Start date: May 1, 2015,
End date: Apr 30, 2016
Fora Hvidovre carried out a highly successful project, Citizenship and Election, in the fall of 2014. The project involved 25 youth leaders from 6 countries who were, during a 10-day training course, provided with tools and methods to promote active citizenship among young people in their communities.
Both throughout the training course, and during the final evaluation, participants expressed their deep satisfaction with the project and the results they achieved by participating. However, as the training course took place in Denmark, the participants were missing the presence and input of those living outside of the European Union. They also pointed out that talking about issues regarding active and European citizenship, and learning about the rights, opportunities and duties coming with it would be an important first step for the citizens of the candidate countries in forming their European identity.
During the project, participants had the chance to visit InterStep, an Aalborg based local NGO. There, they heard about the work InterStep is carrying out in order to involve internationals living in Aalborg into the local community, and to make them aware of their rights as EU citizens. As they found the visit inspiring, they also voiced their interest in visiting other stakeholders doing similar work.
Through the project "Your Europe", the partners aimed to strengthen the European citizenship among EU mobile citizens, as well as among young people living in candidate and potential candidate countries to the EU.
The following objectives were identified to achieve the aim:
- to build capacity of youth organizations in EU to promote European citizenship among young EU mobile citizens;
- to build capacity of youth organizations in candidate and potential candidate countries to the EU to promote European citizenship among
- to boost partnerships between youth organizations in Programme and Partner countries in promoting European citizenship.
The participants were experienced youth leaders with a strong desire for promoting active and European citizenship, involving EU citizens into their local community, fostering EU citizenship and identity, making EU citizens feel that they are part of the European community and realize their responsibility for shaping the Union.
The project consisted of two activities:
1. study visit (A1) to Aalborg, Denmark gathered 26 participants from Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Italy, Romania, Spain and Turkey for a 7-day study visit in October, 2015;
2. training course (A2) in Chisinau, Moldova gathered 24 participants from Croatia, Denmark, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Italy Moldova, Romania, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine participating in a 10-day training course in June, 2015.
During the study visit, participants visited local institutions and organizations whose aim is to involve EU citizens into the local community and the decision making processes. These included:
- the main library
- Aalborg University
- the youth organization of the Socialdemocratic party
- InterStep, local NGO
- Studenterhuset, the Student House, and 1000Fryd, meeting points of many students and young people living in Aalborg.
The training course (A2) addressed such themes as democracy, active citizenship and Eurpean citizenship. It gave participants tools and methods to promote European citizenship among young people and tools enabling them to use Erasmus+ programme in designing follow-up activities.
Through the dissemination of project results and follow-up activities, many young people and EU citizens will be reached, making them realize that active participation in social and civic life is of high importance, their choices matter and their voices are heard. This realization will keep influencing them towards taking part in activities such as national and European elections. As young people have many ways of influencing each other, even from countries apart, this is leading to a higher election turnout among young people, both on national and European level. More people taking a bigger part in such events leads to a stronger sense of European community and involvement.
With regards to the partner countries participating in the training course (A2), participating youth leaders and the young people they reach are spreading the idea of European identity among the citizens. By sharing what possibilities lie behind a membership, people are realizing the importance of such opportunities and understand the meaning of European community even before joining the European Union.
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