STUDEM - Step Up for Democracy
Long term project in Balti, Moldova
STUDEM is a youth-led youth center in Balti, Moldova established within the partnership between CREEDD and Silba. The center is managed by a board of 11 democratically chosen young people between the ages of 12 and 30. STUDEM aims to strengthen youth democracy in Balti through the establishment and coordination of youth initiatives as political schools, debate clubs, youth councils, and local partnerships. The initiative aims to strengthen overall Moldovan democracy by empowering youngsters of rural Moldova to express their needs, require their rights, and influence the local community. Furthermore, STUDEM is a physical safe space where youngsters can get support in implementing their own ideas through supervision, training, and motivation.
Working with local young people between the ages of 12 and 30 the project has developed a forum for young people to express their opinions and learn about democratic practices and processes. This strategy of process-learning trains the youngsters in democratic principles based on dialogue, accountability, and cooperation. Not only do they learn about the structural composition of decision-making entities and institutions in their own reality, but they’re also introduced and trained in budgeting, leadership, social entrepreneurship, human rights, and inclusivity. The entire project takes a broad focus on voluntarism, equality and transparency, in order to create a lasting democratic perception amongst the participants.
The initiative was launched in 2016 where the project-group started cooperating with 10 schools in Balti to strengthen and introduce youth councils. Since then, more and more youngsters are involved as participants, board-members, club-managers or supporters. A long-term goal for the project is also to help create a network between the participating youth councils through a series of networking events that started in November 2018.
The daily operation of the initiative is done by a project group consisting of Moldovan coordinators from the youth centerboard and Danish coordinators from Silba. These coordinators are paired on specific areas of importance, so every aspect is overseen by both partners. This is done both to ensure that the project remains a joint venture, but also as a goal in itself to increase the cultural exchange between Moldovan and Danish participants to learn from each other.
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