Young Political Leaders Building BRIDGEs in Macedonia

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In the scope of the Leadership Academy for the Youth Wings of the biggest four political parties – governing and opposition, OSCE Mission to Skopje funded and organized a customized BRIDGE Electoral Contestants workshop. The workshop was conducted in Bitola, Macedonia, from 30th October until 1st November.

The accrediting facilitators, Ljupka Guguchevska and Zage Filipovski, have been working on customizing the modular activities to fit the context and suit the participants’ needs. Sessions on good political leadership have been added, since the participants are expected to be future political leaders in Macedonia.

The purpose of this particular workshop was to strengthen the capacities of the Youth Wings of the political parties in Macedonia to face the challenges of the modern political leadership, especially during elections, when a level play field is a must for free and fair elections. In the dawn of the early parliamentary elections scheduled for April 2016, Youth Wings should be prepared for the challenges they might face after the political crisis in the country.

Through the sessions of individual work, work in pairs, small groups work and whole group activities, participants experienced various aspects of the topic and practiced the skills they were objected to gain during the course. On the final day of the training, the participants, divided in two teams consisted of gender, ethnic, and political mix of members, faced a new challenge: Each team was supposed to develop an initiative, create promotional material, and go out in the streets of Bitola to collect signatures of citizens’ support. Both teams were highly motivated and enthusiastic, and managed to reach the objective successfully. Citizens massively supported their initiatives for social welfare, and were encouraging them to continue with the good work. Both teams concluded that with joint efforts and unity they can always achieve more!

This was the first time this group of participants experienced the BRIDGE methodology. All of them highly appreciated the positive learning environment that facilitators created, the encouragement for participation and discussion, the appreciation for diversities of background and opinions throughout the course, and the quality and usefulness of materials. Their evaluation and comments were very positive, stating that they would gladly recommend BRIDGE to their colleagues, and that they are looking forward to the next BRIDGE workshop in Macedonia.

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