Name: Goce Todoroski
Institution: Center for Civic Initiative
Location: Prilep, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Project duration: January 2014 – December 2014
Funding amount: 53.000,00 EUR
The interethnic relations in Macedonia are still fragile, considering the incidents in the first half of 2012 among the youth. Furthermore, the communities are still divided and are facing prejudice and stereotypes towards each other. Their relationships are still shaped by a lack of trust and understanding among each other. In this context, youth are often the main target of manipulation by groups aiming to increase violence on an ethnic basis.
Therefore, this initiative aims at empowering the youth from the conflict affected areas to be able to use the circle processes as a new community method for conflict transformation.
The specific objectives of the project are
- to identify the needs, fears, concerns and hopes of the youth including their interests, thus recognizing the legitimacy of all of them separate and mutual; and
- to build the capacities of youth for implementation of trust building processes based on circle processes.
These objectives will be achieved with several components, starting with research to identify the current state of the conflict. The specific focus will be the identification of the needs, fears and concerns of the youth, using an approach where youth, rather than adults, address youth and conduct the research. This is a new approach that has not yet been implemented in Macedonia. This approach, by the youth and with the youth, will provide them with a feeling of security and familiarity. The youth to youth approach will enable them to be open and speak freely about their feelings.
The experience of the Center for Civic Initiative shows that the Macedonian youth are often manifesting hatred towards the other ethnicities, but are unable to recognize and explain why they do so. Their attitude towards the other ethnicities according to them is “normal”, as they consider the other as the enemy. The “circle of trust” process is a tool which the Center for Civic Initiative has developed and piloted with groups of school children in Macedonia to resolve interpersonal conflict. Empowering the youth with the tool of the “circle of trust” process will introduce them to a new “user friendly” approach that can increase the trust among the communities, thereby contributing to better relationships among the various ethnic communities in Macedonia.