Encouraging Democratic Values and Active Citizenship Among Youth (EDVACAY) is a ten month long program with the goal of training young activists, introducing them to democracy and human rights challenges, encouraging them to employ critical thinking on sensitive topics, and building their communications, presentation, and research skills.
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The ten-month long program has the goal of transferring knowledge on democratic principles and human rights, stimulating critical thinking about sensitive issues and encouraging the development of communication and research skills of participants.
The initiative includes a nine day in-person training; individual research projects on democracy-related issues; a group project resulting in four civic campaigns; and a final debate tournament for the participants.
With this program, we are targeting students who have little to no experience in non-formal education, volunteer work or NGO engagement. EDVACAY is currently running in its 9th year with the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy.
The program consists of the following components:
- Nine-day education and skills development training
- Module on different models of democracy, democratic values, active citizenship, and democratic political culture regarding human rights, nationalism, identity, and youth activism
- Workshops on leadership, communication, and research skills
- Introductory debate course, conducted by national and international debating champions
Nine-day Education and Skills Development Training
Over the course of nine days, speakers explore topics related to human rights and democracy, identities, nationalism, dialogue, activism, and help participants develop their communication and research skills. The program agenda is created as a balance between lectures and workshops, putting particular emphasis on practical assignments that the participants successfully complete.
Individual Research (December – February)
This allows participants to explore the issues more broadly connected to existing obstacles hindering the effective participation of youth in their local communities, and to explore the examples of discrimination and violation of human rights among young people. Mentors are be assigned to participants, who are able to offer guidelines during the research process.
Three-day Project Management and Advocacy Training (March)
This component of the program gives the participants an opportunity to present their individual research, but also to develop project and financial management skills. During this module, the participants divide into four groups and work together to develop project ideas addressing some of the issues identified as “problematic” during their research phase. At the end of the training, each group has a civic campaign project proposal written, approved, and ready for implementation with the funds received from Humanity in Action Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Implementation of Four Civic Campaigns (April – June)
Participants have three months to implement their civic campaigns and to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the previous phases of the program.
Promotion of the Implemented Campaigns (July – August)
Media and social network promotion of the implemented campaigns.
Closing Ceremony and Debate Tournament (September)
The outcomes of the civic campaigns is presented at a public event in Sarajevo, where participants use multimedia presentations to demonstrate the ability of young people to bring about positive change in their communities. The program continues with debating tournament as a permanent program component to further hone participants’ critical thinking and presentation skills. The final debate tournament is open to other students, with the idea that the initiative will be a first step towards the creation of a vibrant university debate community in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Impressions from the Program
Diplomacy of Lights - 30 years of BiH's relations with democratic countries and organizations
This EDVACAY project aims to celebrate and raise awareness about the past 30 years of diplomatic and bilateral relations of BiH with various democratic countries and organizations.
Mirotraganje - In Pursuit of Peace
EDVACAY Fellows Almedina Mehić, Anastasija Ćorović, Jelena Dubravac, and Jelena Kerezović will create a scavenger hunt event with maps, puzzles and hints for young participants in two local communities, Banja Luka and Brčko, with the goal to provide the participants with knowledge, interesting historical facts and “signs of reconciliation” in their cities.
Dani prijateljstva - Friendship Day
The goal of this EDVACAY campaign is to celebrate International Friendship Day by creating flash mob choreography and involving as many diverse groups of people to help them celebrate together.
This eco-friendly community-building project initiative gathers a group of children from Brčko, for a ‘Flowering Marathon’, during which large amounts of flower seeds will be dispersed around the Brčko city area by the participants, especially focusing on areas that seem neglected.