Democratic citizenshipGender

Enhancing Youth and Gender Civic Participation in the Balkans

Coordinated in partnership with the Novi Sad School of Journalism and funded by the European Commission, the project focused on preparing young women for active involvement in democratic changes in the Balkan region, especially in relation to the sensitive issues of post-conflict and post-authoritarianism – a legacy inherited  from an era in which politics was solely dictated by men. .

Its purpose was to empower young women in West Balkan countries and help them overcome obstacles to political participation and activism due to gender barriers in schools, CSOs and local communities. The project demonstrated how this could be achieved through collaboration between CSOs and the media, and by interregional cooperation. It involved teaching eighteen high school-aged girls how to turn their ideas into concrete initiatives, thus preparing them for taking on decision-making roles in the reconciliation process.

The project included educational workshops, study visits, and training in television and radio broadcasting. In this framework, Symbiosis conducted a workshop in cooperation with the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in Thessaloniki.


Workshop: “Learning from your Neighbour”

28-30 January 2013, Thessaloniki

Symbiosis, in cooperation with the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), organized the workshop “Learning from your Neighbour”, whereby participants had the chance of visiting various NGOs and meeting with important stakeholders of Thessaloniki. The project analyzed the political participation and activism of young women in Thessaloniki, and explored concerns of, gender equality, citizenship rights, migrant integration and media freedom. Through workshops and talks given by activists, policy makers and journalists, young girls were introduced to a regional network of women tackling problems related to citizenship and mobilization. Moreover, the project fostered solidarity through the exchange of ideas, information, experiences and plans, and the recognition of their affiliation to a specifically Balkan model of political organization.

Activities and topics covered by the workshop included:

  • A visit to Antigone (Information and Documentation Centre on Racism, Ecology, Peace and non-violence) – Workshops on Gender and Citizenship for Youth Action
  • A visit to Symbiosis – Presentation by Despina Syrri on “Thessaloniki and its multifarious past and present”
  • A visit to the Arsis – Presentation by Valbona Hystuna on “Women migrants in Greece – Women migrant associations for youth education”
  • A presentation by Kalipso Goula, Municipal Councilor of Thessaloniki on “Gender in Politics”
  • A workshop on Media Training: “Basic skills on making stories’ (journalism) and ‘How to present diversity”, by Ljubisa Vrencev and Despina Syrri

Participants presented their ideas at municipal media outlets