Turkey Youth Union Association
Asociația Divers Egyesület
United Societies of Balkans
Young Sietar - Netherlands (http://www.youngsietar.org), PEN - Kosovo (http://www.ngo-pen.org), Involve - Ireland (http://www.involve.ie/) more tbc.
How often have you heard “Youth is the future”? We want to transform the dreams of the Millennials (who are ⅓ of today’s population) into social change. NOW. We offer an inclusive 6-month program that makes young people the protagonists of the social transformations they want to see in their local realities. By learning from the diversity of our participants and partner organizations, the NOW journey creates positive change all over Europe while fostering solidarity between our participants.
Passugg Araschgen, Switzerland
Youth unemployment, global warming, wars, migration, rising social inequality and many more: solving global problems requires commitment and collaboration. Yet, as individuals we often believe that we can’t make a difference. The older we get, the more we lose the belief that solving these challenges is possible. That’s where we come in. NOW is a philosophy, a movement based on the belief that social change needs all of us and that diversity can be its driving force.
NOW empowers youth to create meaningful projects to address global challenges in their local environments. We create a space where participants can be themselves and where everything is possible (represented by our mascot, the unicorn) in order to make social transformation tangible. By connecting our participants to each other and to civil society organizations, we aim at building a Europe-wide network in which supporting each other across causes becomes the norm.
The NOW journey brings together 30 diverse young people from all over Europe. In the selection we will collaborate with civil society organizations to ensure diversity in our program. At our 10-day ‘Encounter’, participants attend workshops related to project management, fundraising, intercultural learning and reflect on the interconnectedness of global issues. Participants will then start designing social change projects for their own communities. Being back home during the implementation phase, they will support each other through facilitated online peer-to-peer sessions and receive individual coaching. Finally, at the 4-day Future Forum, participants will gather in-person to evaluate their projects and learnings, as well as plan how to multiply their experiences.
We seek to actively engage youth with limited access to educational and economic resources, facing stigma and exclusion within their societies due to their sexual orientation, physical ability, gender identity, nationality, cultural background or faith. We call them “unlikely participants”. However, creating a program only for one profile of participants does not stimulate inter-diversity learning, which is why we welcome all youth aged 18-25 to apply.
We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. NOW is inspired and influenced by many great organizations working on social impact and intercultural education. Based on the experiences we accumulated with some of them, we created a unique combination of A) inclusion of marginalized youth without tokenizing them, B) strong focus on social impact, C) learning from diversity beyond national cultures, and D) embracing new technologies and the way youth experience the world.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
While a lot of the NOW journey happens online, there’s nothing as powerful as bringing people together face-to-face. That is why the NOW program includes two in-person events: the NOW Encounter and the Future Forum. Major expenses amount to travelling and hosting, including accessibility to marginalized youth (support for people with physical impairments, language support etc.). Other costs relate to communication, team expenses and e-learning.
NOW is still a young initiative and we are eager to learn! Right now some of our questions revolve around how to evaluate and certify the hands-on learning and the soft skills that our participants develop during the program. Besides that, we’re absorbing everything we can about creating interactive and fun online learning experiences. So any advice in those two areas is very welcome.