In a space of only five days, the 41 chosen youngsters (out of more than 220 valid applications for the positions) of the Youth Leaders Academy, went from knowing very little to being close to experts of the Solidarity Action Day, which they will launch in June 2023.
The young and determined future-leaders gathered at the Innovation Center Kosovo (ICK) for a five-day Kick-off Training event, whose main purpose was to better inform, prepare, and motivate them for the upcoming tasks required to complete in order to organize the Solidarity Action Day. Everyday of the training, they had a particular challenge to solve, from the ways to promote their cause, to the recruitment drives they need, to the advocacy, and working with businesses to secure jobs for their volunteers. We were simply amazed at what they could do in such a short time.
The event included special guests such as: The legendary research journalist Jeta Xharra from the Balkan Investigative Network (BIRN) and Kallxo.com; the honorable Mr. Hajrulla Çeku, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports (MYCS) of Kosova; the veteran of youth-related activities, Nermin Mahmuti, Executive Director of the Community Development Fund (CDF) Kosovo; and Blerim Muhaxhiri, the General Director of Dukagjini Publishing House. All of the guests listened as the Young Leaders made their case, and then provided valuable insights from their own experience, as to how to make their cases even stronger.
The Solidarity Action Day is organized by the SAME Network and is part of a large-scale movement in Europe, where on this day, pupils get the chance to exercise a job of their choice instead of going to school. Their salaries are used to support youth-related projects in the whole world. The concept of the Solidarity Action Day goes back to 1963 in Sweden, when a group of young people launched ‘en dag för Dag’. This day was held in memory of the Swedish Secretary-General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld, who was killed in a plane crash on his way to a ceasefire negotiation in Congo. In central Europe, the German organisation Schüler Helfen Leben was also spreading the Solidarity Action Day idea, after launching its own Solidarity Action Day in 1998. They brought the idea to South Eastern Europe. Unija Srednjoškolaca Srbije held its first Solidarity Action Day in 2010 in Serbia, followed by Asocijacija Srednjoškolaca u Bosni i Hercegovini in 2016 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Unija Srednjoškolaca Crne Gora in 2017 in Montenegro.
The Youth Leaders Academy will prepare 41 young leaders for the first Solidarity Action Day event in Kosovo, scheduled for June 2023.
The Youth Leaders Academy Training is part of the environmental activities of the Swedish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (SIDA), through its “Human Rightivism” Program that is implemented by the Community Development Fund (CDF) and TOKA; is supported by the Kosovo Foundation for Civil Society (KCSF) ‘EJA Kosova’ – co-financed by the Swedish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AIDS), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; as from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) of Kosovo. This project is developed in cooperation with the SAME Network of organizations.