society.
Current issues and problems important to young people in SEE will be identified ad hoc by SEEYN members and valued by SEEYN Assembly. Support from the secretariat will be given to create a map of the issues and problem analysis. The conclusions reached will become the basis for future project development in SEEYN. The problems tackled may vary from being region wide to be of local significance - but always involving a number of organizations co-operating across borders for a common purpose of peace and stability. Advocacy activities will involve a wide range of members as well as non-member organizations representing youth widely in SEE.
An example of advocacy activities by SEEYN is the campaign against weapons usage by youth in Serbia and Montenegro where the aims were prevention of youth violence and crime. Another example is advocacy actions to promote the International Human Rights’ Day by celebrating it simultaneously in all SEE countries.
Entering strategic alliances or ad hoc arrangements with new partners with a focus on promotion of policy makers and advocacy actions that promote and fight for better polices for youth.
The research field within CCI is very attractive to explore and eventually link with network activities.
Advocating for a supportive legal framework. Inadequate legislation in SEE is often an obstacle for developing activities and youth involvement. I.e. SEEYN supports volunteerism despite the fact that the SEE countries lack a law considering volunteerism. When conventions for volunteers are not defined, it creates risks for being sanctioned by the governments as an organization can be accused of making use of “black labor”.
Education - intercultural cooperation and learning
In the SEEYN perspective the volunteerism is an alternative that can mediate between the challenges that exist between formal education and employment possibilities. Parallel to the efforts devoted to achieve both a better quality of life and a broader coverage of formal education, new initiatives related to volunteerism should be developed to offer the attainment and promotion of abilities and democratic attitudes (human rights, alternative conflict resolution, natural resource conservation and management; education about consumption, among others.)
Volunteers, participating in work camps, volunteer exchange, gain intercultural competences from adaptation of experience and they can learn from interaction and co-operation with others from different communities.
Work camp participants are put in a situation where they have to engage in critical self-reflection when confronted with the fact that preconceived ideas about other people’s lives and values may be otherwise. The critical self-reflection and intercultural learning can supplementary stimulate participants in getting involved in information, solidarity and network activities afterwards in their own local or regional environment and organizations. I.e. an option with SEEYN could be that work camp participants can plan a work camp next year, leading it etc.
- Entering strategic alliances or ad hoc arrangements with new partners with focus on promotion of policy makers and advocacy actions that promote and fight for democratic polices for youth.
- Using advocacy as tools to promote Civic participation through NGOs
- Advocating for a supportive legal framework. Inadequate legislation in SEE is often an obstacle for developing activities and youth involvement. I.e. SEEYN supports volunteerism despite the fact that the SEE countries lack a law considering volunteerism. When conventions for volunteers are not defined, it creates risks for being sanctioned by the governments as an organization can be accused of making use of “black labour”. Other topics of interests:
- Advocacy for democratic and participatory education programmes
- Advocacy for environment protection
- Advocacy for Human rights
- Utilize how campaigns and project development is very relevant training and a possibility for our members to gain valuable competences in project management. Ensure to utilize the human recourse of our members after participating in fundraisings-, communication courses, etc.
- Non formal training on themes relevant to enter the labour market; how to write curriculum, job description, cover letter and training in interviews and presentation.
As a network aiming to make an impact on societies in the region, SEEYN considers public advocacy activities a high priority. In this manner, every activity conducted by SEEYN should have advocacy element incorporated as much as possible. However, some of the activities focus on advocacy even more and make it a central purpose of the activity.
There are different ways to advocate for a certain cause. It is possible to organize events that draw public attention and then use this attention to transmit the desired message. In other cases, the event itself is a message to the public. There are also situations when advocacy is the activity by itself – this kind of media action is quite suitable for important social issues, especially if the media support can be provided for free.
The Messages that SEEYN wants to communicate with the broad public deal with problems of young people from the region. There are numerous issues that require strong advocacy campaigns targeting a broad public, because South Eastern Europe is a region with underdeveloped social awareness. Some of the most important areas in which SEEYN used advocacy tools had been: environmental issues, minority rights, visa problems and youth mobility, international cultural cooperation, and promotion of voluntarism. The single project with strongest advocacy impact was Environmental Bus Tour, a 2700 km long journey through the region for youngsters from Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia and Bulgaria.
In order to increase public influence young people have in their countries, public advocacy needs to be continued and prioritized in the future. This is one of the ways in which regional network can support individual organizations and improve their work. All of planned future SEEYN activities therefore include advocacy elements.