Urban Steps for Resilient Future – Building Youth Activism in Eastern Europe

CDN is organising a long-term project that will address urban communities – particularly the way they are built (environmentally and socially) – and young people’s role in shaping and improving those. Public spaces and urban commons are political and social areas that young people identify with and where they exercise their rights. There is a need for reclaiming those spaces and strengthening young people’s ties to them. In order to empower young people in reshaping their communities through direct actions – based on principles of democracy and inclusion – to create more sustainable green cities, we want to:

  • Develop their understanding of the importance of participation in introducing necessary changes to our urban communities (society). We will explore various examples of urban activism as well as grassroot and entrepreneurial initiatives, as entry points for young people towards active citizenship and democratic practices.
  • Help young people turn their ideas into concrete actions, we want them both to be trained and to practice project management. Participants will understanding the hierarchy of objectives, analyze external Political, Economic, Social and Technological (PEST) factors, assess their strengths and weaknesses, learn to plan and implement independent youth activities in their communities.
  • Promote urban activism as an area (connection point) for collaboration between different stakeholders on local level in reaching common solutions.Those involved will explore and establish cooperation with the initiatives / organizations / urban activists on local level dealing with the same issues.
  • Enable young people to articulate their demands regarding their human and civil rights to the local authorities through local actions.

Project background:

Since 2013 CDN has been conducting educational activities related to cities and urbanization and their correlation with democracy and inclusion. Concerned about the tendencies that every next generation of young people is not going to be able to enjoy public spaces as much as the previous one did, many of our former participants contributed to the establishment and remained active in CDN’s Alternative Urbanisation Working Group. This project is an initiative of the working group.

Public spaces are a core of democracy and participation. They are places open for everyone: from refugees to young mothers and their children, from students to pensioners. We want young people to be aware of the possibility to influence their surroundings and be able to reclaim the ownership of the public space around them.

What we have been facing in the last few years in Eastern Europe is a constant struggle of young people to defend public spaces from violations: Varsavska and Srđ (Croatia), Belgrade Waterfront (Serbia), Mashtots Park (Armenia), Gezi Park (Turkey), Skopje 2014 (Macedonia)…). With this project we would like to ensure that even when the defense of public spaces is not evidently needed, young people still can take a proactive role in taking decisions on the use of public spaces. We want to explore the ways of creating new places of gathering and organising centres for cultural exchange as hubs for young people to express themselves, celebrate openness and diversity. These places should be open and accessible for everyone – especially for the ones coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A number of organizations and initiatives already work on the strategies for sustainable transport, greening city areas, guerrilla gardening, housing policies, inclusion in the cities, feminizing the surroundings, spacial justice, sustainable cities, protecting cultural heritage and so on. However, those issues are still not in the focus of many Eastern European countries. With this project we would like to raise capacities of our Member Oganisations to plan and conduct educational activities related to city planning as well as to design and conduct actions in their own cities or communities and finally to create a platform for connecting them with the ,,Urban” initiatives to reach the just, democratic and green habitats in Eastern Europe.

The project is designed for members of CDN’s Member Organisations, Urban activists and for young people motivated to make their cities more sustainable in environmental and social sense. We aim at creating a vibrant environment to produce sustainable and long lasting collaboration to fight for our right to the Cities!

Methodology

The program will be based on the principles of non-formal education and intercultural learning. We strive for active, inclusive and direct communication and transfer and sharing of knowledge. Sessions will be balanced between theoretical inputs, training, workshops, discussions, reflection, planning, brainstorming and other interactive methods of learning.

 

PROJECT PHASES (3):

1. SPRING

An International Training for Trainers targeting young people from the 16 Eastern European countries (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine). Each country will be represented by 2 participants. Each of them will join one of the parallel training modules – ADVOCACY and PROJECT MANAGEMENT. The Advocacy Group will create a common Manifesto (to be used in later phases) while the Project Management Group will develop Activity Plans for upcoming Regional Trainings (see the 2nd Phase). The participants of this project phase are expected to participate or co-organise (be part of the Prep-Team) the Regional Trainings (the 2nd Phase). Seminar part of the training will be dedicated to learning about various aspects of Alternative Urbanisation.

Date: 24-29 April 2018
Duration: 6 working days
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Working language: English
Number of participants: 40

Agenda
Call for Prep Team
Call for Participants
APPLY NOW!

 

2. FORTIFY

Participants of the previous phase will have an opportunity to implement one of four Regional Trainings that they designed and planned during the previous phase. These activities are targeting young people from the regions respectively. Young people will both be able to practice their trainer and project management skills as well as to map decision-makers and existing urban initiatives in their local communities/regions and exchange experiences and practices among themselves. At the end of this phase, every group from each country will have a completed action plan (will be used for the 3rd phase).

ACTIVITIES:

2.1. Regional Training – South Caucasus and Turkey

Participating countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey
Date: June/July 2018
Duration: 3 working days
Location: Batumi, Georgia
Working language: English
Number of participants: 16

Agenda
Call for Participants

2.2. Regional Training – Balkans (West)

Participating countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia
Date: June/July 2018
Duration: 3 working days
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Working language: English/Serbo-Croatian
Number of participants: 16

Agenda
Call for Participants

2.3. Regional Training – Balkans (South-East)

Participating countries: Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo*, Bulgaria
Date: June/July 2018
Duration: 3 working days
Location: TBD
Working language: English
Number of participants: 16

Agenda
Call for host organization
Call for Participants

2.4. Regional Training – RUMB

Participating countries: Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine
Date: June/July 2018
Duration: 3 working days
Location: TBA
Working language: English/Russian
Number of participants: 16

Agenda
Call for host organization
Call for Participants

3. LAYOUT

The final phase which comprises of Local Actions in all of the 16 participating countries, that will be partially developed during the previous phase. The actions – followed by a statement/press-release – are supposed to reach local decision-makers and communicate young people’s demands with the public and authorities.

Examples of local actions: organising a living library in a park/public space, public discussions on any topic in an occupied cinema or squat, creating a urban garden in some neighborhood, initiating local exchange fair of clothes, books and other goods, launching a campaign for organized recycling, painting old stairs in a city, creating a mural, cleaning/repurposing an abandoned public space (park), organizing an abandoned space as communal gathering spot, organising a fundraising event for building animal shelters etc.

Participating countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine
Date: September/October 2018
Duration: optional
Location: Cities of the participating countries

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This Project is supported by the European Youth Foundation of Council of Europe and the Green Forum (Sweden).

* All references to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.