Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF) in collaboration with TOG (Community Volunteers Foundation, Turkey) organised the first exchange visit of Turkey-based youth workers and volunteers to Armenia on November 19-21, 2016 implemented within EPF’s ATNP2 YouthBank activity.
YouthBank is a unique way of involving young people in grant-making within their local community. It is an international initiative, the idea of which is forming decision-making committees run by young people, that later would distribute funding to projects designed and run by young people. The projects address issues and concerns relevant to them and their community.
The group of young community leaders from different regions of Armenia (Armavir, Lori, Tavush, Yeghegnadzor) and Turkey (Batman, Istanbul, Izmir, Samsun, Sanliurfa) spent 3 days together implementing small-scale confidence-building projects aimed at sustaining the dialogue and engaging in community development. During the YouthBank event in Armenia, the participants travelled together across the regions of Armenia and visited local branches of YouthBank as well as local organisations dealing with Human Rights and social issues. On the first day, the group visited the city of Armavir, where they met their counterparts from the Armavir YouthBank and learned about the projects and activities it supported. Participants from Turkey talked about their YouthBank projects and compared those with the ones presented.
The group also visited the city of Gyumri, where the participants met with Gyumri YouthBank members, listened to their stories and exchanged ideas on possible cooperation. Another destination point in Gyumri was the Art Studio, where the group discovered new ways self-expression through art. In addition, the participants also discussed follow-up plans, prepared a wish list, and talked about potential joint programs and identified donors for project ideas. They also brainstormed and elaborated peacebuilding ideas to be implemented jointly in the second stage of the YouthBank activity planned for Spring 2017 in Turkey within ATNP2.
Emilya from YouthBank Armenia shared her impressions:
“If someone offered me to meet young people from Turkey a year ago, I would have definitely refused. My attitude toward “the other side” started changing after I graduated from EPF’s Conflict Transformation School. I compare myself with an iceberg; the top started melting right after the School last year, whereas the rest of the ice melted after meeting the Turkish participants.”
YouthBank Turkey Handenur’s short video on her travel to Armenia (in Turkish):
On September 13, 2018, Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development (UFSD) hosted a workshop on “Exchange of Best Practices in Plastic Waste Management between Armenia- and Turkey-based CSOs and Practitioners.” The workshop is part of a project that contributes to the development of cooperation between environmentalists, waste management practitioners, businesses and local authorities of Armenia and Turkey through sharing best practices in plastic waste management. The grantee, Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development in partnership with the Union of Diyarbakir Young Businessmen organized a 1-day workshop in Diyarbakir with participation of 20 representatives of local authorities, plastic waste management practitioners, environmental CSOs, businesses in the field of plastic waste separation and recycling from Armenia and Turkey. The workshop was followed by a study visit to Plastic Waste Recycling Plant in Diyarbakir, as well as a follow-up exchange workshop in Yerevan. Based on the results of the study visit and workshops UFSD will produce a booklet on the best practices of plastic waste management in Armenia and Turkey. The project will result in an increased awareness of stakeholders of the plastic waste management practiced on the other side of the border, as well as will provide an opportunity for networking between practitioners and businesses focusing on plastic waste management. Representatives of local authorities may consider replicating the best practices in plastic waste management in their own communities.
This activity took place within the framework of the Sub-grants Scheme implemented by Eurasia Partnership Foundation as part of the “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process” programme, funded by the European Union and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.