CURRENT PHASE 2020 - 2022
It should be within the paramount interest of the global community to contribute towards building the peace, as it represents the basis of prosperity and progress. And it is essential to address the issue at grassroots level, since it is impossible to achieve real peace until the society is prepared and ready for it. History knows many cases when peace deals had been brokered by top leaders, but they have never been exercised as not being representatives of real attitudes of the society. Agreements can be reached by governments, but their implementation is solely up to the communities – and achieving the critical mass of people ready to live peacefully is the key. That is why it is important to sustain and expand peace-building activities to the maximum level possible – ensuring wider outreach and impact.
Placing the focus on future generation while addressing the issue is fundamental; youth are normally the ones most affected by conflicts – with developmental opportunities completely cut or severely limited, they are compelled to search for those outside their communities and countries. Therefore, they are also the ones that seek solutions with most determination and are most prepared for a real positive change.
No matter the place of origin and/or living conditions, the modern young people are exposed to different informational outlets through various digital means and thus It is way more difficult to manipulate them with usual methods of propaganda; and this factor makes them much more open for dialogue and cooperation with “the other side” – something that has been evidently demonstrated within three phases of “Roots for Reconciliation” Project in 2007 – 2019 period.
Therefore, it is crucial to grant young people with as many opportunities as possible to be involved in dialogues, peace-building and conflict resolution initiatives and actions. Youth drastically need the platforms where their voices will be heard; their priorities will be taken into account; and where they can elaborate and implement projects that may and will tackle the root causes of conflicts – stereotypes, misunderstanding & lack of trust.
Within the Roots, we plans the enrolment of the following target groups into the project framework:
- youth opinion leaders and youth workers;
- conflict affected youth - both prioritized because of being pragmatic actors for peace.
Under youth opinion leaders and youth workers we assume primarily the age group over 25 years old, with equal gender-based inclusion. These are first of all the PWI alumni of the previous Roots phases (50), and the PWI participants of the Roots current phase (25) – 75 in total. Coming from all over Europe, yet predominantly from the project targeted countries, these women and men have been and will be selected to be the driving force of the Roots. Continued activities for and with them aimed at their personal development and behaviour change is expected to form the project’s “peace cohort” ready to lead transformation and change within and beyond it.
Under conflict affected youth we primarily assume the age group between 16 – 30 years old, with equal gender inclusion and predominantly coming from the project targeted countries. Minimum 300 young women and men directly and many more indirectly will be benefiting from these activities. Besides, through the Roots Peace Work Institute tandem projects’ component, and based on the same aforementioned selection criteria, another 100 young women and men directly and many more indirectly will be benefiting from this Roots component, totalling the estimated number of this target group at 400.
As the internal impact of the project, it is expected that the Roots will have its added value on the strengthening of the European, national and local YMCAs involved in its framework. It will influence the participating organisations to either re-orient their strategies towards greater civic engagement in peace building or strengthen existing strategies in this direction.
EXPECTED OUTCOME AND IMPACT
The development goal of this project phase is: Young people are empowered as actors for prevention and peaceful transformation of conflicts in Europe.
The specific project objective is: Young women and men from conflict regions have changed their attitude towards dealing with conflicts and are involved in peace-building measures.
Based on the learning from the external evaluations of the previous Roots phases below mentioned qualitative indicators are agreed and to be tracked, namely:
- Attitude Change;
- Behaviour Change.
In order to achieve the expected outcomes and impact YMCA Europe plans to implement the following activities, which are clustered in the following logical sets.
- Peace Work Institute (PWI);
- Peace Programme Festivals (ProFests);
- Local Capacities for Peace Award;