Face to Face with Local Administration – peer educators in action

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Educators in Baljevac and Jošanička Banja

Peer educators from the project “Face to Face with local administration” implemented by Development Center for Youth and the Municipality of Raška, with the financial support of the United States of America embassy, visited elementary schools “Jošanička Banja” in Jošanička Banja and “Josif Pančić” in Baljevac.

They held seven workshops in these schools and transferred knowledge gained during the project on municipal mechanisms available for improvement of their own position. Educators Nikola Mihajlović, Jovana Veljović, Magdalena Pavlović and Ivana Ćirović talked to the pupils who accepted them very openly. Children were creative in the discussion, pointing to specific problems in the places where they lived.

Scholars find their municipality lacking in sports and cultural facilities and want to fight to improve sports conditions. They also find that school’s outdoor mini-courts are not adequately equipped and protected. Therefore they have proposed to restore goal nets and setting-up of protective fence for children safety.

Jošanička Banja scholars lack adequate hall for physical education because it leaks and is full of water after the winter when the snow melts, and therefore cannot have classes of physical education.

The pupils from two schools were very positive, friendly and ready to discuss during the workshops, they understood the concepts presented easily, and realized that teamwork was the most important in solving problems.

New public classes held

Project “Face to Face with local administration” was successfully presented in the Elementary School “Miloje Zakić” and in the Gymnasium in Kuršumlija. Peer educator Veljko Avramović, with a help of Petar Dikić, coordinator of local Youth Office presented to the pupils the project itself, as well as all opportunities available to them within their local self-government.

Pupils have been directed to right people to contact and proper organizations at their disposal for potential further acting. Young people were included in the questionnaire and in the discussion through which they presented different opinions and answers about what they needed and what they would change in their environment.

Young Avramović held three public classes in these two schools, and in the Gymnasium he managed to bring together students of all grades. They presented their ideas to the local YO. Whom they can tell about the project, when and how were just some of the scholars’ questions.

We believe that successful cooperation we have established with these two schools will continue in the future and we are thankful for opportunity they provided us.

Workshop in Novi Pazar also held

Project “Face to Face with local administration” expanded to neighbouring towns and it was presented outside Raška, at the Technical School in Novi Pazar. The gathering was attended by deputy director Vanja Marinković and school pedagogue Nezrina Dazdarević.

Students were introduced to the objective of the project and easily embraced new terms with seriousness. After the lecture, there was a discussion with students about current problems in their town. Each of them presented one problem and in the end, together with their peer educator Jovana Veljović, they came to the conclusion that environmental action was needed the most in Novi Pazar. The same could be implemented as a competition for all elementary and secondary schools in order to involve as many interested students for further acting. The idea needs to be elaborated and possibly will be realized at the beginning of spring.

– Students from Novi Pazar, my peers, are very interested in the topic of the project “Face to Face with local administration”. In order to awaken the curiosity of students who have not had the opportunity to attend the workshop, a poster on the bulletin board at the very entrance to the school was posted – said Jovana Veljović.

Two workshops held in elementary school “Raška”

Peer educators within the project “Face to Face with Local Administration” continued with their activities and held two more workshops, this time in the elementary school “Raška”.

Magdalena Pavlović made a lively presentation on the mechanisms available to young people within their own municipality, which was an interesting topic for the elementary school students, because they have not had the opportunity to discuss much about the functioning of local self-government. Project participants were introduced to the project, but also, in an understandable way, to the structure of the Municipality and how they can get involved in the life of local community. Second, equally interesting and dynamic workshop was held by Ivana Ilić.

The elementary school students pointed out that this topic was very interesting to them and during the discussion they already had several suggestions on how they could use the cooperation between the Municipality of Raška and young people, from environmental-friendly actions till the construction of playgrounds and sports fields in the surrounding area.

Project is implemented by Development Center for Youth in partnership with the Municipality of Raška.

Discussion about the project with representatives of the Students’ parliament of the High School in Raška

On November 20, representatives of the Students’ parliament of the High School in Raška got acquainted with topic and activities of the project “Face to Face with Local Administration”. During the roundtable, apart from being introduced to why it is important for them to participate in decision-making on issues of immediate interest, as well as what are the existing mechanisms to improve their participation, they were able to present what they considered to be important issues for the advancement of the position of young people in Raška.

This is just one activity in a raw aimed at informing young people about the work of local self-government and encouraging their participation in decision-making processes, all that in order to make young people active and responsible citizens involved in the life of community whose part they are.

Activities are part of the project “Face to Face with Local Administration” that is implemented in partnership with the Municipality of Raška.

New activities in the municipality of Raška – „Ask Your Councilor”

As part of the project “Face to Face with Local Administration”, youth of Raška Municipality had the opportunity to learn a lot of new and interesting information about the work of local administration in a direct conversation with the member of the Municipal Assembly Dragan Miladinović.

Namely, within the informative activity “Ask Your Councilor”, the councilor Dragan Miladinović talked with youth about work of the Assembly and other local decision makers, as well as about the ways to engage themselves and make their proposals for a better life of local community.

Interested students from „Kraljica Jelena” High School and Grammar School in Raška were able to ask whatever they were interested in – from methods of delegating what really matters to them as young people, till how to initiate or engage in various local activities.

An extremely constructive and interactive discussion is the best indicator that young people respond positively to the open door of institutions and are interested in contributing to the improvement of life in local community. It is therefore concluded that this type of activity needs to be continued in the future, and that „Ask Your Councilor” format attracts a lot of young people’s attention and shows them firsthand that institutions are really ready to hear and appreciate their opinions.

Three more workshops held in Elementary School Sutjeska Supnje

After the extremely positive reaction of children and young people to the introductory workshops within the project “Face to Face with Local Administration”, project participant and experienced educator Nikola Mihajlović continued his educational activities at Sutjeska Elementary School in Supnje, Raška.

“The essence of our work is to use non-formal education, and in a youth-friendly and accessible way, explain to children and young people many things which are not taught directly in school and which are unknown to them, concerning different opportunities offered to them through the local community – from launching initiatives to traveling, study visits, local actions”, Nikola Mihajlović shared with young people during the workshops.

Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students were interested in hearing something new and learning how the Municipality worked, but also how they themselves could launch a local initiative on their own. Proposals were numerous, but according to the age and interests of the participants, the largest number related to enrichment of sports content and reconstruction of the local playground.

Through conversations with young people, they have shown themselves to be motivated and enthusiastic, willing to contribute, but they have to be guided on how to become drivers of local action in their communities, in order to compensate the lack of alternatives in cultural, sporting and entertainment life, generally – the opportunities for quality spending of leisure time.

Participation at this series of workshops was optional, and we are extremely pleased with the response from children and young people who wanted to hear something new and become familiar with the topics we are dealing with through the project “Face to Face with Local Administration”.

Undoubtedly, Development Center for Youth and the Municipality of Raška have found in Sutjeska Elementary School an adequate partner for all future activities aimed at creating active citizens interested in contributing to development of a local youth-friendly community.

With Raška high school students on local administration

Peer educator Veljko Avramović on Tuesday, November 5 held two workshops in a row for the first-year students of Raška Grammar School, introducing them to the topics of the project “Face to face with local administration”.

During extremely dynamic sessions, which included association games, a quiz on the work of local administration, as well as an evaluation of everything that young people could hear and methodological approach that evaluator applied, Veljko fully included participants in discussion and came to their opinion on what they saw as obstacles to more active participation in community life, but also how they saw a possible solution to this challenge.

Once again, it turns out that young people are full of ideas, but they should be encouraged and provided with enough space to share their ideas with local decision makers.

We hope to continue our active cooperation with Raška Grammar School, since the students responded positively both to the way they worked and the topics presented, and at this age it is of utmost importance to show them all mechanisms available in order to become active citizens.

New workshop in Primary school “Sutjeska”

Realization of the project “Face to Face with Local Administration” has successfully continued in Primary school “Sutjeska” in Supnje with seventh and eighth grade pupils.

Peer educator Vanja Vukadinović, specialist for labor protection, has conducted very intensive and interesting lecture pointing out on important segments and details relevant for greater participation of youth in local community. In a creative way she transferred impressions from training held on Kopaonik and also knowledge gained there about mechanisms available to youth in Raška municipality. Focus was at public appearance of young people, as well as importance of adequate appearance in different occasions.

Pupils from seventh and eighth grade have showed great interest for the subject because there are not so many opportunities in which youth can inform about participation in the work of their municipality and in that manner contribute to the position of their group. Especially interesting to them was the opportunity to talk with a person close to their age so they were more relaxed in discussion and therefore the idea of peer education showed as right choice in approach to youth.

Management of the Primary school “Sutjeska” has supported this project from the very beginning so this is the continuation of good cooperation that we have.

Peer educators continue with their activities in Raška

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On October 24, high school students engaged in course: economic technician from Secondary School „Kraljica Jelena“ were introduced to the significance and topics of the project “Face to Face with Local Administration”. The role of peer educator was implemented by Jovana Veljović, who introduced the topic in a dynamic and original way, encouraging high school students to be more active in expressing their interests and needs before the local administration. During the workshop, participants were introduced to the functioning of local administration, as well as the possibilities of influencing it through petitions, advocacy campaigns, discussions with municipal councilors, participation in the work of the Youth Office, etc.

Through a series of examples, high school students were encouraged to influence the community and contribute to improvement of the content and offer relevant for young people. Organizers of the project, Development Center for Youth from Belgrade and the Municipality of Raška have used the opportunity to highlight the quality cooperation existing so far with the Secondary School „Kraljica jelena“, which has always responded positively to all initiatives aimed at improving the position of young people in the municipality of Raška.

First in a series of peer workshops implemented

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Nikola Mihajlović, participant of the project “Face to Face with Local Administration” held the first in a series of peer educations, selecting for the participants of his activity elementary school pupils from the elementary school “Sutjeska” Supnje. On that occasion, Nikola presented in a creative and dynamic way, using the knowledge and information from the initial training, the importance of the project and its activities to those who were present. For many of them it was the first time to get acquainted with the term “local administration” and Nikola sought to enrich his workshop with a number of concrete examples, in order to encourage young people to think about greater participation in the life of local community.

How to fight for your rights, solve a particular problem in the community, or take an initiative were just some of the questions that Nikola Mihajlović and workshop participants addressed during the class. In addition to introducing the topic among young people, it was also extremely positive that young people had shown an interest in learning more and, over time, becoming a more active part of the community.

Development Center for Youth is especially pleased with the fact that the workshops started at the elementary school “Sutjeska”, bearing in mind the cooperation and support we have received from its director, Mr. Mirko Puzović so far. His way of work is precisely aimed at creating active citizens from schoolchildren, motivating them to be involved in all local processes of relevance.