We had an amazing week during the WB SEA (Western Balkans Youth Social Economy Alliance) Constitutive meeting and capacity building workshop! We had the pleasure to host our partners and colleagues in Ohrid, North Macedonia from 26 September until 2 October.
Together with ADP ZId, Montenegro, Diesis Network, Belgium, Mladii Ambasadori, Serbia, CDP Globus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Partners Albania for change and development, Albania and COSV – Cooperazione per lo Sviluppo, Italy we worked on many topics, shared a lot of experience and we paved the way for the further activities of the network.
On the first day of the event, we worked on our strategic goals, vision and advocacy plan to improve the social economy in the WB, and motivate young people to get involved. Followed by another two great days where amazing sessions were delivered on topics such as networking, partnership building and advocacy. We had time also to share the best practices from various stakeholders from the WB and the EU, as well as the WB SEA project partners.
We were glad to show all the beauties that the city of Ohrid offers, so we used this opportunity for study visits in the old town of Ohrid and visited two small social enterprises for handcrafted organic wood arts and the production of microgreens.
On the last day, we organized the semi hybrid online event organizing an online discussion via ZOOM entitled “Western Balkans Social Economy perspectives: Networking for impact” where we spoke about the growth prospects of the social economy in the Western Balkans and the possibilities to create greater impact through networking and advocacy. Onboard, we had regional and EU and WB experts who shared their experience and expertise towards better regional cooperation and provide insights on regional and EU social economy initiatives.
Check the statements from some of the participants below.
WB SEA project has already gave the beginning to the regional allianca , where diverse stakeholders have potential to work together to build the environment where social entrepreneurship thrive. This could give us the solid ground for transformational change in the region, where social entrepreneurship and social economy as whole can be the answer to most pressing challenges of today: be it youth unemployment, societal inequality or integration of vulnerable groups into the society. I see the Alliance as a driving force for more coherent implementation of actions across borders within the Western Balkan Region, said Marta Bruschi from Diesis Network.
Another sharing from Snezana Andric from Mladi Ambasadori about the event: These kinds of meetings show us how even complicated activities can be simplified if the partners understand each other. We should use the potential of creating such an alliance as a very important platform for encouraging and developing youth social enterprises but even more important to expand it beyond the region and more beyond the WB SEA project itself. My biggest impression from the event in Ohrid was the creative process we went through with project partners and regional stakeholders from 7 countries, in order to understand the impact our alliance can have.
The great potential of WB SEA I see through strengthened cooperation between organizations within the network that will enable better understanding and exploiting the opportunities offered by the social economy for young people and their acquaintance with EU practices. I believe that the experiences and knowledge gained through this project will enable participating organizations and other relevant stakeholders to create new opportunities for youth in Western Balkans by using the potential of social economy. The workshop “Theory of Change” led by “Diesis” left a special impression on me. It was a creative and learning process at the same time, certainly of great benefit for the further development of activities under the WB SEA, said Anita Šimundža from CDP Globus.
Looking forward to another great event with WB SEA partners!