The representatives of the NGO Mladiinfo Montenegro attended the last session within the series of the conference, titled When Young People Save the World, organized by the NGO Youth Network of Southeast Europe in cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Serbia, which was held on June 12, 2020.
During the final session, participants discussed in detail about the role of young people and youth organizations in crisis-induced developments. Some of the questions were:
How did youth organizations cope with the pandemic? Were they able to adapt to the new circumstances and in what way? Which capacities are lacking and which skills can be applied to other sectors? How important were youth organizations during the crisis and to what extent did they contribute to society? What challenges did youth organizations face? How to prepare young people and youth organizations to act in the long run? What types of activities were undertaken in non-organized manner? What are the assumptions about the needs of young people after the crisis? How to meet the needs of young people?
During the conference, all of the above mentioned issues were discussed from the youth organizations’ point of view.
Some of the activities undertaken in non-organized manner were: volunteering and helping vulnerable categories, skills and knowledge development and exchange, mental health support, small and medium business’ product placement, creation of artistic content for peers, etc.
The participants agreed upon the fact that mental health support would be needed the most in the post-crisis period and that young people showed great solidarity during the crisis, although general public saw it as their obligation, rather than the act of solidarity.
At the same time, the challenges faced by the organizations during the pandemic were discussed and some of them singled out: lack of funding and resources, challenges within human resources and administration sectors, failure to recognize young people as vulnerable population during the pandemic; not all organizations were prepared to adapt to new conditions caused by pandemic, which in part dictated their contribution to society.
The funding for youth projects was stopped and redirected to priorities. Young people were swamped by the avalanhce of information coming from the Internet. Only young people with computers and the access to the Internet actually had the access to services offered by the organizations, which additionally estranged the ones who previously did not have it.
The mission of the conference was, to a large extent, accomplished-the identification of contributions and the challenges young people and youth organizations are faced with in the times of crisis and gaining insight into planning and informed decision-making.