CRISP - Crisis Simulation for Peace e.V.

YouPi – Promoting Youth Participation in Moldova

Together with our partner “Diversity” and with support of the German Federal Foreign office, we successfully conducted this youth-oriented project.

Youth in Moldova currently represents a quarter of the country’s population and is perceived as a strategic component for the sustainable development of the country, in particular when it comes to democratization processes. Though, the participation level of youth has been proved to be weak due to different reasons. Within YouPi, we applied innovative and experience-based methods to ensure effective involvement of Moldovan youth in local participation processes.

Our project gathered civil society, youth and local authorities together to engage in a meaningful exchange, bringing the needs of the young generation closer to the policy makers, as well as building up a sustainable network. 

Duration:

01.04.2021 – 31.12.2021

Locations:

Chisinau, Moldova

Participants:

110

Beneficiaries:

510

Budget:

72.264,47 EUR

Project Goals

Through capacity-building measures for civil society activists, a training program for young people, and their initiatives on the ground, we have increased the quality and quantity of youth participation processes in Moldova. In long-term perspective, capacitated civil society activists and active youth will be able to contribute to and benefit from a more inclusive, stable, and democratic country in general.

Target Group

The project involves three different groups:

  • 20 civil society activists formed a group of multipliers. These are people with a background in non-formal education and civil society experts (e.g., local activists, people who work with democracy and inclusion issues, climate change activists, etc.) with a strong need for new solutions when it comes to youth work and that have a strong motivation and are sharp in identifying and addressing issues of their community/region;
  • 80 young people of 13-17 years old with different ethnic and social backgrounds, including representatives of vulnerable and marginalized groups, from both rural and urban areas of the country (also from Transnistria and Gagauzia);
  • 10 representatives of local authorities also played an important role in the project, as there is a strong need in linking civil society actions and initiatives with state policies and agendas, as well as efforts of different stakeholders should build up on each other and create synergies.

 

Activities

The project started with an online Training of Trainers, where we discussed participation mechanisms, various approaches, values and skills in non-formal education and youth participation. Here, we also conducted a thorough needs analysis introduction. Special attention was given to analyzing influence of such aspects as gender, belonging to LGBTQI+ community, ethnicity, region (e.g., Transnistria), family income, education, health on youth participation. Clustering and discussing the results created a broader picture of youth participation in Moldova and helped us shaping further activities fitting to the local situation.

Later we gathered offline in Moldova for the second Training of Trainers to introduce multipliers to the simulation game method and develop a tailor-made game for Moldovan youth. They showed high interest in the method and were fully involved in the creation of their own simulation game for the Summer Academy. The developed game aimed at letting participants experience firsthand how to be a member of a particular group in society, how to build communication to achieve goals, how to work as a team, and how to create projects. Apart from that, the training also covered cooperation with local authorities, multipliers’ self-reflection on themselves as trainers, and preparation for the Summer Academy.

The Summer Academy gathered multipliers and youth together to learn more about youth engagement and initiatives on a local level through different non-formal education methods, including the newly developed simulation game. Participants learned about intercultural interaction, gender equality, ecology, urbanism, social creativity, media literacy, storytelling, and project design. Based on that, young people came up with local initiatives ideas.

We were proud to see 14 projects coming true throughout autumn in small villages and big cities, including the regions of Transnistria and Gagauzia:

1) Park of Wonders: creating an outdoor space for youth and adults in the village to meet, discuss, play board games and spend time together;

2) Eco Library: creating a space for youth by setting up an outdoor library on school grounds including a bicycle parking;

3) Nistru: raising awareness on ecological issues related to the banks of Dniester river;

4) Park at House of Culture: creating an outdoor space where youth can gather for discussions, concerts, exhibitions and networking activities;

5) Bus Stop 1.0: restoring and upgrading one of the bus stops that is used every day by citizens from the surrounding six streets;

6) Green Life: improving the environmental situation in the village and addressing the garbage issue;

7) Stop Bullying: reducing bullying among school students through a series of anti-bullying trainings;

8) Activism Through Gender Equality: raising awareness about gender equality among school students;

9) Generation Equality: promoting gender equality in the regional schools;

10) Because I Am Not Afraid: combating issues of homophobia, body shaming, bullying and inequality through personal stories and art;

11) Human Rights Week: promoting human rights among local youth;

12) Magazine “O”: supporting young people struggling with various problems through a magazine with comics and real anonymous stories;

13) Comics “Huhry-Muhry”: promoting body positivity through comics;

14) Comics “Generation Z”: teaching teenagers self-acceptance through a comics.

Finally, we gathered in December for the Final Event and Evaluation Seminar. Multipliers, participants from each local initiative, local administrations, guest speakers, and the representative of the Embassy of Germany to Moldova have all celebrated together the achievements of the project. There the results of the initiatives’ implementation were presented and reflected on, and recommendations on how to promote youth participation on a local level have been jointly developed. We also reflected on the project flow and lessons learned from each project activity, as well as developed joint vision for potential scale up of the project.

Outcomes / Achievements

Within the scope of the project, participants got familiar with theory and practice of youth participation, made an in-depth analysis of local needs, and based on that they developed their own initiatives for democratization processes and youth participation in local communities.

The project itself strongly followed a bottom-up approach. While the participants received training in conceptual frameworks and tools for analysis, they were deciding themselves which kind of topics and initiatives are relevant for the life in their communities. Through the successful implementation of youth-led initiatives that address community problems, the perception of young people as actors of change among local stakeholders has also raised.