Tiina Toivola, a youth worker from Finland, spent one month in CID as an intern. Given her extensive experience in youth work, we were happy to have her input on how youth work is conducted in a country where it is recognised as a profession and supported by the government. Tiina had the opportunity to hold a workshop in a primary school near Kumanovo and to observe various processes that happen in Macedonia related to the recognition of youth work.

After completing her internship, Tiina shared with us some thoughts about her observations. She thinks that the future of youth work in Macedonia is in good hands, because of passionate volunteers.

The youngsters don’t take everything for granted, like they do in Finland. They seem to be grateful for the opportunities the NGOs have to offer.Also the youngsters are polite and respect older people. They are also genuinely interested when they meet new people or foreigners.”

tiina (2)In terms of the quality of youth work, she thinks that youth work should always be based on the needs of the youngsters. The National Youth Barometer would be needed in order to meet these needs but also to let the stakeholders know what are the issues that youth work should and could address.

Finally, Tiina believes that there should be more support from the state in respect to strengthening the capacity of youth work providers and rendering better quality of work:

The future of youth work should not only concern the NGOs, but also the government. I hope the youth work and the profession itself will not only be recognised but also will become mandatory in each municipality (each municipality should offer youth services and hire professional youth workers).”

We hope Tiina enjoyed her short time here in  Kumanovo and that new partnerships will derive between the two organisations.