How is UFO connected with Youth NGO?
Probably wondering, how is UFO connected with Youth NGO? I could say there are two factors. First - this is abbreviation of the names and the second one - UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) often becomes Youth NGO (Youth non-governmental organization). Although, Lithuania has a lot of active youth organizations and unions such as Lithuanian Scouts Association (LSS), in different cities located associations of Youth Organizations “Roundtable” (AS), Lithuanian School Students’ Union (LMS) and a lot of others youth non-governmental organizations (Youth NGO), however if these names and abbreviations are well-known for you and me, it doesn’t mean that everyone recognizes them, no wonder that someone UFO could mix with NGO. Understandable, that all youth organizations have a lot of young and active people, who are willing to move mountains, however have you ever thought what does the other part of the young people?
In Lithuania is about from 10 to 14 percent young people, who don’t have a job, don’t study, don’t have other work and they aren’t involved in any organization activity. You will ask, so what? Who told that everybody must study? Why do you need to work, if you feel fine being dependent of your relatives? Though, is it worth to carry out voluntary and social activities if you don’t get any salary for it? Probably, talking about people and various situations we can’t find the option which is suitable one hundred percent, however then we are talking about active and passive youth issues, more positive answers to these questions are better: the brighter future of the country, more active society, less social isolation, more clear youth opportunities, needs and, of course, more effective development of personal skills. “The nearest Lithuania’s future depends on almost 710 thousand young people, who are between 15 to 29 years old. Youth who don’t have opportunities and find themselves in social isolation don’t have skills to integrate best into society, so it is very important to encourage young people to be more active, to participate in social life, because it provides many possibilities for youngsters” – The Vice-Minister of Social Security and Labour Audra Mikalauskaite said.
I strongly believe that a social activity not only gives us additional skills and knowledge but also strengthens the state. According to “Eurofound” research which states that all EU countries have about 14 million people, between 15 to 29 years old, who don’t study and don’t have a job. Because of that, all EU countries have a huge losses and decline of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Lithuania, like the other countries, has to use various instruments to involve those who don’t have any activity and encourage young people to work, or at least become more familiar with the non-governmental sector. This is not only a goal, but the social and political priority which will be emphasized on Ireland-Lithuania-Greece Trio Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Starting this year on 1 January three countries Ireland, Lithuania and Greece began 18 months collaboration as a presidency of the EU countries. Ministerial Council of UE approved following priorities on youth policy. This agreement launched the Ireland which is going to focus on qualitative work with the young people. Lithuania’s priority is group of people who are currently not working or studying, not participating in any training and, of course, their social integration.
It is expected that Lithuanian presidency which begins July 1 will focus on important issues in youth and, of course, on very sensitive issue in all of the Europe – social isolation. The most important task is to mobilize not only Europe but also Lithuanian institutions attention to the current situation in the country. We are pleased that in order to improve the situation of youth, young people will be involved themselves. According to the President Loreta Senkute of Lithuanian Youth Council (LiJOT) not only at national level but also all young people of the EU countries will be involved to discuss the priority which was mentioned. On September at a conference in Vilnius youth together with the Members of the State will discuss youth policy and make recommendations, which will be the basis of the EU Council resolution and after that they will be used at EU level.
No doubt, the second half of the year will offer more events than usual. This year the aim is to involve more young people and discuss the problems of their lives. One of the following, Eastern Partnership Forum which will be held in October, is going to develop the cooperation with EU’s neighbors in Eastern Europe and share experience working with youth issues.
Well, while waiting Lithuania Presidency of the EU don’t sit on our hands! If you haven’t tried any activity in youth organization and NGO still reminds UFO come here: http://www.zinauviska.lt/lt/veikliam-jaunimui/jaunimo-organizacijos where you will find the database of Lithuanian non-governmental youth organization. Don’t be afraid to “taste” it and find out what is volunteering. Also, visit a Youth International Cooperation Agency page (JTBA) because soon you will find a program “Youth in Action” and applications for those who wants to implement a project initiative which could promote the Presidency topics, young people involving issues and the realization of your ideas. Don’t miss! If in the end of the year made a few promises to do something meaningful or new, it is the right time to do new activities and realize all your ideas and thoughts!
Ingrida Jotkaitė, young journalist of Eurodesk Lithuania and EU programme “Youth in Action”