The Regional Youth Leadership Mobility Programme

The Regional Youth Leadership Mobility Programme (RYLMP) 2022-2025 enables around 40 young researchers from Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia to develop data-driven advocacy plans in fields related to regional cooperation and European integration, education and employability, migration and brain drain, youth participation and youth actions in the dual transition: digital and green. This programme, through capacity building, research mobility, mentoring, and data-driven advocacy actions, helps youth in Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia improve their competencies and knowledge on how to develop evidence-informed/data-driven advocacy action at the local and regional levels. The current RYLMP 2023-2024 is implemented jointly by the Center Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV) in Albania, the Youth Education Forum (YEF) in North Macedonia, and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) in Serbia. RYLMP is supported by the Open Society Foundations.

RYLMP specifically targets youth interested in active participation in solving youth-related challenges and creating new solutions through data-driven advocacy. This includes recently graduated students, MA or Ph.D. students, young researchers, and youth activists in civil society from Albania, Serbia, and North Macedonia interested in the above-mentioned topics. Candidates should also be able to work in English (both orally and in writing), be willing to spend designated time in another country, work in a team, be keen on regional cooperation, and be engaged in decision-making processes through evidence-based activism and data-driven advocacy.

The selected participants (RYLMP Fellows) will be offered tailored capacity development activities through e-learning and mentoring programme to improve further their competencies and knowledge on how to develop evidence-informed / data-driven advocacy actions, actively participate in policy development, and relevant methods for participation at the local and regional levels. Implementing partners will facilitate effective collaboration among youth in Albania, Serbia, and North Macedonia. They will also have an opportunity to spend a two-week research mobility in Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia, experience how their peers live there and gain intercultural experience. During this time, participants will work with designated mentors to support the teams through the process and with the selected topic. The programme will organize several joint events, such as opening and closing events and workshop, regional advocacy actions, and cultural activities for RYLMP Fellows during their mobility period.

The first cycle or cohort of the RYLMP Phase II (2022-2023) was completed in October 2023 with 19 RYLMP fellows from Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia successfully completing their research mobility schemes, finalizing policy documents and research advocacy reports and carrying our evidence-based advocacy actions and awareness raising campaigns on regional cooperation, youth participation, migration, and brain drain and employability. In the second cycle or cohort of the RYLMP Phase II (2023-2024), we seek to attract 21 young activists, researchers, PhD students, and professionals from Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia. The target group is youth (from 21 to 30 years old) from Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

Historical background of RYLMP

RYLMP builds upon the pilot seven-month project developed jointly by the Center Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV), Albania, and the Centre for Education Policy (CEP), Serbia, targeting young individuals wanting to actively participate and contribute to change in the society and/or local community and have the capacity to influence societies in the future. The implementation of the RYLMP in 2021 and early 2022 paved the way for the continuation and scaling up of the programme, including North Macedonia into the programme. Learning from the strengths of the initiative that broke barriers and gave participants the flexibility to work and build their capacities in small groups and by providing mentorship, the project partners have advanced the programme in a multiyear project with a 3-year duration of 2022-2025 that includes three project partners from three countries with the support of Open Society Foundations. In the new iteration 2023-2024, RYLMP welcomes a new partner from Serbia, namely the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR), thus strengthening outreach to youth and stakeholders working on youth empowerment.

RYLMP objectives and thematic areas

RYLMP aims to strengthen regional youth cooperation and advocacy for youth-related issues in Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia. The programme seeks to support young people, students, and youth activists with opportunities to improve their competencies and pursue areas of their interest. The objectives are:

  1. To enhance youth mobility and cultural understanding among young people from Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia;
  2. To strengthen and promote young people as advocates by improving their skills and competencies for research, leadership, advocacy, creation, and monitoring of youth-related policies;
  3. To support the regional networking of civil society organizations/implementing partners.

The programme encourages participants to propose data-driven advocacy actions in the following priority thematic areas:

  1. Regional cooperation and European Integration: Regional initiatives and EU integration (perceptions of young people on regional cooperation; challenges and opportunities of EU integration; benefit of Erasmus+ or youth mobility; youth strategies & comparisons with EU countries);
  2. Education and employability (curricula and quality of education (VET)–the mismatch of the education and labor market; requalification policies; recognition of diplomas; recognition of non-formal education; employment policies analysis; the efficiency of Youth Guarantee Programme and similar Active Labour Market Policy; higher education and research opportunities for youth);
  3. Migration and brain drain (reasons to leave; career development; which professions are leaving; push and pull factors; from brain drain to brain gain or circulation – examples and success stories. Policy on the movement of students/education; Regional initiatives as a place for brain gain; systemic shortcomings that underpin brain drain and generate opportunities to leave);
  4. Youth Participation (social & political factors for non-participation; digital participation; laws on youth and implementation; participation in decision-making process; civic engagement; perceptions of youth on political participation; urban vs rural, monitoring youth participation at governing bodies at the universities, monitoring of the work of the local youth councils, etc.);
  5. Youth action in the dual transition: digital and environment (digitalization, Artificial Intelligence, ethics, challenges, impact, digital competencies, environmental protection, climate change, awareness raising).

The RYLM 2023/24 call for applications can be found here.