REBUILD celebrates Europe Day: hope, democracy and participation

Tuesday 9 May 2023

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Europe is about hope, about democracy, about working together” the heart of the message of the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola on Europe Day 2023 recalls the European values of hope, democracy and participation, values that have been central throughout the Rebuild project.

On this anniversary of Europaday we would like to share the speech that was presented at the International Summit held in Brussels and presented by project coordinator Alice Valenza of Cesie to the participants and in front of the policymakers present at the final conference of the project.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and girls,

I am very honored to be opening this conference with a few words on the REBUILD project.

Firs of all I would link to thank all the partners of the REBUILD project and the people who coordinated it. Thank you for the efforts and the care that you put into this project.

To see all the young people in the room, proud of what they have created and eager to share it, makes me realize how important and meaningful it was to embark on this journey. You have been all very committed to this project, participating with passion and dedication and I want to thank you for this.

In the past two years we have supported 25 groups of young people across 6 countries in the design and implementation of their own youth-led local initiatives aimed at the improvement of their communities. About 170 young people have imagined, given shape and substance to their own visions of another, better, more caring society. Mentors and partners have supported them with training and mentorship in taking the leadership of their own projects.

Our goals was to empower youth organization, informal groups of young people, and underrepresented young people enhancing their democratic participation, dialogue, civic engagement and networking at local and EU level. We are convinced indeed of the central role of youth engagement in the process of reconstruction of the EU social fabric after the Covid-19 pandemic which has strongly impacted societies across the globe.

With this in mind, we built country based networks of youth organizations across the partner countries and facilitated their European Networking in the Youth Net Forum in Palermo. They shared their experience and good practices in the REBUILD Webzines, which formed the basis and inspiration for the initiatives implemented later in the project. We developed educational tools for educators and young people to train them in project design, implementation and awareness raising methodologies. The Toolbox and youth manual are open source documents directed respectively at facilitators and young people, which will hopefully allow the REBUILD model to be accessible beyond the current reach of the project. In each country about 30 young people divided into 3 to 5 teams were trained in project management, implementation and awareness rising, and guided in the design of their youth led initiatives and awareness raising campaigns which were collected in the Youth Initiatives Compendium. Later came the most challenging albeit more exciting part: turning their ideas into reality. And they all did an amazing job in creating projects in support of young migrants, older people and people with disabilities, urban regeneration initiatives, creative recycling, food waste awareness and so much more. From each country one winning team was voted through an online vote and a jury vote. Finally, based on their experiences and the opinion of local policy makers, a strategy paper was drafted, which will be presented later today, presenting the REBUILD model and offering recommendations for youth engagement to decision-makers and strategic stakeholders ad EU, national and local level. All of these results are available in our website.

With REBUILD have tested a model that goes beyond participation to encourage autonomy, self-organization and ownership of the young people over their own ideas and desires. I think we need a lot more projects like this one, because they go at the foundation of what it means to be educators. As educators we are called to trust. We are called to open opportunities, mobilize dreams and liberate projects. We are called to foster the discovery of personal and collective authentic interests, and the only way we can do it is through sincere, mutual dialogue. In REBUILD we implemented a truly maieutic process, a process of collective exploration in which educators and mentors helped the young people bringing to light and turning into reality the knowledge, creativity, intuition and desires for the world that they already possess. This maieutical commitment in education, not only the involvement but the ownership of the people involved, is key to create any meaning ful change towards more inclusive and caring societies.

I would like to conclude with a the words of Danilo Dolci: a sociologist, activist, poet and educator whose work inspire out actions at CESIE, which I represent today.

There are also those who educate, without hiding

the absurdity that is in the world, open to every

development but trying

to be frank to the other as to oneself,

dreaming of others as they are not:

everyone grows only when dreamed of.

About the project

REBUILD – Rebuilding society through youth engagement is a project funded by the program EACEA (Key Action 3 – European Youth Together), and is aimed at rebuilding youth civic participation after the COVID19 pandemic.


For further information

Read the project sheet, visit the website and follow us on FacebookTwitter e Instagram.

Contact Alice Valenza: