Name of the organization: Interkultura
Brief description of the organization
Interkultura is a recognized and respected organization that is successfully working on youth needs and priorities, promoting intercultural dialogue and is acting on local, national and international levels. Its mission is to continue the work on developing personal and professional skills of youth and promotion of intercultural dialogue. The main activities of the organizations are (1) introduction and promotion of Macedonian language and culture of other ethnicities that live in the country; (2) active participation of youth in the decision-making process on a local and national level and creating strategies for future actions; (3) to support and stimulate youth work in the field of culture; (4) intercultural and inter-religious dialogue on a national and international level; (5) energy-saving and decreasing effects of climate changes; (6) social integration of youth and decreasing of unemployment; and (7) to resist any kind of nationalist, gender, race, religious and another discriminatory tendency.
Problem addressed by the good practice
The good practice addresses the problem of building tolerance and acceptance among youth from different ethnic groups
The target group is youth.
Summary of the good practice
Cultural tolerance project (2011-2012) aimed to increase the level of intercultural cooperation and mutual understanding among young people nationwide. The main objectives were (1) to promote traditional elements of similarities and differences of cultures living in Macedonia to increase the level of tolerance among young people; (2) to initiate cooperation between youth from different ethnic groups to promote a better understanding of multicultural society; and (3) reducing ethnic prejudices and stereotypes, which young people possess through establishing collaboration between diverse ethnic groups.
The current situation in the context of living together and understanding each other is still fragile. Young people are squeezed by a society that is molding them to maintain ethnic intolerance. The cultural gap between Macedonians and Albanians can be seen in everyday life. Young people from these nationalities do not mix each other and “truth” is only seen from one side, from the stories told by members of their community. A clear division between “us” and “them” prevails in everyday life. Children and youth are surrounded by negative stereotypes and prejudices. The situation with Roma youth is even worse because in many cases they are discriminated against by Macedonians and Albanians. Interkultura is working on diverse projects for increasing the level of understanding and tolerance between different ethnic groups that live in North Macedonia. Through the project “Cultural tolerance”, Interkultura conducted various types of workshops in three cities in North Macedonia, Skopje, Kumanovo and Tetovo, with young people of different ethnic groups and different backgrounds. The workshops were carried out based on methods of non-formal education and interactive techniques that motivate the participants to learn about each other, presenting interesting segments and values of their culture. Young people in the workshops also have the opportunity to learn new things, to strengthen personal and professional skills that contribute to increasing the level of inter-ethnic tolerance.
A set of 8 sessions workshops were held in local clubs in three different cities Skopje, Kumanovo and Tetovo. Each session was based on the principles of non-formal education and intercultural learning. Topics for the workshops were related to similarities and differences of various cultures and ethnic groups living in Macedonia and the volunteers in collaboration with the selected trainers decide about the planned program. Through the workshops, Interkultura involved 40 young people in each city, 120 in total. Benefits for young people who attended the camp are primary personal development and strengthen communication skills through direct communication with peers that have a different background. During the camp, the intercultural and inter-ethnic segment was promoted through the maintenance of workshops that were held during the camp. Workshops were held by the youth workers and volunteers in the organization. Participants through interactive lectures had the opportunity to learn about the differences between multicultural and intercultural society. Information itself encourages young people to raise awareness of the advantages and benefits of the society where they live. Also, the gain of knowledge helped the youth to understand the other ethnic groups easier and decreased the level of existing stereotypes and prejudice. The purpose of the camp was also the motivation for youth to take initiative for participation in the process of decision-making and youth participation.
The long-term effects that emerged from the overall project were: (1) young people had greater confidence in expressing their views and needs; (2) level of tolerance between youth was increased and stimulated an atmosphere where everyone could express their position; (3) established future cooperation based on inter-ethnic cooperation between participants that encouraged initiatives for a transition from multicultural to intercultural society; (4) stimulation of the process of learning about different cultures and religions living in North Macedonia and contribution to the further development of inter-ethnic cooperation.
Monitoring and evaluation was an integral part of the project structure with the responsibility of the project coordinator. At the outset, a detailed monitoring and evaluation plan was developed and based on the defined indicators of this project proposal. The Project Monitoring and Evaluation Plan includes methods and ways of collecting information, frequency and designation of responsible persons. Direct participants have evaluation after the workshops and after the Camp. Through this evaluation process, the team finds out to what extent their efforts have met the project objective, the specific objective and the expected project results and take measures to improve and apply the experience gained in the implementation of the next activities. We have an internal evaluation from the team who was included in all aspects of activities.
This kind of projects is necessary and can be implemented regularly because there is always youth that needs to learn more about the culture of the other ethnic group and to improve youth participation.