February 2020 – May 2022
Giving a voice to young people in the Balkans thanks to digital media
For the past two years, Balkans Voices has empowered young people in the western Balkans by offering them the means to express themselves openly on subjects of interest to them, thus helping to develop a shared democratic arena.
February 2020 – May 2022
In 2021, Balkans Voices continued to develop critical thinking among young people with respect to the media, by continuing its workshops to educate about the news. In all, nearly 1,600 secondary schoolchildren and journalism students, including over 70% girls and women, benefitted from training courses on the crafting of news bulletins and the impact of fake news, thanks to support from Talmil – an educational platform on the media and news created during the project. The 15 project trainers garnered very positive feedback, emphasising a great need for media education among young people, as well as their engagement to fight misinformation.
Balkans Voices also empowered young talents, with some 60 bloggers and influencers attending regional workshops from June to October. These meetings aimed to adapt their platforms to the needs of their public.
Additionally, 21 online media project owners participated in an incubation week in Paris in November, to address various editorial and economic issues with a view to developing their media. Djellza, a 19-year-old student from Kosovo, who launched an Instagram account to promote diversity and gender equality in her country, told us: “I’m already implementing this knowledge in my project. I now have a clear roadmap and I’ll be sticking to it”. On her return to Kosovo, she applied the editorial and marketing advice to further promoting her content.
Another incubation week goal was to create a network in the region to share their aspirations and build a solidarity-led community. A platform host in Montenegro, Jovana, confirmed: “I met some amazing people, we connected and discussed our experiences.” Another young journalist, an Albanian named Ardit, publishes news in his hometown which previously had no local news outlets. He aimed to acquire managerial and communication skills, to ensure that his website could continue to operate. He was able to launch a newsletter presenting the five most popular subjects each week, to foster loyalty among his readers.
A web documentary was produced by Europa Prima, the International University in Skopje. It featured some 20 young people from the region freely discussing news topics and themes they are concerned about (the environment, gender equality, access to employment, culture etc.). Thanks to this support, the Albanian audiovisual centre wrote a series based on regional folklore to describe the reality of young people in the Balkans. This content has helped to reinforce regional cooperation among young artists and thus bring them together thanks to their shared heritage.