Youth Power in Motion – Empowering Students for Advocacy and Change

Call: European Youth Foundation – Pilot activity

Reference number: 7995.1.PA.2023

Duration: 12 months


Our main objective with this project is to support young people in Cristuru Secuiesc in forming and operating the local city student council by selecting and training the members of this council, also by organising workshops for them in the topic of advocacy.

Objective 1 – Supporting the existing school councils.

During the project one of our objectives is to examine the existing student councils in the 3 high school, recruit new members if it is necessary and select members who can take part in the training sessions organized by our association, then share the knowledge with their peers and implement activities at school level.

Objective 2 – Strengthening communication and collaboration between young people and the local municipality.

Another important objective is to create a link between the local youth and municipality by forming the student council of the town, also by teaching student council members to effectively communicate their ideas and proposals to the local decision-makers.

Objective 3 – Empowering young people to take an active role in decision-making processes

During the project we would like to provide training and resources to help young people develop the skills and knowledge needed to participate in local decision-making processes, such as community development initiatives.

Expected outcomes

Among the results and expected outcomes of the project we can mention:

  • Improved civic engagement: Through lobbying at the municipality and designing a strategy for civic participation, students can learn how to engage more effectively with local government and promote positive change in their community.
  • Enhanced critical thinking and problem-solving abilities: The project can encourage students to think critically about complex issues and develop creative solutions to address them.
  • Improved communication skills: Students can practice and develop their communication skills through the lobbying and negotiation components of the project.
  • Concrete policy changes: students will conduct research and analyze the needs of the community, then they will design a strategy for those issues and needs. Depending on the topic that the students choose to lobby on, there may be specific policy changes that could be achieved through their efforts.
  • Young voices at the municipality: during the project students will have meetings with the members of the municipality, they will participate the monthly council meetings, where they can share their concerns, ideas and strategies. The project could help local decision-makers to see young people’s needs and issues more clearly and to be more receptive to discussing young people’s ideas.
  • More quality events at town level: Our association plans to reach out to these young people and support them in organizing events that are aimed at the community of the town, because based on our research, there is a demand for this as well. We believe the project will also help these young people learn how to provide quality recreation opportunities for the community.

Project coordinator: Ungvári Borbála

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Gathering her courage, our newest member Gabriella set off alone to the city of ancient Greek architecture to discover her inner leader, her strengths and weaknesses, and to gather new ways to improve them, during a training course organized by our partner You In Europe.

“During the trip I already had a chance meeting with another participant, thanks to a unique pattern of trousers, because already at the Bucharest airport I noticed the dress style of the Bulgarian participant from Spain, which accompanied me at various points of the journey, until I was certain at a bus stop in Athens , that we are probably going to the same place, and so I started a conversation.

This is how many of my friendships, perhaps for life, began.

On the first evening, almost everyone had already arrived for dinner, after which a small conversation developed between the participants. My Szekler, i.e. Romanian Hungarian identity was not at all strange or complicated, as a truly international group had gathered, officially representing 12 countries, but more than that in terms of ethnicity. There was a Spanish-speaking participant representing France, Croatian and Argentinean members in the color of Austria, and I could even mention again my friend who was born in Bulgaria but now works in Spain. I think the rich background has created a strong bond between everyone from the very first moment.

The first official day of the training was of course focused on getting to know each other, noting names and people, discussing the program’s rules and participants’ fears, requests and consent, which was followed by the introduction of YouthPass through non-formal activities.

As the second day dawned, we threw ourselves into the mapping of leadership skills and types with full force. During the team tasks, after presenting the different styles in a short play, we analyzed the behavior of the protagonists of a story from the perspective of the leader’s five key competencies, which led us to the conclusion that we can either be born leaders or just beginners, nobody is perfect, and everyone can improve.

The third day showed a very colorful palette with activities such as shooting a commercial, learning about the steps of team forming outdoors, and after lunch, learning about the importance of communication skills and techniques. During one of the exercises, although humorous, the cultural diversity of the team members caused a lot of complications, as some of them could only speak to each other in their mother tongue, which made it a bit difficult to work together, but in the end, everyone managed to complete the task successfully.

On the fourth day of the training, we explored the more serious topics of SWOT and PEST(EL) analyses, also examined methods for managing change and conflict in teams. A very interesting exercise for me was to help us understand the power of questions, where after the introduction of closed, open and perspective-changing questions, we had to reveal the identity of a mysterious figure by asking carefully thought-out questions.

Arriving at the last day, we received a real “leader” guest, who as the inventor of the Save the Hood environmental protection initiative presented their activities on the coasts of Greece, also revealed to us the secret of the well-oiled system of the work process with thousands of volunteers.

To conclude our activities, emotions came to the fore as everyone shared their thoughts and feelings about the week during the evaluation. For me personally, it was a great opportunity to discover the world and myself again on my own, which, although it may have been a series of obstacles, I feel I managed to overcome. Apart from the friendships I made with the participants, I came away from the training with a wealth of experience and knowledge that I will certainly use in the future in my work at ATA.”