Envisioned as a four-year project that addresses some of the major challenges to stability and peace in the Balkans, YouthLINC: Linking Innovators who Network for Change supports a core group of young people dedicated to building trust and positive social change across regional borders. It is supposed to enable young people to create innovative online social platforms that will transcend borders, and to implement projects aiming to promote open dialogue, share commonalities and tackle obstacles to reconciliation and tolerance between different ethnicities both on national and international level.
In order to achieve the project’s main objectives, Internews and the project partners conducted one-day workshops in each of the six partner countries. These workshops were planned to provide an introduction to the project and its objectives, to explore how to use online tools to address specific issues, and to further create offline space for person-to-person collaboration that will gradually decrease intolerance and discrimination.
Thirty participants coming from different Macedonian cities attended the Skopje-based In-Country Workshop that took place on March 27th, 2012 in the EU Info Center. The workshop gave the participants a forum for discussion focused on the top topics that addressed intolerance and discrimination. During the workshop it became evident that the young participants have been interested in human rights and culture as much as in technology and activism. While religious, ethnic, political and gender were mostly pointed out as social backgrounds of discriminatory practices, it is important to note that the young candidates showed awareness and concern over homophobia and LGBT rights, social inclusion of sexual workers and drug users, workplace mobbing, freedom of the media, domestic violence, corruption, unemployment and pedophilia.
The successfully organized and inspiring In-Country Workshop will be soon followed by another event that will gather all participants in one place and give them the opportunity to develop their ideas into projects.
YouthLINC: Linking Innovators who Network for Change is initiated by the Internews Network and is being implemented in cooperation with the Youth Initiative for Human Rights Bosnia and Herzegovina (YIHR BH,) the Youth Initiative for Human Rights Croatia, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights Kosovo, the Center for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation “Studiorum” Macedonia, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights Montenegro and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia.