For the fifth year in a row, the two-day marathon of the 2021 Youth Festival is presented to the public.
Young people raise their voices about the main challenges they face and seek more opportunities for their future. This year, the Youth Festival is organized by World Vision Albania in cooperation with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO).
Unemployment, the need for organizing cultural and sports activities, the involvement of young people in decision-making processes for strategies and laws that have an impact on their lives, involvement in voluntary initiatives for community improvement, and increasing self-efficacy of young people are some of the topics that will be discussed on September 28 and 29 by a selected number of young people, representing thousands of other young boys and girls throughout Albania.
In a survey conducted by World Vision Albania in July 2021, in 13 municipalities of Albania with 977 young people aged 12-18 years old, the results showed that 41% of surveyed youth have reported that they do not have the skills they need to achieve their goals for the future and their development.
Rather than immediate short-term solutions, they seek long-term ones, which respond to their needs for activities and spaces that foster creativity, prepare them for the labor market, and that do not push them toward mass emigration due to socio-economic hardships in their communities. The earthquake and COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated those challenges.
In a discussion with representatives of local and central government, donor entities, civil society organizations, businesses, but also with their peers from all around Albania, youth will openly talk about the difficulties they face.
“Young people continue to raise their voice for more opportunities, for youth centers and recreational activities that help them improve their skills and more security. They ask for development opportunities in schools and communities, activism at the municipal level and more participation in decision that affect their lives.
For us as an organization, key focus to our work in the future will be: building the fundamental skills that young people need for the present and the future; investing in skills and competencies related to youth activism; boost their critical thinking, develop their resilience; enhance innovation and supporting ideas that bring change to the communities where youth live,” says Mrs. Eljona Boçe Elmazi, Executive Director of World Vison Albania.
If all relevant actors work together, the energy and potential of young people can be boosted. But first, we need to listen to young people, and also provide them with sustainable, long-term mechanisms that support and empower them.
“Young people are the biggest asset we have in the Western Balkans and empowering them means empowering a generation of young leaders who are fierce enough to tackle all challenges and bring positive change. The Youth Festival is the platform to hear their needs and act upon them,” emphasizes Mr. Denis Piplas, RYCO Deputy Secretary General.
During the first day of the Festival, the discussion will focus on youth participation in decision-making and the mechanisms needed to involve vulnerable young people in local and regional initiatives. On the second day, the focus will be on employment and self-employment, what the job market offers and how young people can navigate in it.
Both days of the event will be held in "Tonin Harapi" Concert Hall at "Jordan Misja" Artistic Lyceum in Tirana, at 18:00 hrs. All preventive measures for the protection and prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic will be followed as indicated by the authorities. The event will take place in a hybrid format: in person meetings will be mixed with live connection from different cities in Albania. Meanwhile, the public can follow the discussions via livestream on Facebook on the official websites of World Vision Albania and RYCO.
(1) The assessment "Social engagement of young people; skills and opportunities that young people see for themselves, their family and community", conducted in July 2021, in 13 municipalities, with 977 young people aged 12-18 years.