The second cohort of the Regional Youth Leadership Programme (RYLMP) project came to a successful conclusion on 20 October in Belgrade, Serbia. The project, which focuses on empowering young researchers and facilitating their engagement in policy-making processes, has been a remarkable journey of learning, collaboration, and advocacy.
During the final conference in Belgrade, the project’s policy disruptors had the opportunity to present and discuss the main findings from their policy papers with various stakeholders. Representatives from the Local Government, the European Union Delegation to Serbia, researchers, and others attended the event. The policy papers addressed four pillars: Education and Employability, Regional Cooperation, Migration and Brain Drain, and Youth Participation.
The Education and Employability group dived into the Youth Guarantee (YG) program within the context of the Western Balkan countries, specifically Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia. Their research shed light on how programs like YG are designed to address unemployment by targeting individuals who are not engaged in any form of employment, formal education, or training. The advocacy research report, “Redefining Youth Employability Through Youth Guarantee Program,” provides insightful information on this topic and can be accessed here.
Meanwhile, the Regional Cooperation team focused on the importance of local ownership in the economic and youth sectors. Through interviews and a targeted questionnaire, the policy disruptors captured the voices and perspectives of the youth, emphasizing their role and attitudes towards regional cooperation. Interested readers can access the policy paper titled “Regional Cooperation Agenda and its Effectiveness: The Role of Local Ownership in Economic and Youth Domains” to gain a deeper understanding of this critical aspect. The full report can be accessed here.
The Migration and Brain Drain group conducted their research to understand better the perceptions driving outward-oriented migration among young people in Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia. Their mixed-methods approach, including focus groups and a regional survey targeting young individuals aged 18-25 years, aimed to identify the sources of these perceptions. The findings and analysis of the advocacy research report “Youth Perceptions and Attitudes on Migration” can be found here.
Lastly, the Youth Participation team explored the gap between youth participation in policy-making processes in Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia. Their analysis explored the institutional and legislative framework in these countries, as well as insights from interviews with representatives from civil society, youth organizations, senior governmental officials, and policymakers. The findings and analysis of the advocacy research report “#BridgeTheGap: Between Policy and Practice for Youth Participation in Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia` can be found here.
We are grateful for the cooperation, active engagement, and dedication of our fellows and partners during this cohort, Youth Educational Forum in North Macedonia and Center for Education Policies in Serbia. We are happy to extend our cooperation with our new partner, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia.
As the second cohort comes to a close, we are looking toward the upcoming cycle. Updates on the project call for participants for the forthcoming 2024 cohort. The RYLMP project is supported by the Open Society Foundations.