Youth initiatives for changes in the community

Centre for Civic Education (CGE) gathered representatives of institutions and young people today who had the opportunity to present their initiatives developed during the recently held Youth Activism Schools in the central, southern and northern regions of Montenegro, within the Youth for the Youth!” project, implemented by CCE with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica through the Democracy Commission Small Grants Program.

We believe that young people in Montenegro are important future leaders, and the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica is working on programs to empower them. It’s important that your voices are heard and I am glad you have taken the time to get involved and develop various initiatives “, stated Suzanne Schaefer, Deputy Head of the Media, Culture and Education Department at the U.S. Embassy, during the opening of the event. “It is important for you to understand that life does not just give you opportunities, you must seek them out and promote yourself and your ideas,” she said, referring to the perception among young people that they cannot make significant changes in society.

The youth initiatives presented at the event indicate that they are fighting for basic conditions to realize their potential.

The initiative of young people from the northern region was the establishment of free public transportation for elementary and high school pupils in Bijelo Polje, Berane, Andrijevica, and Plav, presented by Adela Stanić, Boško Rakočević, Amil Kuburović, Helena Fatić and Ida Crnovšanin.

“Our initiative is related to accessible public transport in the municipalities in the north, which is necessary for students and other people who live in distant settlements and villages. Young people should be more active in initiating such actions because the progress of our communities depends on them,” said Helena Fatić, student of the Gymnasium “Miloje Dobrašinović” in Bijelo Polje. “Many students from the surrounding areas engage in sports, attend music school, drama sections. This requires transportation, parents must be very involved for those children to achieve the best possible results in school and in extracurricular activities. The prices of taxi services and public transportation are high, which is an insurmountable barrier for many children and their additional activities, which are important for personal development,” emphasized Ida Crnovršanin.

Fikret Canović, Secretary of the Secretariat for Local Self-Government in Plav municipality, believes that young people from Plav are very active in all aspects of life. “We recognize their initiatives as important for the development of society, and as officials, we strive to meet everything that is important for their future. We see that the issue of transportation for children in the north is a significant problem,” Canović said.

The initiative of young people from the central region focused on combating peer violence in educational institutions, presented by Katarina Šipčić, Anja Odalović, Sara Mirković, Andrea Mišković, and Anja Mićanović.

”Peer violence is a growing problem that has serious consequences for young people. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness about this issue and actively work to create a safe and supportive environment for all youth,” stated Anja Mićanović, a pupil of Secondary School of Economics and Catering from Nikšić. “We call on all young people to join us in this important fight against violence and for a better future for everyone. We call on CCE, as well as NGOs working with youth and psychological-pedagogical services, to jointly address all educational institutions to provide adequate measures to prevent and respond to peer violence,” she concluded.

It is nice to hear that young people recognize the real problems in local communities, but also more widely, as well as that they are familiar with how the system works. Through the Local Action Plan for Youth for 2024, apart from education, we have identified the need to support some of the youth initiatives so that together we can see what we can change,” stated Maja Radojičić, Head of the Youth Office in the municipality of Nikšić.

The initiative of young people from the southern region was “Bar – City of youth, City for youth, Youth for perspective,” presented by Jovan Joksimović, Ana Pepđenović, Nikoleta Stanković, Asija Kujović, and Minela Ličina.

Young people should be more actively involved in social processes in their community. Developing and presenting youth initiatives through CCE’s programme is a great opportunity for youth expression,” said Jovan Joksimović from Bar. “I believe that these youth services, as we have envisioned them, would contribute to better organization of young people’s free time, through the expression of artistic talents or other areas that are close to them, but also it would lead to a reduction of peer violence, as well as an increase in young people’s interest in the environment and society. Young people need to be more active in initiating changes in their surrounding because no one else will do it for them,” he emphasized.

Branislav Nenezić, President of Bar Municipal Assembly, supports the involvement of young peple. “In the previous period, in the local government from which I came, we tried to listen to the needs of young people. Our obligation is to interest the generations that are growing up and to be the ones who will motivate them to return to their community after completing their studies,” said Nenezić. He assessed that the needs of young people are more demanding in the modern age, but also that it is up to local authorities to show openness to youth initiatives and called on representatives of the initiative from Bar to organize a joint meeting to work on its realization.

Maja Marinović, Programme Associate