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Active European Citizenship for Democracy and Participation

From August 2013 until September 2014, BalkanIDEA Novi Sad has participated as partner in the project "Active European Citizenship for Democracy and Participation: Bridging EU and Western Balkans", coordinated by Beyond Barriers Association, from Tirana, Albania, and funded by European Commission, Europe for Citizens programme.

The project also included partners from Macedonia, Germany, Poland and United Kingdom. It had international component, realised through meetings, workshops and final conference, offering partners to learn from each other, exchange ideas and build further partnerships. There were also local activities done with young people, civic educators and citizens in Novi Sad,  Tirana,  Skopje, Warsaw, Berlin and Gloucester.

7 events have been carried out within this project:

Event 1 – Kick Off Meeting

Participation: The event involved 25 citizens, including 3 participants from the city of Berlin, (Germany), 3 participants from the city of Skopje (FYR on Macedonia), 3 participants from the city of Warsaw (Poland), 3 participants from the city of Gloucester (UK), 3 participants from the city of Novi Sad (Serbia) and 10 participants from the city of Tirana (Albania).

Location/ Dates: The event took place in Tirana-Albania, from 10/09/2013 to 12/09/2013.

Short description:  The aim of the event was to bring together all partners in a space to discuss and plan the up-coming sub-actions, appoint the responsible persons, make a grant division and establish a further solid partnership for the implementation of the Action. Besides the planning of the whole implementation partners could also use the space to network a bit more with the Albanian stakeholders present and plan concrete steps for the future of the action. Methodology used was based on non-formal learning combined with presentations, theoretical input and open space for working on the division of tasks.

Event 2- Local Action Day Skopje

Participation: The event involved 63 citizens, from the city of Skopje (FYR of Macedonia).

Location/ Dates: The event took place in 2 parallel seminars in Hotel Continental and in the High School Lazar Tanev (Skopje, FYR of Macedonia), on 07/12/2013.

Short description:  The aim of the event to foster a better understanding of the terms citizenship and European citizenship among the participants, and to promote citizen participation in democratic life.

On 7th December 2013 in Skopje, Macedonia a seminar about citizenship, with practitioners, stakeholders and civil society representatives was held which included 27 participants, 1 facilitator, 1 reporter, 1 coordinator and 2 visiting guests,  the Project coordinator from BBA and EACEA  representative Mrs. Sonia Mileu-Churra, on a monitoring visit.

At the same time a second seminar took place on the same day with high school students. The seminar gathered 31 high school students, aged from 14 to 18, whom were interested to learn more and discuss about citizenship in general and European citizenship in particular, rights and responsibilities of citizens and active participation. This was achieved through three 90-minutes workshops, based on the methodology of non-formal education, where the participants had a chance to explore the topics of the seminar, share ideas, knowledge and experience, but also practically present their views and ideas in front of the others. The methodology consisted of presentations made by the facilitators and participants, debates, simulations, role plays, individual, small and big groups work. The third step of the Local Action day was the conduct of a local research on citizenship, perception of citizens’ role in democratic life in relation to the concept of European citizenship.  500 questionnaires with citizens of different age groups and backgrounds were filled in during the day in Skopje.

Event 3 - Local Action Day Novi Sad

Participation: The event involved 60 citizens from the city of Novi Sad (Serbia).

Location/ Dates: The events took place in Novi Sad(Serbia), on 14/12/2013 and on 17/12/2013.

Short description:  The aim of the event was event to foster a better understanding of the terms citizenship and European citizenship among the participants, and to promote citizen participation in democratic life.

30 practitioners of civic education, teachers, students, civil society representatives and journalists were gathered to discuss about the impacts of civic education on young people, compare experiences and methodologies, share problems they are face and facilitate discussion on possible solutions. Non formal methodology was used during the 3 different workshops realized during the seminar day.

While the second seminar held on 17 December 2013 brought together 30 young people and high school students to share and discuss on how to focus on enhancing citizen’s participation in democratic life and encouraging them to develop local initiatives to foster civic engagement. Non formal education methods were also used from the facilitators, combined in presentations, input, group work, simulation exercises, discussion and feedback. Both these days, the staff and volunteers of BINS, conducted the survey by filling in 500 questionnaires with different citizens in Novi Sad.

Event 4- Local Action Day Tirana

Participation: The events involved 64 citizens, from the city of Tirana (Albania) for the seminars plus 436 citizens that were interviews in the streets for the survey.

Location/ Dates: The event took place in (Tirana, Albania), on 21/01/2014 and 25/01/2014

Short description:The aim of the events was event to foster a better understanding of the terms citizenship and European citizenship among the participants, and to promote citizen participation in democratic life.

The local action days in Tirana were organised in two seminars. On the 21 January 2014, 30 representatives of different NGO-s practitioners, journalists, university professors, youth workers, NGO activists, experts of the field, volunteers of BBA, etc, gathered in a 1 day seminar to discuss about the concept of European citizenship and democracy in general, rights and responsibilities of the citizens and the contribution that youth can give in the demotic process of the country. The seminar was developed based in three workshops and the facilitator used non formal education methodology in order to lead discussion on group works etc.

While on 25 January the participants of the seminar were 34 high school students 14-18 years old, that discussed about the concept of European citizenship and democracy in general, rights and responsibilities of the citizens and the contribution that youth can give in the democratic process of the country. Young people were very interested to work in small groups, discuss with each other and also present the ideas in front of the big group. The seminar was organized in 3 sessions of 90 minutes, based on the non-formal education methodology. At the same time during these days a local research on citizenship, perception of citizens’ role in democratic life in relation to the concept of European citizenship was made by filling in 500 questionnaires with citizens of different age groups and backgrounds.

Event 5 – Regional Meeting Berlin

Participation: The event involved 26 citizens, including  5 participants from the city of Warsaw (Poland), 5 participants from Gloucester (UK), 15 participants from Berlin (Germany) and 1 participant (Project coordinator) from Tirana (Albania).

Location/ Dates: The event took place in Hotel MK (Berlin, Germany), from 02/03/2014 to 04/03/2014.

Short description:The regional seminar in Berlin brought together 25 participants from the partner from Germany, Poland and United Kingdom for a two days programme exploring the topics of civic education and the European policies on European Citizenship. Methodology of the seminar was non-formal education, in a combination of theoretical input, discussions in small groups, role plays and simulation exercises, presentations, individual reflection and brainstorming. The first data collected during for the survey was introduced to the group by the Project Coordinator from Beyond Barriers whom attended the meeting as well. It is to be mentioned that the data and the survey report was very positively received from the EU partners present in the meetings, as well as it helped to raise different questions and discussion related to citizens perception, EU influence in the citizens daily life and the very pro-active spirit of the Balkans towards the EU family.

Event 6 – Regional Meeting Skopje

Participation: The event involved 25 citizens, including 5 participants from the city of Tirana (Albania), 5 participants from the city of Novi Sad (Serbia), and 15 participants from the city of Skopje (FYR of Macedonia).

Location/ Dates: The event took place in Hotel Porta (Skopje, FYR of Macedonia), from 15/04/2014 to 17/04/2014.

Short description:The regional meeting of Skopje brought together 25 participants from Serbia, Albania and Macedonia to share the gained results of the project implementation and again explore the topics of civic education and the European policies on European Citizenship. The meeting was built with the input and reporting from the Meeting of Berlin, in order to bring further and consider the suggestions and feedback of the EU participant’s part. Besides this, the meeting served as a space and opportunity to discuss the Survey results and propose concrete steps that can be initiated in local communities and that relate directly to the citizens voice and their awareness on EU policies, European citizenship and active participation. As the previous meetings, the same methodology with various combined methods was used by the facilitators of this event.

Event 7 – Final Conference

Participation: The event involved 56 citizens, including  3 participants from the city of Warsaw (Poland), 2 participants from Gloucester (UK), 4 participants from Berlin (Germany), 10 participants from the city of Novi Sad (Serbia), and 10 participants from the city of Skopje (FYR of Macedonia) and 25 participants from the city of Tirana (Albania).

Location/ Dates: The event took place in Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, Ministry of Culture and National Historical Museum of Tirana (Tirana, Albania), from 15/09/2014 to 18/09/2014.

Short description:The final conference brought together 56 participants from all the 6 partners and different stakeholder from Albania in a closing final event to evaluate the project implementation, celebrate the success achieved and plan further steps for the future collaboration in terms of the topics addressed by the Action. A space to larger networking and good media coverage was reserved for the event itself, which was also organised in various spaces and facilitated by the professional staff. The methodology of the activity was a combination of non-formal education, theoretical input from 2 guest experts on citizenship and the accession of Western Balkans in the European Union, not forgetting here space for the participants to share and discuss the results of the project, the survey and the future steps. An international NGO fair was organised where 20 other associations from Albania joined the session to get a chance to get introduced to the project and create networking and cooperation possibilities with the partners of the project.