Youth Raise Their Voices in Local Budget Hearings

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Youth of Istog in front of municipal building
Global Communities for USAIDKosovo

If and when young people enter municipal buildings throughout Kosovo, it is usually to access local services like posting mail or registering for school. However, a group of youth from Istog recently entered a municipal building with another goal in mind—to raise their voices on how their municipality plans to spend public money in 2022. Tamara Miletić, a participant in USAID’s Up to Youth activity and a member of the Youth Advisory Board said, “I was the first one to ask a question from our group, so I was a little nervous to be in a room with officials and engage in decision-making conversations, such as the expenditures for the next year. But I got through it, and I am happy I participated.” 

Across Kosovo, more than 80 youth like Tamara participated in nine public budget hearings in their municipalities. In addition to the local youngsters, citizens were in high attendance, proposing potential revenue streams and expenditures for the coming fiscal year. This was an ideal environment for youth to learn about the role and function of governance and democracy at the local level. The participants came from different backgrounds and villages and actively engaged with government officials in the public hearings by asking questions of concern for their communities, such as lack of infrastructure. “The street that connects my house to the main road needs pavement. It is impossible to walk down the street or even drive when it rains because the water damages the gravel heavily,” Tamara explained to officials. 

This type of active participation serves to improve youth leadership and community engagement, and changes not just how adults value and perceive youth contributions, but also how youth themselves perceive their own contributions. Up to Youth is creating linkages between socially excluded youth, community stakeholders, and municipal representatives to improve youth participation and community engagement. These activities are helping youth to understand democratic processes and engage in meaningful ways to create positive changes within their communities. 

Last updated: October 08, 2021

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