Project “My voice in Europe” (2008 -2009).
The project is implemented with the financial support from European Union (80%) and Latvian State. The project is implemented in the framework of Plan D of the European Commission “Debate Europe” (on democracy, dialogue and discussions). The project is co-financed by Society Integration Foundation.
The aims of the project are to promote young people’s discussions about the issues of the European Union on the basis of actualizing diverse experience and the discussion of structured questions with the opinion makers in the country and on the local level; to enrich the young people’s knowledge about the topicalities of life in EU and about the influence of EU on people’s everyday life. The action plan of the project envisages to involve young people with different languages of instruction in public participatory activities as well as to involve young people from different regions of Latvia who have diverse cultural experiences.
The Education Development center implemented the project “My voice in Europe” from October 2008 till July 2009. The result of the project was the strengthening of the informed, active and integrated civic society in Latvia on the basis of common understanding on the role of civic participation and possibilities of strengthening national and European values and the consolidation of the society. During the project 7 discussions took place in which the knowledge of the participants about the EU issues was enriched – the history of EU, the main agreements, institutions and their role in EU and in the life of the participating countries. There were discussions about the everyday life in EU, the life quality and values of the population. During the discussions the participants got acquainted with the activities of the EP and the possibilities of the deputies to influence the activities in Latvia and Europe. The participants met with the EP deputies Valdis Dombrovskis and Ģirts Kristovskis, Roberts Zīle. The survey of the population about the EU issues was carried out; all in all it surveyed 800 respondents and their view on the possibilities to participate in the decision making in EU was found out. The project participants got acquainted with the methods how to implement EP election simulations and in 7 places of the project the EP election simulations took place. In June 6, 2009 the project participants participated in observation of the EP elections and analyzed their conclusions in the discussions. The cooperation networks of civic initiatives in Eastern Latvia and Western Latvia were established, which facilitated the involvement of the inhabitants in the discussions about Europe and the sustainability of the project. In order to promote the publicity of the project, the project section was established in the EDC home page; it regularly reflected information about the main activities of the project and the summaries of the diaries of project participants. The information about the project was reflected in 2 articles in the newspaper “Izglītība un kultūra” / Education and Culture/, the regional press and school newspapers. The project newspaper was published and disseminated among the project participants and others, who are interested in the issues of civic education. The methodological and content ideas of the project were summarized in the collection of the project experience, which is published in the EDC home page and thus accessible to a broad circle of those interested in these issues. The specialists of the field were acquainted with the project results in the final discussion of the project. The project has resulted in strengthening the professional experience of Education Development center and it has gained new cooperation partners for the discussions in future. The project activities have promoted the implementation of the EC plan D.