Erasmus+ unites EU and Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia
War in Ukraine, ‘frozen‘ conflicts in Moldova and Georgia are a concern not only for politicians and journalists, but also youth. There are numerous problems to which young people and their work can be a solution. Yet such approach has to be supported and promoted. With this in mind Active Youth Association based in Lithuania has gathered young people and policy makers from these countries, as well as Slovakia and Italy, for a 8 days long meeting.
Project ‘Democracy through Dialogue not Conflict’ had a goal to find ways to reduce the social divisions in the before mentioned countries and also incentivise the young to take more responsibility for their countries’ future. It took place from the 9th to the 18th of June in Kaunas and Vilnius and was funded by the Erasmus+ programme. More than 40 people (aged 18-30) from 6 countries were invited.
Yet, this was project was quite different, as a number of policy makers were also present. Kiev City administration and Youth & Children Development Fund (of Georgian Sport and Youth Affairs’ Ministry) were represented. Additionally, the 2nd phase of the project – event in the Foreign Affair‘s Ministry of Lithuania (URM) – saw even more policy makers/experts take part.
The main venue of the project was Kaunas, however. Here the participants learned from one another, about the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and related issues. The educational process was based on non-formal activities and interaction and had the goal of getting the youth prepared for the before mentioned meeting in URM, Vilnius. For this event, the young participants had create initiatives and pitch those in front of the policy makers’ panel and their peers alike. The given topics were:
- EU’s strategy on countering the propaganda from certain foreign-backed media outlets in the EU itself & EaP countries. What measures should the EU employ as a whole?
- Youth organisations/NGOs as a solution to social divisions in conflict and/or post-conflict regions of the EaP countries. How can they change the minds of the local young?
- How can Erasmus+ programme (EU’s support for learning & youth initiatives) help in EaP countries’ problem regions?
- What technical help should the EU provide for the EaP countries in order to most efficiently & effectively reduce the foreign influence and destabilisation efforts?
6 youth groups have taken the stage, whose pitches may be found at the end of this press-release. The experts’ panel was surprised by the quality and innovations proposed by the teams. After lengthy discussions, a group named ‘KillAganda’ was chosen as the winner. Their idea was a mobile app, which could be facilitated in order to fight propaganda.
Right after the pitches of participants, a discussion with a member of the Parliament of Lithuania Egidijus Vareikis and a representative from the URM’s EaP department took place. The focus of which was, obviously, EaP and its prospect along with potential.
During their time in Kaunas, all the participants have performed a flash-mob. A massive word ‘ERASMUS+’ was built from people lying on the hillside. This was done together with the locals. Who afterwards were also asked about their knowledge of Erasmus+. It was amazing to hear, that they are quite acquainted with the programme. Our guess is that this owes a lot to the fact that Kaunas has recently seen a significant number of youth exchanges and training courses take place locally.
[divider_top]This youth meeting was a great success in terms of both experience gained and information learned, as well as satisfaction of the participants. Besides, knowledge assessments done by every participant on the first and the last day of the exchange have shown an increase of almost 50% on average in the knowledge of EaP. This can be perfectly seen from the testimonials that the participants have left:
[blockquote]Amazing experience, learned a lot & met great people![/blockquote]
[blockquote]Balanced and well-prepared. I haven‘t been to a better project yet[/blockquote]
Of course, ‘Democracy through Dialogue not Conflict’ still continues. Now, various videos and other material on youth in public life/politics produced during the meeting will be continuously posted on the website of the project, social networks (www.fb.com/activeyouthlt), press and the participating youth organisations’ websites. The material shared has already gathered a lot of attention with a social reach of more than 10,000 young people, and will continue to make the youth across Europe more aware of the existing issues at its eastern neighbours!
P.S. More information here: fb.com/activeyouthlt.
The initiatives proposed by the young participants:
- Voice for EaP – internet platform ‘’Online Academy’’.
- KIllAganda – a mobile application that sends push up messages, notification, flashes about recent news from all over the world. These can then be rated by users.
- YOU+ – improving English skills & European values of the youth in the Republic of Moldova
- Young People in Action – Collaboration with companies for making more internship places for young specialists from each post conflict region.
- Generation for a Bright Future – innovative summer camps in Georgia
- ENG Solutions – special support towards EaP countries through the creation of an online English educational/teaching platform in order to increase English knowledge in the region.