USAID and Civic Initiatives Launch Project to Empower Youth to Create Positive Change in South Serbia and Sandzak

USAID and Civic Initiatives Launch Project to Empower Youth to Create Positive Change in South Serbia and Sandzak
Launch of Empowered Youth for Positive Changes in South Serbia and Sandzak project in Bujanovac
USAID Serbia

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Hal Lipper, Senior DOC Specialist
+ 381 65 504-6308

Bujanovac, July 2013 – Civic Initiatives and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today launched a 15-month project to improve the status of youth and reduce their marginalization in South Serbia and Sandzak. The ‘’Empowered Youth for Positive Changes in South Serbia and Sandzak’’ will build the capacity of young people, youth groups and civil society organizations and increase the employability and activism of youths in the target regions.

"With our partner Civic Initiatives, USAID will help young people in South Serbia and Sandzak develop personal and professional skills; become more active citizens and community leaders; and prepare to launch their own successful businesses," said USAID Acting Mission Director Susan Kutor at the Bujanovac Cultural Center.  "By strengthening institutions and creating the conditions for economic growth – in Sandzak, South Serbia, and elsewhere – we are supporting Serbia’s development and accelerating its progress towards European integration."

The ‘’Empowered Youth for Positive Changes" program will focus on poor, socially marginalized, unemployed youth from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.  A core group of 80 young people will undergo training to give them personal and professional skills to increase their employability and activism.  The program will develop their capacity to identify problems and advocate for changes in their communities. 

"We need to focus on the great potential these regions have: young people eager to engage and find their place in the community, brave people who improve their and other people's lives through civic and political engagement," said Civic Initiatives Program Director Maja Stojanovic.

Stojanovic and Kutor were joined at today's launch ceremony by Arber Pajaziti, Bujanovac Municipality Mayor Chief of Cabinet, Skender Destani, Presevo Municipality Deputy Mayor, Bojana Velickov, Vranje Municipality Deputy Mayor, Nenad Borovcanin, Ministry of Youth and Sport State Secretary, and YouthBuild activist Sabahudin Abdagic.

The launch ceremony followed a roundtable discussion involving donor organizations, civil society organizations, and local and national agencies on ways to work together to empower youth and improve their status.

Civil Initiatives also presented an exhibition detailing its efforts to build the capacity of civil society organizations, support local governments that are improving the lives of young people, and encourage local governments to provide public spaces for community and youth group use.