- Democracy Workshops
- Active youth
- Youth clubs
- Youth worker
The project Democracy Workshops is of high importance and priority for Montenegrin society, as well as the innovative manner of work with children who will be future driving force of our development road to the society of active citizens.
Democracy Workshops is the project of the Open Parliament of the Parliament of Montenegro, in which Forum MNE participates through giving expert and technical assistance. The concept of Democracy Workshops was initially established and implemented in Austria since 2007. The project was financially supported by ERSTE foundation. It lasted three years. As it was planned, the Parliament of Montenegro took over the project in the mid-2014 and it became sustainable, since it was financed through the budget of Montenegro.
Democracy Workshops aims at encouraging interests in young people in politics and democratic processes, and they are designed as a program of civil education for students of primary schools, by which they acquire knowledge on parliamentarian democracy, functioning of parliament, law adoption and implementation, as well as institutions and development of the European Union, European values and Montenegro's road to EU.
Through different interactive contents and in a way adjusted to their age, and with the help of selected and trained lecturers/trainers, children and young people, aged 8-14/15, learn through play how democracy functions. They show their acquired knowledge and experience through newspaper articles, radio or video reports, which are later published on the children's parliamentarian web site. Apart from learning basic principles of democracy and acquiring knowledge on parliamentarian processes, the aim of the program is to explain other two preconditions for political participation – media scope and a will to express an opinion.
Democracy Workshops are held on weekdays following a school year and last four hours. One school class together with a teacher participates in one workshop. Students visit the Parliament of Montenegro within workshops. Also, members of the Parliament and employees of the Parliament visit workshops and talk with the students, giving them an opportunity to find out more about the topic they discuss on the workshop. Participation in Democracy Workshops is open for all children of Montenegro and it is free of charge. All participants of the workshops are given certificates on a ceremony at the end of each cycle in the Parliament of Montenegro.
Fifty-six classes with 1339 students of primary schools from the central region of Montenegro participated in the first cycle of the workshops, on topic Democracy and Parliament, from October to December 2012. Seventeen schools participated in this cycle. Specifically, the workshop Democracy and Parliament educates and closely informs young people on democracy, democratic values, citizens in democracy, election processes, function of the Parliament, members of the Parliament, elections, separation of powers as well as other relevant issues important for development of democratic society.
In 2012 all workshops were focused on newspaper articles as the final products of the workshops. At the end of the workshop, every child, the participant in the workshop, was given the hard copy of newspapers. Also, copies of newspapers were printed on the spot for the present teacher, as well as the copy for school. Ceremony of awarding newspapers at the end of the workshop is one of the most significant moments for children during the workshop. Impressions of all present students, as well as teachers, are extremely positive and encouraging.
Interest in Democracy Workshops by schools is strong, especially after the first visit to workshops. Also, through common communication with parents who want to hear about the concept and purpose of workshops, it can be said that the support in implementation also comes from their side.
Classes of primary schools from the south and north region, wherewith the whole territory of Montenegro is covered, participated in the workshops in 2013. At the same time, in 2013 the new thematic workshop European Union was introduced; on which all children of the given age also have an opportunity to participate. Introduction of radio report as a final product of workshops allowed participants new forms of creative expression with the aim of acquiring knowledge from the given fields. In 2013, 5184 students (15 of them from Czech Republic) had an opportunity to acquire new knowledge from the field of democracy, parliament and European Union. Sixty primary schools from twenty Montenegrin municipalities visited Democratic Workshops in 2013. In this period 224 workshops have been carried out, 175 out of which with the product in form of newspaper article, and 49 with a radio report as a final workshop product.
The year of 2014 brings novelty to the project Democracy Workshops namely in the final product, where workshop participants get the possibility to present their knowledge by means of short video clips. In 2014, 3005 students and 191 teachers from 59 primary schools and 20 municipalities participated in the program.
All articles, radio reports and video materials were made by students. Their content consists of activities created during four-hour work, and they are published on the web sites of democratic workshops www.demokratskeradionice.me on which you may find more information about the project.
Forum MNE, in partnership with the Centre for Youth Work (CZOR) from Serbia, implemented the project Active Youth for Active Societies. The project is supported by the European Union, through the Delegation of the European Union in Montenegro and in Serbia, and under the Component 2 of the Instrument for the Pre-accession Assistance, within the Program of the Cross-Border Cooperation Serbia-Montenegro. Besides CZOR, partners are also Centre for Vocational Education from Montenegro and Organisation Urban In from Serbia. Project activities are related to the region of Sandžak – Berane, Plav, Rožaje, Prijepolje, Sjenica and Novi Pazar and it covers the period of 12 months.
The aim of the project was the promotion and protection of human rights in Sandžak through capacity building and networking of the formal and non-formal youth groups in the field of youth activism, human rights protection and improvement of multiculturalism and diversity in communities. The implementation of the project activities contributed to the process of democratization in both countries with regard to youth activism.
The project gathered 34 active young people from 6 mentioned towns that were involved in the project from the beginning until the end and that created further recommendations, and transferred their experience to their peers so that youth activism could begin to live in these municipalities. Forum MNE and CZOR also ensured that young people develop some ideas for projects and initiatives which may be implemented after the implementation of this project.
With the support and cooperation with mayors of all six municipalities, as well as with the support of high schools in Montenegro and Youth Office in Serbia, the following activities are foreseen and implemented by the project:
Youth Bus represented the central and, simultaneously, the final activity within the project Active Youth for Active Societies. The activity was implemented in the period from 24th to 30th of June 2013 according to the following schedule: Berane (24th June, 12pm -1:30pm and 7.15pm-8.15pm, main street), Plav (25th June, 11am -2 pm, in front of Cultural Centre), Rožaje (26th June, 11am-2pm, in front of hotel "Rožaje" in the main street), Novi Pazar (27th June, 12pm -1:30pm and 7.15pm-8.15pm, in the main street), Sjenica (28th June, 12pm -1.30pm and 7.15pm-20.15pm, in the city park) and Prijepolje (29th June, 12pm -1.30pm and 7.15pm-20.15 pm, in front of the Cultural Centre).
During these 6 days, branded bus, with around 35 young people, participants of the project, travelled every day to 6 above mentioned towns. In each of these towns young people implemented series of creative and public actions animating wider society and drawing attention to the importance of youth activism. These actions included:
The end of project was marked by publishing the manual with practical examples and ideas in the field of youth activism.
For more information, please visit our web site: http://www.forum-mne.com/aktivni-mladi
Youth clubs are places which offer organised, educational, creative and interactive contents for young people. The aim of activities is to develop skills, knowledge and attitude of young people, which they need in order to fulfil their full potentials. Activities of youth clubs are offered as leisure contents of young people. Types of activities vary from thematic workshops and youth trainings, to organisation of cultural and sport events, thematic evenings, free activities (youth café, table tennis, social games...).
Topics of activities come as suggestions and needs of young people, or as a response to problems they are facing with. Also, young people get stronger and they are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, choices, life. Clubs also offer information from different fields (employment, education, health, law, travels, and leisure). It is very important in any time that there is a youth worker and/or volunteer in the youth club, who conducts or helps young people to conduct activities in the club. They are trained for work with young people and they ensure quality and safe environment for young people in the club. Safe environment involves atmosphere of acceptance, non-discrimination, respect of personalities, and also physical safety of young people, in terms of non-violence, non-consumption of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.
Forum MNE has opened, during twelve years of work in Montenegro, youth clubs in: Podgorica, Ulcinj, Kotor, Bar, Rožaje and Berane, and plans to continue the implementation of similar programs and projects. Still, the model according to which only one organization can respond to identified needs of all young people is not sustainable, and therefore Forum MNE, guided by its experience, and also by EU recommendations, started developing several models regarding opening and running youth clubs. We think that the lack of space does not necessarily mean lack of youth work activities. This only means that youth work is conducted in other places – schools, institutions, cultural centres, and on a structured manner in all places where young people gather (street, cafés, sports fields etc.)
One of youth club models in Montenegro which was successfully introduced by Forum MNE, is a concept of voluntarily-run youth clubs. In short, it implies that young people are those who initiate opening of the youth club and together with their peers develop and conduct activities of the youth club. Non-governmental organisations give support during this process, mostly in part of building capacities of young people, and their individual development. Over the years, Forum MNE supported young people in Ulcinj, Berane, Rožaje and Risan and together with them started activities of voluntarily-run youth clubs.
Youth club must have clear work standards, structure, organisation and program. The team running a voluntary youth club is organized in form of a board of young people which is responsible for activities offered by the club.
Team of experts/youth workers from Forum MNE is currently engaged in initiatives for youth clubs running in Rožaje, Pljevlja and Tivat. Within the engagement, Forum MNE offers training for opening and running youth clubs within which it will acquaint future youth workers and activists who will work in the club with basis of youth work, and also recommended standards and procedures in running of youth clubs. This initiative is implemented in cooperation and with the support of Directorate for Youth and Sports (National Youth Office) and Fund for Active Citizenship (fAKT).
Events and actions, organised as a part of youth work activities, are directed to wider society and aim at drawing attention of the public to the specific issue or topic, or introducing talents, ideas, suggestions of young people. They are organized by youth workers, volunteers and young people themselves, and they are held in different open and closed spaces in the community.
PRECOGNITION OF YOUTH ACTIVIST VOCATION
Forum MNE recognised the need to work on recognition of youth activist vocation in order to ensure quality care for young people and to ensure professionalization of service offered to young people.
Forum MNE believes that institutional recognition of this vocation can partly contribute that Montenegro becomes state that: recognises young people as a resource (not only in words but also in deeds), recognises young people as holders of changes, and simultaneously creates an environment which won't motivate young people to leave the country but it will motivate and encourage them to see that they and their society and state can develop and contribute to democratic changes in Montenegro.
In cooperation with the Centre for Vocational Education (Ministry of Education), Forum MNE has been working for 4 years already on the process of recognition of this vocation. Since Forum MNE participates in the preparation of youth law, this concept and idea is introduced into the draft law. We think that work on this initiative is important in order to contribute to professionalization of youth work, and also to give an opportunity to young people who do not have university education to deal with Community Youth Work on a responsible and professional manner. We believe that this will greatly strengthen youth services at the local level, and we hope that the time will come when youth activists will be employed by the local self-governments.
The process is long-lasting and the reason is the fact that, during 2014, regulations were changing, so documentation also had to be adjusted. Simultaneously, during 2014, the minister of education moved to another position, and the new one was not appointed and the process is still on-going. This has delayed the formalization of this process.
Some of professional competences of the youth activists recognised in the vocation standard are given below:
As soon as the process of creating training program is finished, we will publish it on our web site, and in case you are interested in contributing to the process, feel free to contact us.
Volunteerism gives young people an opportunity to work for their communities and to improve skills which are necessary for them to become active citizens. Forum MNE, during its overall work, involved volunteers in its work and it always represented added value in the projects. Forum MNE cherishes two forms of volunteering:
All activities in the field of volunteerism are in compliance with the respective legislation.
If you want to volunteer in activities of Forum MNE, please contact our office in Podgorica or come personally.