Monday, 2 March - We are in the final phase of organisation for three large regional events within the "Regional Youth Compact for Europe" project. In exacty 15 days they will be held in Novi Sad. Representatives of leading CSOs, experts in the fields of labour and social rights, the rule of law and fundamental rights, as well as youth interested in European integration and development of their local communities will gather to discuss pressing issues in the Western Balkans and EU. With the upcoming meetings, Conference and Forum in Novi Sad, and other activities, our calender looks to be packed. In March and April we will have four internships and several local workshops. We also start the evaluation of the many proposals that have arrived as part of our Youth Fund open call. Although the first case of COVID-19 has been registerd in Serbia our work continues unabated.
Monday, 9 March - Business as usual, we carry-on with building upon our preparation for Novi Sad. This week seems that it will be much the same as those that came before, but... Tuesday brings with it an unpleasant surprise. We receive an e-mail from our partners, expecting it to contain the final agenda for Novi Sad. We are startled to see that its contents are entirely different, in fact, it suggests that the events in Novi Sad be postponed. A bit of commotion and a wave of dissapointment flooded the office. We realised that these events will have to be delayed. A lot of people put in months of work to organise them, an they were supposed to frame and present everything that we've achieved in the past year of the project. As the fact of the matter sinks in, and we come to our senses, we understand that what has so far only been news from abroad has finally arived at our doorstep and that the most important thing is to behave as reponsibly as possible. We agree to postpone everthing.
Monday, 30 March - Today marks the third week since we have started "working remotely", as many others. What was previously unthinkable is now reality for us, our collegues and so many people around the world. Social networks and new technologies have become crucial for our work and are used more than ever before. Although using online communication platforms was not alien to us they have become central to our work. We utilise them every day and they are the sole way we communicate within the "office" and with other stakeholders. We have at least one big office skype meeting each week while project teams do so on a daily basis. All our online communication channels, such as social media, website and monthly bulletin, have a wider breadth now and everything is targeted to acting in the virtual sphere. We have modified some of our activities and shifted them online, the first of which was the "Regional Youth Solidarity" campaign. A meeting of our network of 14 parters has been scheduled, to be held via GoToMeeting, to discuss how to adapt activities to the current situation. We will need to make a switch from the real world into cyberspace. A lot of suggestions have already been brought together - webinars, campaigns, online conferences, blogs and vlogs. Youth from the Western Balkans that have participated in our previous activities will take an active role. The Center for Democracy Foundation persists in reminding citizens of European values and calls for solidarity with the most vulnerable. Youth now especially has an important role to play in their communities, to help the older members of society cope with the pandemic in a show of intergenerational solidarity. However the current situation might be difficult and unexpected we are encouraged by the good will that exists in our team. Nothing is canceled, only defered, we are adjusting to work under novel conditions and give birth to new ideas every day. We won't reveal to much now, but expect an innovative approach that will be informative and digestable. Everthing can be found in one place - http://www.alda-balkan-youth.eu/Youth-Compact. Stay tuned!
Center for Democracy Foundation