Sfera International started with the implementation of the project RURAL HEROES and organized the first activity of the project, which was a training course for youth, that took place in Bitola from 19-24 July 2021.
The project Rural Heroes is supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe, and it has the aim to empower youth from remote rural areas of the Bitola municipality to become active citizens and to provide them with skills and tools on how to promote active participation of the rural youth in the decision-making process at a local level. The main objectives of the project are: to develop competencies (knowledge, practical skills, and attitudes) of 20 young people coming from remote rural areas about advocacy, active citizenship, and the decision making processes on a local level; to promote youth work and youth organizations and the volunteering opportunities they are offering to young people for self-development, and to engage and empower young people living in remote rural areas to become active citizens, and contribute to the development of their community; and finally to connect the rural youth and the local civil society organizations and the local governments to ensure collaboration and development of youth living in remote rural areas.
During the training course the participants learned about volunteering, activism and active citizenship, they discussed about democracy and decision making, and they learned how the local municipality works through a visit to the Municipality of Bitola where we had a special guided tour by the mayor of Bitola, Nataša Petrovska. The youngsters learned first-hand how the decision making process is happening in our municipality through a conversation with our mayor, and by visiting the city council and having the chance to sit in the chambers and also meet council members and members of the commission for Sport and Youth. The participants had prepared questions which were answered by our mayor and council members and we had a very fruitful visit and discussion.
Except gaining new knowledge on the topics of active citizenship and decision making, the participants gained skills in public speaking, communication skills, working in a team and preparing local events and workshops to work with youth.
Next up as part of our project Rural Heroes will be 5 local events in 5 different villages around Bitola. Stay tuned for the upcoming activities and feel free to join them and our team of Rural Heroes!