“Youth Voice Romania” Community Organizing Program

Testimonial Andreea Buzec, coordinator of the Youth Voice Romania community organizing program.

The Insight on the need within the community: In Romania/ Bucharest, many youth are alienated from decision making. They are used to adults deciding for them and often do not know or understand what these decisions mean and the way they are affected by them. On the long run, lack of participation in decision making transforms youth into passive citizens that will not stand up for their rights and not be able to make productive changes in their communities. YOUTH VOICE Romania provides a program that focuses on important elements

of becoming a productive member of society by being able to take action in solving pressing issues in their communities, first of all schools, defending their student rights.

What YVR wants to be: A network for youth to build individual and collective power consisting of youth-led chapters in 5 high-schools in Bucharest: Caragiale, Lazar, Matei Basarab, Tudor Vianu and Viilor College coordinated by Partners Foundation for Local Development- FPDL, Romania.

What YVR has achieved: YOUTH VOICE Romania aims at developing young people’s capacity in leadership to make change in their lives and community using four areas: identity development, youth organizing, community service, and critical thinking through supporting them in developing and implementing campaigns/ activities aimed at tackling issues in their schools and communities.

So far, we have reached more than 400 pupils through involving them as active members of initiative groups or as contributors to the campaigns that have been implemented.

In doing so, we have managed to negotiate the reopening of a library, a huge contribution to respecting the right to quality education; the installing of a panel that comprises information about the rights and responsibilities of teachers and students as well as information about extracurricular activities running in schools together with selection criteria and contact person, which means respect for the right to information. We have supported initiative group members to design and deliver themselves training sessions on the topics of communication and team work during the national week dedicated to non-formal education. They have also organized an event dedicated to inspirational speech where they have invited different community leaders and public personalities to share their experience on what success means.

One of the initiative groups has written a project proposal and managed to secure financial support for the implementation of a youth exchange project on the topic of promoting European citizenship. The project is co-financed by the European Commission through the Youth in Action Program.

The program has been awarded a grant for a spin-off project aimed at researching and fighting hate speech in high schools in the period May 2014- November 2015 by the Civil Society Development Foundation through the EEA Grants program.

The Youth Voice program has also inspired and supported the initiation of a similar youth community organizing program in another high school in Bucharest, Sfantul Pantelimon, by the Center for Resources for Civic Participation- CeRe.