The event was a great opportunity for Aspen Members, Fellows and Guests to meet and interact with this year's amazing generatio. The 2011 projects focus mainly on education, women empowerment and the development of an entrepreneurial spirit in our society.
1.Youth as Social Entrepreneurs
Who: Diana Certan (COO, Fundatia Noi Orizonturi), Ciprian Ciobanu (Executive Board Member, MedLife), Mugurel Florea (Offering Leader, IBM Middle East), Corina Rebegea (Project Coordinator, Konrad Adenauer Foundation).
What: The objectives are (i) Create an on line space for social entrepreneurial resources; (ii) Have 5 youth groups financed and implementing 5 social entrepreneurship projects, developing entrepreneurial skills for 75 youth and (iii) Create a space for best practice sharing for 25 youth that will also allow them to meet with successful social entrepreneurs and business persons.
How: The first stage involves developing an on line platform that will serve the IMPACT youth leaders and members in undertaking the module of social entrepreneurship; the on-line platform will contain profiles of role-models from the region, create online trainings, collect the online resources already available and last but not least create an on-line space for submitting, judging and improving the project applications. The second stage consists of organizing a competition for the best 5 social entrepreneurial projects while the third stage will organize a seminar for 25 youth and 5 teachers to share their experiences in implementing the social entrepreneurial project.
2. Putting ASPEN idea into Reality
Who: Ibrahim Ismayilov (Manager, Communication and External Affairs BP Azerbaijan) and Elshad Mikayil (Governance Program Manager, Oxfam GB in Azerbaijan)
What: Contribute to sustainable social development in the rural areas of Azerbaijan via youth empowerment in environmental and local governance. To achieve this goal, the project aims to 1) Enhance the capacity of rural youth groups in identifying and addressing local problems and in engaging community members, 2) Increase awareness on environmental problems and facilitate their resolution, and 3) Contribute in building a ‘good society' by bridging private, public and civil society efforts.
How: The project geographic scope is 9 villages in Azerbaijan. Its success will be measured by the following achievements: 1) 9 Youth Chambers created within 9 municipalities engaging at least 45 young leaders, 2) At least 45 young people trained on system of local governance and project management, 3) At least 150 community members trained on local environmental issues, 4) At least 200 people participated in focus group discussions and targeted presentations on environmental issues, 5) At least 9 youth-led projects on the environment issues implemented, 6) At least 50 young activists participate in environmental camping, and 7) At least 10 young activists participate in a study tour to Georgia.
3. Step In!
Who: Nicolae Albu (Chief Investment Officer, Erste Asset Management), Robert Ciobotea (GRSC Director, Oracle), Bogdan Dima (External Fellow Assistant Law School, Bucharest University), Corina Rebegea (Project Coordinator, Konrad Adenauer Foundation).
What: The main objectives of the STEP IN program are (i) to raise the degree of civic engagement and (ii) to generate an effective participation in different social programs of corporations' employees working in Romania.
How: First stage: generating a study which measures the degree of civic engagement and education of the corporations' employees. Secondly, generating and implementing the STEP IN program, which is based on three complementary levels: monthly debates on civic participation and civic education issues, an integrated civic engagement platform and social projects contest within the corporations. And lastly, a yearly evaluation report of the progress made.
4. Toy Bank
Who: Giorgi Meladze (Executive Director, Liberty Institute, Georgia)
What: 40% of kids under 10 barely read and write and 25% of kids under 14 leave in poverty in Georgia. Toy Bank will distribute toys proportionally to those in need. Toys provide children with a creative outlet and encourage them to use their minds and their muscles. More informatina at www.nakaduli.ge.
How: Through promotion in national media and on the internet, Georgians will be invited to donate toys. They will receive a tracking number, the project will wrap the toys and send it to the recipients.
We will wrap it and send it to the location. The project has designed a special software to distribute toys proportionally to those in need. Participants can deliver the toys themselves.
5. We plant good deeds in Romania!
Who: Liana Buzea (President, EcoAssist Association)
What: (i) Plant 300 ha in the first year and monitor them until the final success (introduce new grounds in the forest circuit) (ii) Build a virtual map of deforested areas in our country (verified with the support of the authorities) (iii) Build an information campaign regarding the importance of forests (type, functions, biodiversity, means of growing and protecting etc.).
How: The project aims at designing a social francize: EcoAssist Association franchiser, 1 NGO per country francize, followed by building a "know-how" guide and a network of institutional partners and material and financial resources to provide through the network. Also teams would be built in each country formed of 5 people with job descriptions. Support from the media and the general public would have to be obtained.
6.Grassroots Leaders Itinerant School
Who: Ana Oprisan (Founder, Euro Asia Projects), Muzaffer (Lecturer, Istanbul Sehir University) and Leila Younis (External Partner, Center for Peace Studies)
What: The aim of the project is to promote community leadership among individuals from disadvantaged communities in Turkey through capacity building and coaching. It is acknowledged that training is one of the key demands of youth and Roma NGO workers, both in Istanbul and other areas in Turkey.
How: Through coaching and capacity building programs (Leadership, Community Organizing, Active Citizenship, PCM - Project Cycle Management, Fundraising, Networking, Advocacy & Lobby, CSOs Work / NGO Management, EU Institutions & Turkey EU Accession Process, Entrepreneurship, Intercultural Communication, Identities-Stereotypes-Prejudices). Specifically, the project will 1) Launch an "Itinerant School", which will target individuals from disadvantaged communities in Turkey (Roma and non-Roma) who work or aim to work effectively in / with local communities, as part of NGOs or any other formal or informal civic setting; and 2) Select a team of trainers that will consist in Aspen fellows, volunteer activists, NGO workers, scholars etc. mobilized for the project, at different times. The beneficiaries of the project will be selected from the members or various affiliates of the NGOs. Experience exchange and networking will be facilitated. The activities of the first year will be conducted in Istanbul, for sustainability purposes.
Who: Ionut Stanimir (Head of External Communication, BCR Erste Bank)
What: Support socio-economic integration of one impoverished community in the rural area by enabling them to become more self-sustainable through raising goats.
How: The intention is to improve the food, financial security and nutritional status of the target groups by introducing the farming of goats. Through goat rearing communities would be able to improve, stability of their households and their self-reliance. Increased income generation benefits communities in many ways, including food security, access to schooling and access to health care. In the scope of the project, the goats would be provided free of charge by means of donors' support. Specific training in animal husbandry and entrepreneurial skills would also be provided for starting up and expanding a small livestock in order to increase household income and provide the means of sustainable food production.
8. Empowering Roma Women
Who: Katalin Barsony (Managing Director, Romedia Foundation, Hungary)
What: (i) Empower and engage minority women through media literacy and create the conditions for their sustained participation in public life and their use of media to bring about cultural and policy change and (ii) Expand the scope of the "I'm a Roma Woman" campaign (www.romawoman.org) across borders, with the use of digital ideas and a deep understanding of the complex socio-political barriers to the expression of the voice of Romani women.
How: Stage 1: Identify NGOs to build up the pilot program and establish a Minority Women Cross Border Network to facilitate the visibility of the problems minority women face, debate and understand the challenges of live web-stream (Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Turkey). Stage 2: Develop the Net-toolkit for live stream communication and produce a short film with the help of Romedia about the opportunities of cross-boarder live connection that will serve as a manual on how to be an amateur filmmaker/journalist (recording, editing, uploading, etc.). Stage 3: Find a community with fast internet connection and organize meetings in order for people to see all the previously recorded confessions in all three locations at the same time and communicate with each other via web cameras and speakers. Organize amateur talent shows based on the community's interests (music, theatre, etc.). Record and distribute all the materials with the activities as well as the collected confessions through the internet by uploading them on Facebook. Stage: 4 June: Get media support from the Software Medialog Kft.
9. 100% Absorption of European Funds for Romania
Who: Marian Dobrila (Executive Director, TDP Partners, Romania)
What: Gathering inside the same partnership (PACT) all the stakeholders of the European Funds absorption system (Public authorities, Beneficiaries --companies and NGOs-- and Consultancy companies) in order to ensure that 100% of the European Funds available for Romania for the period 2007-2013 will be efficiently absorbed. There is a great need for such initiative since projects implemented through European Funds do not produce the expected strategic impact. If the mechanism of producing strategies doesn't change, the 2014-2020 period will not generate any impact on Romanian society.
How: (i) Operational solutions: a) Reallocation of money blocked in projects that will be never implemented; b) Building institutional capacity for evaluating a new wave of 10.000 projects in maximum 2 months per project and contracting those projects in other 2 months; c) Evaluation and selection process redesign (eliminating the repeated abuses of supplementary clarifications); d) Public monitoring of the assumed measures; and e) Unblocking the existing package proposed for changing public procurment law. (ii) Strategic solutions: a) Designing a new and efficient process of public consultation for elaborating future sectoral programs; and b) Creating interparty agreement to participate at the conception and to grant politically support to any strategy that is created.
Who: Nighina Azizov (Vice President, Youth Organization, LDPM, Republic of Moldova), Olga Melniciuc (Head of Planning Dept, Ministry of Economy, Republic of Moldova)
What: A leadership program that supports young ladies (16 -18 years old) in their leadership abilities, self-discovery, respect for diversity, healthy decision-making, and civic engagement in order to contribute to the emergence and development of the strong women leaders' generation in Moldova.
How: Stage one of the project will be the selection process for the participants, based on essay competition and interviews, and a selection of mentors based on interviews only. Stage two comprises capacity building activities, trainings and practical workshops, seminars and discussions, meetings with successful women leaders. The third part is a mentoring Program following a "Big Sister" approach that envisions training and team buildings for mentors. Also a Club of Young Women Leaders will be created by the academy alumnae, with support of the project team. This will assure the sustainability of the project results.