Programme for Capacity building of Youth Offices and Youth
After long years of the civil sector advocacy for constitution of the national youth body and development of youth policy in Serbia, the Ministry of Youth and Sports was established in May 2007. We consider that responsibility the State has undertaken for the young, demonstrated by establishment of the Ministry and initiating of process for the youth policy development in the previous year (primarily the process of development of the National Youth Strategy and forming of the Youth Offce), provides a new perspective for a long-term consideration of improvement of the youth position in Serbia. Taking into account the fact that, from the year 2000, the Civic Initiatives' Youth Programme has been engaged in advocacy of the youth position improvement and encouraging of youth participation through direct work with youth groups and cooperation with relevent social actors, the changes mentioned above have had a major impact on redefining of our Programme's priorities. Besides mainly working with the youth groups, focus had also been put on creating relations both with the set up institutions and newly-initiated processes.
As for the domain of improving the position of youth at local level, what indeed provides for new opportunities is the process of the Youth Offices formation. Although they make only a segment of the whole set of institutions and procedures that need to be developed, Youth Offices, along with active participation of youth groups, represent an efficient strategy for support and empowerment of the youth sector in the local community, as well as a mechanism for implementation of the National Youth Strategy.
In accordance with the above mentioned, the Civic Initiatives' Youth Programme launched the programme for Capacity Building of Youth Offices and youth groups, supported by the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Serbia.
The Programme involves simultaneous work in the following areas:
1. institutional framework development:
Depending on the concrete circumstances, the programme would also include advocacy process and work on creation of basic conditions for systematic dealing with youth- appointing a local self-government official whose scope of competence would encompass dealing with the young, allocation of resources for the Youth Club premises, as well as engagement of the Club Coordinator. We will try to define all of the mentioned conditions at the very beginning of the process by signing a Memorandum on Cooperation between Civic Initiatives and local self-government unit.
2. empowering and establishment of youth groups that, among other issues, are responsible for realisation of different programmes:
The listed activities shall be determined and realised in agreement and in cooperation with the representatives of Offices/ Clubs and young in the respective city.
The criteria for selection of cities are primarily based on the demonstrated readiness of the municipality for long-term investing into the youth position improvement, both through political support to the processes and by concrete investments and activities (such as allocation of funds for the Youth Club premises), but also engagement in assessment of the civil and youth sector capacities. Additional criteria encompass assessments of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and dynamics of cooperation between the Ministry and local self-government.
Since November 2007, realisation of the Capacity Building Programme has been initiated in 5 Serbian municipalities- Palilula, Loznica, Prijepolje, Blace and Kuršumlija. In municipalities of Prijepolje and Palilula, this Programme was additionally supported by resources of the Serbia Youth Leadership Programme.