Active Citizenship in the 21st Century 060491

Erasmus + : KA105 - Youth Exchange - Programme Countries
 Place: United Kingdom, London
 Activity Dates: 01/04/2020 - 09/04/2020
Countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom 
Participants per country (incl. leaders): 5
Project Description: 
In order for a country to functional normally we need a system in place that takes into consideration the needs of all its people and of course the successful functioning of the system, thus not making choices which would destroy or damage the system.  In essence, we are describing democracy or the democratic system which governs and rules a country.   Looking at history, it is very rare that an entire nation supports one party or one idea, so there is always division or at least different opinions.  When talking to young people from any country we will hear at least some form of dissatisfaction with their country, their government and even the people of their country.  This project will look at exactly this from the perspective of the individual, this being active citizenship.
Our project will not focus only on the democratic act of voting but will look at active citizenship starting from home.  How do we deal with the issues, the choices and the actions we take in our daily lives and take these to understand how we act as citizens of our countries and of the EU?  We have seen that many factors influence the choices of young people, we have seen how parents influence the educational choices of youth based on their personal beliefs rather than the needs of the labour markets or the desires of their children.  Is this how young people are influenced to vote or how they deal with issues in their communities that are wrong or need reform?  
This project is designed to allow young people to empower their life choices so that they can be more active citizens, from the simple choices of lifestyle to education and ultimately to policy reform and the shaping of their countries and of the EU.  We will explore the true meaning of active citizenship, looking at our past, the mistakes and even good practices of the past, those which have molded our today, and then explore our options of how we mold tomorrow. 
We have seen that policy reform and politics are more of a spectator activity for young people where they believe they have no influence nor say in what happens in their countries, we have so often heard young people say “no matter who we vote for, nothing will change”.  We hope to change this.  Our goal is not to form a political movement, but to get young people off the couch and empower them to make the changes they want to see in their world, starting from their homes, their communities, their countries and in the EU, and in the near future even in the world.  
Our project will give young people the tools and resources to understand their rights as EU citizens, to understand the reasoning behind the choices of their governments, to challenge these choices and to be actively involved in the reform that is needed in their communities and in the EU.  We will help young people understand the process of policy reform, the methods and approaches needed by policymakers to make these choices, understanding that meeting the needs of a society also means that some expenses need to be covered and to allow the youth to take these expenses into consideration, thus not only demanding reform, but contributing to this reform through understanding that the system, be it a local government, or even the EU, needs all of us to contribute in order for it to serve us all. 
The project involves many program countries allowing us to learn and understand that we have common concerns and problems, but will also allow us to understand that sometimes these problems are caused by our lack of involvement and our passive approach to problems in our society often cause the problems.  We will learn that together, and by being active in our societies, we can make changes, not only because we can, but because we must be the building blocks of our societies and our EU and the only way we can create a society for everyone is to actively work together and make the changes.  
The Project will use the EU democratic model as the basis of democracy so that we can share the values of the EU, in understanding how the EU was developed and how it has become so strong, working together for the good of all its people, we will promote diversity and EU enlargement and show how the EU model works for all of us.  We will also focus on inclusion, discrimination and diversity.  We will give focus on young people at risk and work on ways to overcome these risks allowing all people to feel equal and for all human rights to be protected.
We have become a society of couch citizens, sitting back and just viewing everything as it passes our eyes, now is the time to get off the couch and to build the country, the EU and the world, we want to live in.
The project will use a series of proven non-formal methodologies to achieve its goals and will continue to empower young people to understand the importance of active citizenship so that we can all contribute to EU enlargement and the positive and collective growth of our countries.   
We will examine the EU treaties and even EU laws and policies, see how our country influenced these, and more importantly how we as young people can influence and affect future policy in the EU.


Cyprus and UK residents can apply HERE until 30 of January 2020

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission (Erasmus + Programme). These publication(s) article(s), video(s) and magazine(s) reflect the views only of the author(s), and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

Testimonials

Youth leadership. So much strength, energy and perspective in a two-word combination. Youth has always been and will always be the engine of world progress. Celebrating diversity of cultures, nationalities and religions, exchanging experiences and ideas in order to find the truth and benefit the world community by means of implementing multicultural youth projects and ideas - that’s what our future is. I was lucky enough to become a part of UN projects community and experience education, collaboration and development of important projects with amazing, intelligent and creative young delegates out of more than 10 countries. Working and getting new knowledge around such an enormous amount of young, ambitious world - changers is something you can keep talking about infinitely. I will try to keep the main point short.  Non-formal ways of education are becoming more and more popular nowadays. All of our dreams that came true were good planned goals. We are living in a century, where every single hobby could be monetized. Taking in a consideration an endless variety of opportunities and possibilities today’s world is giving us, it’s stupid not taking them. Our career and success is built out of numerous choices we make. Starting with school education, university and continuing with practice we’re getting etc. All of these aspects build up a whole picture of who you are and what your background is.  In the end, all of our achievements and backgrounds are supposed to lead us to something. Success. One word which has so many objectifications. One word which has so many meanings. One word which defines a «quality» of every single person in the world in the eyes of society. One word, which sometimes becomes a goal, sometimes a sense of life, sometimes (in case of its absence in one’s life) – smashing into pieces people’s dreams factor. So, the question is – what is success itself? Which way to choose in order to be called «A successful person»?  The answer to these questions is quiet simple: «You never know». And that’s how it is. Magic pills for being successful don’t exist, unfortunately. There is no certain written and declared plan of how to become successful. There is no step-by-step guidance or universal formula. But you can always become that «magic pill» and «write your own story of success».  The main subject of the project we were working at was - youth unemployment, which could never be associated with the word success.  Here is my main point : Everything starts with our choices, with a range of factors influencing and making pressure on a young person- the risks of making a lifedefining mistake increases. The strongest and the most independent ones will survive this and make their own choice, (most of the time followed by depressions, doubts, feeling loneliness and struggling with an anxiety). But those people, whose personality is not strong enough, will be crushed and broken. Which means – choosing wrong education - losing interest to improving knowledge – getting a «stable» job – spending life complaining about a cruelness of the world.  Some people could call it «natural selection» and say that not everyone is born to become successful. But what if with a next struggling person, who made a wrong choice, our planet will lose next Einstein, Zuckerberg, Sinatra or Disney?  In a modern world, which offers us an endless amount of opportunities, it’s never too late and never too early. Even if you’re flipping burgers, waiting tables or answering phones today, you never know where you’ll end up tomorrow.  I am happy to have become a part of Ukrainian team during an amazing project. Best regards and my personal respect to Increasing Employability... | YE-P - CY | 23/10/2019 - 31/10/2019.

Thank you for such an amazing opportunity!

Shliakhova Veronika

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