Fridays for Advocacy #5 | The way out for the new generation: self-organisation and advocacy

In the case of Greece, examples, statistics and research, but also personal stories, almost always come from Athens and Thessaloniki. The nearly derogatory term “province” is used for decades to describe the rest of the country that lives, creates and hopes in the shadow of big cities.

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Outside of urban centers and beyond tourism, there are young people and civil society groups working in Thrace, Western Macedonia and Epirus, the Peloponnese and small Aegean islands. Their main purpose is to foster participation, consultation and advocacy for citizens at the local level. With proposals, plans, ideas and a lot of personal work and volunteering, they try to convince local authorities of the need to adopt another model – sustainable, participatory, development-oriented- centered around citizens and mainly youth. Because they consider this their last chance; they see their friends, relatives and classmates, especially those with higher education, setting out for the long journey of internal migration for finding a job. They see their cities, towns or villages unable to participate in social, cultural, political, economic developments. They see a local political and social elite that fails to understand the change that takes place and what is yet to come. They feel bitterness but also anger because no one “takes them seriously”. No one listens to their voices and proposals.

What is the way out for this new generation? Self-organisation, consultation, monitoring and participation. 35 Municipal Youth Councils have been created in northern Greece and another 20 youth initiatives are registered at the local level; structures that municipalities do not recognise as interlocutors. Hundreds of young people try to find a way to influence decisions at the local level, proposing and creating. It is not the solution to our problems but, still, it is a start. We shall see examples from Komotini, Florina and Nisyros, we shall talk about another Greece that is slowly being discovered by research and statistics and the Athenian media.

The session will be delivered by Babis Papaioannou, Member of the steering committee of Unesco Youth Club of Thessaloniki and a PhD Candidate at the department of Political Science of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki


Aiming to build the capacities of youth organisations to pursue their agenda and be actively involved in the making of decisions that affect their work, this series will equip participants with skills and tools for choosing campaign topics, conducting stakeholder analysis, networking, political messaging, dissemination, and alliance building.Fridays for Advocacy are carried out in 45′ sessions, based on peer-to-peer learning. Each of the sessions is designed and will be facilitated by one of the members of the “A Partnership for Youth”, a pan-European network of civil society organisations active in the field of youth, led by Inter Alia.

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