We invited the Local Youth Council of Lezhë Municipality for a conversation about their mission and used the opportunity to share with them our point of view about the principle of representation.
From the beginning, we have expressed our discomfort with the direct and indirect implications of the law 75/2019 “On Youth”. If conceptualizers and ratifiers were not ready to leave the advisory leadership to the young people but to the heads of the municipalities and the ministry, what does this mean for decision-making on youth policies?!
In the cooperation agreement with Lezhë Municipality signed at the beginning of 2021, we stated that H.A.N.A wants to engage in this structure as an organization for young people.
The structure’s current operational mode is completely oriented and dependent on the institution of the municipality, and the legal provisions to clarify the youth about their role are missing.
Similar to the approval by decision of the mayor of the formation of the structure, the operating regulation should have been approved where the mandate, responsibilities and freedoms, among others, are defined.
We are worried by the almost intimidating fear of the membership about their ‘fate’ if the mayor changes (rationalization that stems from the phenomenon of nepotism and politically based recruitment in public administration). There is also a half-belief and half-concern that this structure is limited only to counseling, not pushing forward proposals/improvements/changes with persistence.
H.A.N.A, although it certainly does not have legal support material to address their concerns, still tried to reassure them that 1) the election result cannot in any way harm the impartial youth structure of the LYC as long as there are legal protection mechanisms in place and local and foreign assistance in this direction; 2) without a shadow of a doubt, the role of the LYC is to promote a fair and proactive decision-making towards the urgent needs of the youth in the territory of the municipality, regardless of the efficient strategies used.
The LYC-s are there to protect, advance and represent ONLY the best interests of the youth, so we encouraged them to be present where the youth are, to level with them in open meetings; impartial in exercising their role and efficient in processing their needs in work plans and then advocating in the municipality until they are fulfilled.
According to us:
They are NOT there in the role of promoter of the work of the mayor/municipality!
They should NOT be minimalistic in their approach and the nature of the initiatives they undertake!
They do NOT have to focus their time and efforts on further building/replicating representative structures. H.A.N.A recommends increasing the number of members. Currently, the LYC for Lezhë Municipality has only 4 young people, the youth specialist at the institution, 1 other employee of the municipality who replaces the latter when she cannot attend, and the mayor. So, de facto, only 57% of KVR’s membership are young people who joined through the application process.
They should NOT stand idly by against the senseless approach of educational structures to deny young people from the schools access to opportunities to interact with youth structures in the community (LYC included) that exist only to promote non-formal learning, valuable skills for life and to promote exercise of their responsibilities as contributing members of the community. Schools are a good opportunity to meet young people and get their concerns/needs and to inform them about the existence and mandate of LYC.
H.A.N.A is there to assist the young people of LYC and made this very clear!
Finally, H.A.N.A recommended that the LYCs resolutely avoid any kind of implication with the electoral process, in terms of the campaign of the electoral subjects.