Youth centres of Fida and its partner churches are keeping the young people off the streets. Their mothers are thankful.
An extensive evaluation of Fida’s development co-operation programme in the Western Balkans has been completed, covering all the projects in the whole area from the year 2004 until today.
The evaluator, Raisa Venäläinen, sums it up: the work is progressing on track.
─ The work in the Balkans is addressing the needs of the target group and is preventative by nature – reaching out and activating the young people, children and women through development co-operation is the best vaccination against social apathy. Fida has brought the different population groups closer to each other, thus breaking prejudices and participating in the peace building process in the region.
– Fida’s development co-operation work in the Balkans started in 1994 with humanitarian assistance.
– At present, there are projects in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo with the victims of human trafficking, youth at risk of marginalisation and Roma minorities, in collaboration with the local churches.
– The projects are funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
A good example of the target groups becoming active is the participation of over 200 voluntary workers in the project in different regions. This achievement is significant and indicates that the local residents have found the work valuable and useful.
Youth off the street
The work in the Balkans has focused on the young people by offering opportunities for education as well as leisure. The local youth have found the activities useful and have found that, for example, the English language courses and computer training have helped them to do better at school.
The youth centres run by Fida and the churches have also had a positive impact on the safety of the cities. The reports indicate that vandalism has decreased when the youth gangs have been engaged in the youth centre activities. The parents are thankful that the young people have remained off the streets.
The Roma minorities must not be forgotten
Raisa Venäläinen recommends that work with the minorities be continued, although the economic development of the Western Balkans has placed it above the official recipients of development aid. When compared to the main population, there is extensive illiteracy and poverty among the Roma people. Without the development co-operation projects, the society may forget their special needs.
Fida’s development co-operation work in the Balkans started in 1994 with humanitarian assistance. At present, there are projects in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo with the victims of human trafficking, youth at risk of marginalisation and Roma minorities, in collaboration with the local churches. The projects are funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. You can support the Balkan Roma minority by becoming a sponsor (sponsorship form only in Finnish)