Adolescents, Youth, and Innovations
Kosovo is facing many pressing problems that require creative solutions.
Kosovo is facing many pressing problems that require creative solutions. UNICEF Kosovo Innovations Lab, which started in 2010, is home to a multidisciplinary team working across sectors and fields to identify methods, partners, technologies, and tools that promise to unlock new uses of information and technology, effect substantive change through communication, and empower youth to be agents of change and partners in our pursuit of a world more fit for children. The Lab, which supports adolescents and young people with different social and ethnic background discover and propose innovative ideas to address various challenges faced by Kosovo population, is part of a global UNICEF network of labs that bring innovative principles, methods and tools to the local context where they are harnessed by partners to realize the rights of children.
Through biannual UPSHIFT Workshops, young boys and girls, including young people with disabilities and those from Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, are supported to build and lead solutions to social challenges about which they feel passionate and by which they’re impacted, enabling them to reach peers and community members with interventions in themes from health to education to peace building to the environment.
Know Your Rights
The Lab’s “Know Your Rights” programme set up an online platform for youth in Kosovo to explore their rights and entitlements and report alleged human rights violations directly to the Ombudsman in Kosovo*. This platform establishes the first online mechanism for violations reporting and is expected to expand rights awareness in the most marginalised communities in Kosovo* and increase youth-led advocacy.
By Youth For Youth and Youth Community Advocacy
The Lab’s “By Youth For Youth” and “Youth Community Advocacy” programmes are preparing adolescent and youth boys and girls to become agents of social change and key actors in a vibrant, peaceful, and prosperous Kosovo.
The By Youth For Youth (BYFY) programme, prioritized by UNICEF as one of the top five innovations to scale globally, advances an innovative approach to youth empowerment: the programme builds the skills and capacities of youth and adolescents to take an entrepreneurial approach to social change - grounded in cutting-edge social innovation and “design thinking” practices - by adapting the hands-on, learn-while-doing elements of a business incubator.
BYFY builds resilience and professional readiness, empowering Kosovo’s most marginalized young people to identify and analyse issues in their communities, and to develop and lead projects - in the form of NGO interventions or social ventures - that address these issues. Youth leaders work closely with a team of mentors during project implementation, and are additionally supported with up to EUR 2,000 in funding, a library of equipment, no-cost workspace, and are provided with access to a curriculum of workshops and trainings in key professional readiness- and life-skills to complement the experience.
Similarly, the Youth Community Advocacy (YCAP) programme prepares young people from Kosovo’s most marginalized community to work directly with decision-makers to change policy and public behaviour at the local level; for non-majority youth and girls, this experience commonly represents their first interaction with municipal and central institutions. Grassroots youth groups work with mentors to conduct community needs assessments - which, in addition to becoming the foundation of their work, also provide invaluable information to municipal authorities - and are trained in traditional formal and emerging non-formal advocacy techniques, including marketing for social change, social media mobilization, and citizen journalism. Young people complete the programme by designing and implementing public advocacy campaigns in cooperation with municipal authorities and community-based and civil society organizations.