We believe that youth participation is a means of achieving positive changes in young people’s lives and of building a better society. In recent years, there have been a growing number of projects and initiatives in our countries promoting and strengthening youth engagement at different levels. Young people constitute a big part of societies in the Eastern Partnership countries: 25% in Moldova, 28% in Armenia and 31% of Ukraine.
However, the potential of young people in local development is still underestimated. They do not have neither motivation nor enough leadership competences to unite efforts with other community actors and contribute to the community development and well-being, and rather try to move to a big city or even another country. While there are only a few local youth organisations that work in rural areas in Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine, Portuguese rural youth NGOs and municipalities have many good practices of youth engagement that may be adopted by and disseminated in the Eastern Partnership countries.
Working on youth empowerment in rural and disadvantaged communities, our organisations have discovered a need for implementing sustainable mechanisms of youth engagement, which could be achieved by young people themselves through practical learning together with their peers from European Union and Eastern Partnership countries. We have chosen two rural areas/settlements in each country to develop and test a participation model based on individual empowerment, empowerment of youth organisations and policy interventions.
In addition, the project idea is in line with the youth policy priorities set forth in “Resolution on the European Union Youth Strategy 2019-2027”, “Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life” and other important strategic documents.