IREX has launched a new resource for youth civil engagement. The resource is a toolkit, Community Schools Academy Curriculum and Toolkit is for youth development professionals, youth-serving organizations, and educational institutions aiming to develop civic engagement and tolerance in young people.
The materials were developed for the Youth Civic Engagement and Dialogue (YCED) Program, which brought together Roma and non-Roma youth (ages 14-18) in Romania and Moldova to lead local development projects in their schools and communities.
Over the course of the two-year program, youth from various social and economic backgrounds in Romania and Moldova initiated 24 youth- led community projects and reached more than 4,000 community members.
YCED used a “community schools” model, in which the school serves as a locus for community development. YCED trained teachers and NGO leaders to support youth and manage ethnic tensions effectively, working to incorporate active citizenship and cross-cultural understanding in schools.
The Community Schools Academy (CSA), an intensive training workshop and retreat for participants, served to underpin the YCED program. Both Roma and non-Roma youth came together in a supportive environment to learn skills in conflict resolution, community needs assessments, and project management. Adult mentors also gained the skills necessary to work effectively with youth using a Positive Youth Development framework.
YCED was a program of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and implemented by IREX in partnership with Romani CRISS, an NGO that works to defend and promote the rights of Roma throughout Romania.
The toolkit can be downloaded here.