The training course “Model for active participation and democratic management of youth organizations” is part of a long-term KA2 project – „Democratic governance in youth organization – key to participation”, financed by the Erasmus+ Programme. The project is addressing one of the key issues in youth organizing: the aspect of real, effective and meaningful participation, quality management and outreach. It is implemented between August 2015 and December 2016 and involves 4 partners: JUB Netherlands, CID Macedonia, TOG Turkey and Out-of-the-box Belgium.
The training course happened between 8th and 13th of May in Mavrovo, Macedonia, and gathered participants from three countries: Macedonia, the Netherlands and Turkey. The sessions, conducted in the framework of non-formal education, included discussions, group work and reflections on the topics of active participation, decision making in youth organisations, democracy in organisations, proposals for ideal models.
One of the activities of the training was to imagine an ideal organisation. The participants were split into t groups and given time to reflect upon what an ideal organisation would look like. The outcome of this activity was that despite the ideal conditions provided in the theoretical situation, questions remained on the decision making process which sometimes was either not inclusive enough or in which the inclusive aspect would materialize as a barrier to efficiency. Nonetheless the participants were very creative and always tried to find creative solutions to issues they didn’t necessarily think about beforehand. Another aspect is that because the exercise was based on an ideal situation in which financial support wouldn’t be an issue, the participants didn’t necessarily think on the cost efficiency of their organizations and on the way to get funding for it.
Nina and Eva from the Story of Refugees shared with us what they think were the most important moments from the training:
“There actually were two moments. The first one was when we had to think on our own management and decision making model from our own organization because we have an organization that is not that big yet, we only consist of three people, but we made a nice design and it was really clear for us afterwards how we want it to be in the future, how all the contacts with the external world were, our different projects that are going on right now. We probably will also take that design structure back home and build upon it. That was a really positive point.
The second point was that on the last day when we were “dreaming” of a perfect organization, we felt like we really learned a lot about the organization and the management structures again and that we could start thinking “bottom up” about how such an organization would ideally look. For example, how you have committees, how you set representatives, how the decision making happens, how you can influence that. These are aspects and structures we never really thought about before the training but that we can now use so that is a positive point as well where we definitely learned something.”
Bilal from TOG also thinks that the training had some important moments for him:
“There were more than 5 organizations and all their structure models are different from one another and their ways to deal with the problems vary a lot and I feel like I, and my organization, can get benefit from that variety and learn from it. For me it was the important part of the training.