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Green Academy: making politics work for young people in North Macedonia
During the first London Climate Action week, Eleanor Morrisey – Project Coordinator for the Young Greens in WFD’s Multi-Party Office – explains how they are connecting young people interested in sustainability and climate change from England and Wales with their counterparts in North Macedonia.
We were excited to launch the Green Academy back in May. It’s a year-long political training programme in North Macedonia, which aims to engage young people and other marginalised groups with a shared interest in sustainability and climate change in politics.
Like many countries worldwide, young people in North Macedonia often feel excluded from politics and distrust politicians who have the power to decide and shape their future.
Through a partnership between MODOM, the youth wing of the Democratic Renewal of Macedonia, and the Young Greens of England and Wales, Green Academy will teach young people practical skills to better understand how they can make politics work for them
Over five weekends in different cities, the programme, will explore several policy areas, theoretical knowledge and practical skills. We started off looking at Green ideology in the capital city of Skopje in a session led by Ben Parker, former co-chair of the Young Greens of England and Wales.
(Photo: Sharing their visions of the future, participants at the workshop present their utopian, eco-friendly cities.)
We discussed the connection between sustainability and the climate crisis, as well as with economic, social and human rights. The participants were encouraged to share and debate ideas to learn how to effectively communicate their own beliefs and opinions. This helped shape their own understanding of the world around them.
Exchanges on what activism is and the different forms, including demonstrations, lobbying and volunteering also took place. Participants left with an understanding of how their everyday actions – such as consumer choices, social media activity and by voting – can make them activists.
The Green Academy is centred around non-formal education – an inclusive and interactive approach to learning that prioritises sharing of knowledge and ideas in a relaxed environment. The participants themselves, while not active in politics, all shared a common concern for the climate crisis and for promoting and protecting social rights. They designed their own utopian, eco-friendly cities, debated green policies and planned a campaign during a simulation exercise.
Throughout the Green Academy participants will continue to explore how ideologies and activism combine on both a national and European level. With speakers from the Young Greens of England and Wales, Global Young Greens and the Federation of Young European Greens, they will look at the struggles relating to human rights, including those of the LGBTI community, women and climate refugees. They will learn about media, public speaking and graphics, and the Green Academy will introduce young people to the work of the Democratic Renewal of Macedonia.
We hope the project shows how political involvement and grassroot activism can influence the political system on both a national and European level, and what young people can do to change politics for the better.
For more information on the work of WFD’s multi-party office, follow @multi_party.