Varna – Introductory Days Kick off the EYC 2017
January 25, 2017 -
The city of Varna, Bulgaria has kicked off its year as the 2017 European Youth Capital (EYC) with a series of introductory events focused on its “Innowave” theme of social innovation.
From January 18-21st, youth representatives, activists and policymakers met in Varna to introduce the EYC year and debate how social entrepreneurship projects can shape society and engage young people. Specific programmes and initiatives were presented from the local, national and European levels, before being explored in more detail through non-formal, hands-on workshops.
In Varna specifically, Maya Doneva outlined the ‘Social Teahouse’ – a social entrepreneurial project that aims to “create a space where young people, raised in orphanages, can start their professional paths and receive the mentorship and support they need to overcome a lack of education, social skills and trust towards society”. The potential social impact of such youth-led projects is clear, and the Varna EYC team is looking to draw on the experiences of these initiatives to support the development of similar projects as part of the EYC year.
Central to this is the active involvement of young people – how they can best be supported in establishing socially orientated projects and overseeing their implementation. At the national and European levels, representatives from the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, EEA Grants, the 100% Youth City Consortium and the Momentum Association outlined best practice standards from their respective areas of expertise, and emphasised the importance of empowering young people to take the lead.
As part of the EYC year, a core set of “flagship” projects will be run by the Varna EYC Association – a legally registered NGO of local youth organisations that has come together to administer the EYC project. To build on this and emphasise the bottom-up, bring-your-ideas approach, an open call for funding will also be launched for young people and youth organisations to pitch ideas and develop projects under the EYC banner. Executive Director of the Varna EYC Association Mircho Hristov said “Varna’s EYC year is really on now, and we’re ready for the best to come. Social innovation, youth participation, non-formal education, young people travelling east and west, north and south, sharing good ideas and reshaping Europe, Bulgaria and Varna – this is what we’re striving for.”
For more information on the Varna European Youth Capital year please see www.varna2017.bg/en.
To get in touch with the Varna EYC team directly, you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org