The youth is raising its voice towards the needed environmental changes
30 youth advocates are calling for action on improving the air-quality in North Macedonia
There is no doubt that North Macedonia is facing one of the most serious environmental challenges in the past decade – the level of air-pollution. Throughout the years, Skopje as the capital city and numerous other cities in the country have peaked the highest points on the scale of most air-polluted cities in the world. This is affecting the lives of thousands of citizens on an annual basis and is affecting the motivation and hope among the youth that some systematic changes would happen. The youth’s perceptions are a consequence of the lack of action and investment in creating and administering environmental policies on the local and national level.
However, when it comes to decision making and what youth has to say, based on a survey that has been conducted by the Youth Educational Forum in 2021, more than a third of the young people of North Macedonia claim that they do not take part in the decision-making processes of national and local government units.
In addition to that, a recent UNICEF research shed light on the fact that around 72 percent of the citizens of North Macedonia are expressing concerns of how the climate change could affect their lives, from which the younger population has been perceived as highly motivated to take action.
This has led to the development of the youth environmental advocacy program “Youth for Air” which aimed to stimulate youth participation and advocacy for air quality and empower them to take action on environmental issues.
In these terms, 30 youth participants from various municipalities in the country have taken part in two training modules, one of which provided them the opportunity to dive deeper into the roots and causes of air-pollution, advocacy and digital technologies, and the other one, called the “Mediathon”, which provided them the opportunity to work with videographers, graphic designers, professional photographers and journalists on creating and conceptualizing digital content.
The Mediathon took place in Skopje and resulted in a firework of produced digital content containing the advocacy messages the youth has to share, addressing the urgent need for improved air quality.
Ten participants took part in the photography workshop leading them to produce and edit multiple photos as a call for action for better air quality.
10 youth participants worked with experienced graphic designers who mentored them on producing creatives which would communicate the message they want to share digitally.
After the production of creatives, photos and videos, the youth advocates took part in mentorship activity which gave them the basis to work with experienced professionals to create written requests addressed to the authorities and institutions which hold the responsibility to provide systematic solutions on the air quality issue in North Macedonia.
The Mediathon is an activity part of the project “Youth for Air”, supported by UNICEF and implemented by the Youth Educational Forum.