Skopje

Skopje

North Macedonia
North Macedonia
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Bridging Creativity and Civic Action

Young activists and artists in Skopje have been successfully harnessing the power of the creative arts in driving meaningful change in a way that resonates with their peers.

When Young Cities began its programming in North Macedonia in 2020, we introduced the programme to empower youth and the local government in Čair, a municipality within the capital city of Skopje, one of the most densely populated and ethnically diverse municipality in Europe.

After a year of successfully supporting the launch of three projects in the municipality, we expanded the programme in 2021 to tap into the talents and passions of young people in Skopje more widely. Since then, we supported the launch of five more projects, which have excelled in their creativity and impact, resonating with other young people and effecting meaningful change.

We work closely with our partner, Democracy Lab, a non-profit, nonpartisan organisation devoted to preserving democratic values in North Macedonia. They are instrumental in building networks and partnerships in the country, and supporting the development of impactful and innovative youth-led projects.

Our Impact in Skopje

We aim for relevant and strategic impact at scale. Working closely with young people in identifying the needs of their communities and the challenges they face, we ensure that the solutions we support them in developing are targeted and sustainable.

 

 

 

Empowering a Generation of Creative and Courageous Civic Actors

Eight youth-led projects in Skopje have leveraged the creative arts and civic action to inspire and empower young people to be the city’s changemakers of tomorrow.

Since the launch of the Young Cities programme in in Čair in 2020, it was clear there was something special about the young activists we were working with in North Macedonia. They were passionate and dedicated to changing the attitudes, perspectives and circumstances of their peers – to denounce violence in all its forms and feel uplifted in participating more in the civic space.

The projects have included: films, spotlighting the lived experiences of those living in the city, from minorities to disaffected youth; digital campaigns on social media and podcasts to counter gender based violence; inspiring interviews and research to encourage greater cooperation between youth and local government; and projects equipping young artists and activists with the skills to deliver their messages more effectively.

The focus on uplifting young people to be the main drivers of change is a central component Čair municipality’s Local Preventing Violent Extremism action plan, drafted by their Community Action Team, which the Strong Cities Network has been actively supporting. They recognised that youth inclusion and empowerment are important factors in building a community’s resilience to violence, extremism and hate speech.

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Čair Projects

Through mentorship, seed-funding and network-building, we support youth in transforming ideas into tangible initiatives to make positive change in their communities.

Gen W
project

Gen W

North Macedonia
North Macedonia | Skopje

A project platforming women role-models to encourage other women in the municipalities of Čair and Kisela Voda to challenge gender-based discrimination and empower themselves despite the barriers they face.

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Skala Magazine
project

Skala Magazine

North Macedonia
North Macedonia | Skopje

A team of young people channelled their creativity through an arts magazine run by young artists, to address various social issues.

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DemLoc
project

DemLoc

North Macedonia
North Macedonia | Skopje

A research project provided context on municipal approaches to supporting civil society and equipped other young people with the skills to engage in policy dialogue.

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What’s Blurring Your Lens?
project

What’s Blurring Your Lens?

North Macedonia
North Macedonia | Skopje

A team organised trainings and workshops for other young people interested in using photography to illustrate social issues.

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Dance in this Chaos
project

Dance in this Chaos

North Macedonia
North Macedonia | Skopje

A film production house challenges the status quo by using film to spotlight ethnic discrimination aimed at a marginalised Roma community in Skopje.

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Self-Made
project

Self-Made

North Macedonia
North Macedonia | Skopje

A film aims to highlight the pessimism that is endemic among youth in the municipality of Čair, and the resulting anti-social behaviours some engage in.

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Shout Up
project

Shout Up

North Macedonia
North Macedonia | Skopje

Through a series of interviews and meetings, team Shout Up worked to empower young people from the community in Čair to improve youth-related policy and encourage greater civic participation.

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Fishkëllima Youth Initiative
project

Fishkëllima Youth Initiative

North Macedonia
North Macedonia | Skopje

A poster campaign and awareness-raising initiative by a group of young people from Čair addressing the normalization of discriminatory language towards women.

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Testimonials

“The best parts of the lab were gathering new knowledge and meeting new people – even though we live in the same municipality we didn’t know each other – and having the chance to talk with the Mayor.”

Participant

Čair Youth Innovation Lab, 2020

Our partners

The organisations and municipal governments we work with are essential to the success of the Young Cities programme. Together, we continue to effect genuine, relevant change in the communities in which we work.

Democracy Lab

Democracy Lab is Young Cities’ newest partner. They provide youth the invaluable networks, skills, experience and resources to coordinate and support youth in developing their campaigns. Particularly, they provide youth the space for their creativity, at their central hub in Skopje and their affiliated community space in Gostivar – the Youth and Community Centre (YCC).

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Čair, North Macedonia

The municipality of Čair have been consistently open to working with youth from the Young Cities project. The mayor attended our Youth Innovation Lab to listen to and engage with the youth on policies that affect them, and the municipality continues to collaborate with campaign teams by providing permissions and welcoming youth to meet with its representatives.

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Get In Touch

If you would like to find out more about our impact, or would like to discuss future opportunities, we would love to hear from you.

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