EVS/ESC Building Bridges between MENA and Europe

Mladiinfo from a portal providing free educational and career opportunities, the organization grow into a hub of knowledge and a podium for learning and development of future change-makers. Although the organization has been mostly focused in making impact in the region of South-East and Central Europe, where Mladiinfo Network operates, since 2016 the organization has expanded its activities in the region of Eastern Africa, South East Asia and MENA. This program expansion came as a result of the strategic priority of Mladiinfo to provide a podium for empowerment of youngsters around the globe, in particular in enhancing their skills in social entrepreneurship and in making them more employable and competitive at the job market. The research of target audience on our social media channels shows huge interest of young people from MENA region for our content.

MENA countries were among the higest number of participants at the MOOC Discover Yourself: Build a Career and Make an Impact a youth strategic partnership project, that Mladiinfo implemented in 2016.  Furthermore, working for a year time on CB project in Tunisia, we recognized the importance of understanding local realities for better quality of project implementation. On the other side, Tunisian youth are facing immense challenges in their society. Many of those issues are familiar for the region of South-East Europe as well, and fortunately, some of them have been successfully overcome. Civic engagement is a vital element of strengthening the democratic capacities of the countries of MENA region. The Arab Spring brought to surface the power of civic activism, as young people more engaged in the civic activities have the potential to be more involved intro the political, economic and social processes in the countries and thereby, strengthen their leadership capacities and contribute to democratization of the region.

Furthermore, as MENA is one of the most youthful regions in the world, with almost 30% of its population between 15 and 29 year old, a new development model for youth should be introduced, that “focuses simultaneously on building young people’s capabilities and expanding opportunities available to them” (Arab Human Development Report 2016) . In this regard, volunteering can be a key asset towards increased youth engagement: youth will get empowered to support and advocate for democratic processes in their countries, will embrace sense of solidarity for the community and will develop impact-making and growth mindset, entrepreneurial spirit and empathy – some of the employability skills of 21 century. Additionally, volunteering can be a strong asset for European countries to combat hate speech, discrimination and islamophobia, by introducing cultural preparatory trainings for both local volunteers and volunteers planning to be deployed in MENA region.

The project aims to host one young person from Tunisia in Mladiinfo International with a mission to help the young people from the world that need a particular support to fulfill their educational potential as they are challenged by many educational disadvantages caused by either personal, social, cultural or economic circumstances. The particular focus of this EVS service will be bringing more opportunities for youngsters from MENA region.

Through the activities that the volunteer will be involved in during his service in Macedonia, they will assist the Mladiinfo team to reach the following objectives:

• To raise awareness among young people about available educational opportunities and how these can be accessed to enable them to be fully integrated in the society.
• To improve young people’s key skills to empower them to apply for different educational programs, training courses, conferences, internships and to improve their entrepreneurship, employability and provide information that helps people become more employable. • To provide the space for the young people where they could prepare for the active role in the society