Episode II: Workshop

Nov 13, 2017

The selected teens and adolescents jumped aboard the excitement train as the Podium workshop was underway for another edition, aiming at transforming them into young advocates, campaigners, and activists of social change. To make this happen, the team used PODIUM’s creative human-centered curriculum designed to make these young people advocates for themselves.

This curriculum covered three intense training days, intending to equip the participants with skills and knowledge about: a) different strategies on how to approach and narrow down the scope of the problems in their community; b) how to segment and target the relevant groups they trying to serve; and finally c) advocacy tactics and how to lobby with decision-makers using different media outlets. 

Each of the ten groups had a mentor, who ensured a smooth learning experience for the youth. With the help of their mentors, each team selected a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) that was pertinent to the problems they were trying to address. Understanding that SDGs can be intertwined and one problem can be encompassed in two or more SDGs, they chose to be identified with the SDG that is the most applicable to their issue.                                 

Some groups happened to select the same SDG, though they were trying to advocate for different problems. The youngsters from Gjilan/Gniljane and Mitrovica selected the SDG on Quality Education. While the first group decided to raise their voice about the blind and visually impaired individuals and their low access to education, the latter chose to contribute to their community by improving the infrastructure of the classrooms.  

On the other hand, the groups from Podujeva/Podujevo and Skenderaj/Srbica picked the SDG on Gender Equality to advocate for the same problem in their respective communities. According to them, women empowerment is one of the biggest social challenges in their community, and an essential tool to their community’s development. So, they decided to raise awareness and advocate about women’s personal independence, and their freedom from all social and family limitations.

The team from Kaçanik/Kacanik decided to advocate for people with disabilities and their inability to access certain buildings (SDG on Reducing Equalities), whereas the team from Prugovc/Prugovac selected the SDG on Sustainable Cities to advocate about the construction of an underground passage. The group from Vushtrri/Vucitrn was trying to establish an advocacy strategy regarding the polluted river of Sitnica (SDG on Climate Action), and the group from Elez Han was advocating about pupils’ physical access to schools (SDG on Sustainable Cities and Infrastructure). 

The three-day preparations progressed to the final phase: the group presentations. Each group had five minutes to exhibit the problems of their community, the advocacy tactics they’re going to use and the results they expect to achieve. In these presentations, though a little nervous at first, the participants showed that they thoroughly understood the modules of the workshop. Also, catchy campaign slogans were common among the groups.

“We agreed to name our campaign “Mendja Ime Sheh” (My Mind Sees), as it seems catchy and meaningful. It also fits perfectly to the purpose of our campaign, which is to advocate and raise awareness for the blind and visually impaired people in Gjilan/Gniljane, by supplying them with the Braille Alphabet. To achieve this purpose we decided to use diverse lobbying tactics: advocating with decision makers, direct action campaigning and social media. It was a pleasure to mentor these youngsters from Gjilan/Gniljane who were highly motivated, dedicated, creative and hardworking!”- Says Dorotea Sahatciu—Podium mentor—prior to her team’s presentation. 

Episode 2

Every team held their presentations, and then it was the jury’s time to decide about the winners.  After a half an hour break, and energizers for the youngsters, the jury evaluated the teams accordingly and the winners were announced! 

Initially, the Podium team planned on selecting five winners out of ten teams in total. Instead, due to high quality of presentations, the jury decided to select six winner teams: the groups from Kaçanik/Kacanik, Elez Han, Gjilan/Gniljane, Podujeva/Podujevo, Skenderaj/Srbice, and Mitrovica. The selected winners were given monetary incentives and support on implementation of their campaigns, enabling them to continue their endeavors in improving the lives in their communities. 

The journey didn’t end for the teams that did not win. For those that are interested to continue advocating about the challenges in their community, the Innovations Lab team decided to help them in alternative ways. They’re going to offer consultancy practices to youth on establishing and improving their campaign ideas, but also providing the necessary equipment on achieving their purpose. 

All in all, the participants seemed to have enjoyed the workshop. For some it was a breakthrough experience and an opportunity to expand their network as they made friends from all over Kosovo. 

“Being part of Podium was like a blessing to me. Despite winning a price, which will directly enable me and my teammates to contribute for people with disabilities in my community, I have stumbled upon so many valuable things. Befriending new people from all around Kosovo and meeting people from different nationalities, were among the perks of this journey.  I had so much fun and I am happy that I was part of it” – Erblina Asani, participant from Kaçanik/Kacanik. 

This special edition of Podium was organized through a partnership between UNICEF Innovations Lab, UNV and UNKT, and its theme centered on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

If you missed our first episode on Podium Outreach, find it here: Episode 1


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