“Young people are not interested in what we do: there are too many technical terms and administrative procedures not to mention hard to understand projects.”
This rhetoric is often cited as an obstacle to communication of ENI CBC among this particular target group. While there is certainly a grain of truth in the above, this is far from the real picture. In 2017, there is a strong focus on youth across the EU and TESIM is concentrating its efforts in this direction also. Several programmes continue to successfully target young people and among these, the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine Programme leads by example.
Cross border schools’ competition
For a few years already, this programme has been working in close contact with local schools in their respective areas. This work culminates each year in September with one of the programme’s main EC Day activities: a schools’ games competition. The overall aim of the competition is to bring young people together from both sides of the border, to work together towards a common objective and to have fun. Mixed teams of pupils from schools in the border regions of Poland, Belarus and Ukraine build relations and overcome any communication challenges to compete against their rivals. The age range of the young people varies according to the annual theme, this year’s age range is between 12-16. The games and the associated integration activities focus on the cultural diversity of the cross border region, the creativeness of the participating students and getting to know the neighbouring countries. The design of the games is heavily influenced by the participants and their thought process during the application stage.
Raising awareness of ENI CBC
In March of each year, the programme opens applications to the games in each of the participating countries. In order to have a successful application, secondary schools are requested to discover more about the programme and methods of promotion of CBC (slogans, poems, songs etc). The theme of the games for 2017 focuses on heritage, in line with an upcoming call for proposals of the programme. Therefore, in this year’s application form, the students’ must reflect on why a common cultural heritage is important and to select a local heritage site explaining why it would be of interest to others. The decision on the games for the final event is based on the ideas in the applications received. There, pupils are instructed to develop proposals for cross border games that would help them to achieve a common goal with their friends from neighbouring countries. For example, games in which the young people should match regions with prominent landmarks, dishes, famous people etc. Another game could involve describing a country without naming it and avoiding specific vocabulary.
Winning is not the main aim of the games! Above all, friendships are formed and skills for working together despite differences are developed. This year’s games will take place in Ozery, Hrodna Oblast, Belarus from 19 – 21 September.
Other events for youth
Why stop there? The Poland-Belarus-Ukraine Programme is organising three other events in the framework of EC Day which also target young people amongst others. On 9 September in Lviv, Ukraine, the programme is inviting children and their parents to come to the Lviv Museum of Folk Architecture and Lifestyle to try their hand at traditional crafts and participate in an EU quiz. On 15 September in Palanok Castle, Mukachevo, Ukraine, the programme is holding a festival to promote the cultural heritage of the region. Alongside traditional dancing, theatre and crafts, participants will have the chance to learn about the results of the 2007 – 2013 programme and discover new opportunities within the current programme. Last but not least, on September 24, the Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok, Poland will open its doors for a Polish folk singing and dancing performance along with craft shows and displays of Hucul horses in the Galician market square.
Good luck to the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine Programme!
Event information: https://www.ecday.eu/#events
Programme website: http://www.pbu2020.eu/en