On July 25, the city of Smolyan witnessed an impactful event that brought together the voices of the youth and the wisdom of policy makers and local government officials. In an initiative by the Young Improvers for Youth Development (YIYD), 50 representatives from diverse backgrounds congregated at the Regional Government building for a crucial roundtable discussion.

This unprecedented roundtable was attended by a wide range of participants – representatives of local municipalities, policy makers, officers of public institutions, managers of youth work bodies, youth workers, and most importantly, young people. A particular emphasis was placed on the inclusion of young people from rural areas and those with fewer opportunities. Fostering Dialogue and Collaboration: The roundtable event was conceived with the mission to foster dialogue and collaboration. It served as an interactive platform for young individuals to communicate their ideas and challenges directly to the decision-makers. Simultaneously, it offered the policymakers a valuable opportunity to understand the needs and aspirations of today’s youth better.

The discussions at the roundtable revealed some compelling statistics. An alarming 40% of participating youth from rural areas felt underrepresented in community decisions, while nearly 60% of all participants felt that the youth had limited access to opportunities for personal and professional development. These numbers spotlighted the importance of such dialogue-focused events in addressing these gaps. Impactful Outcomes: As a result of the roundtable, policy makers pledged to work on more inclusive and youth-friendly policies. There was a consensus to conduct similar roundtables more frequently, aiming to foster a more collaborative relationship between the youth and the decision-makers. Additionally, a commitment was made to allocate more resources to youth clubs, particularly in rural areas, providing young people with better opportunities for development.

This successful roundtable in Smolyan was a resounding testament to the potential of open dialogue and collaboration. The YIYD’s initiative marks a significant stride towards fostering a shared understanding between the youth and policy makers, aiming to bridge the gap between these crucial segments of society. As the voice of youth continues to echo in the halls of the Regional Government building, the ripple effects of this roundtable promise a more inclusive and vibrant future for Smolyan’s youth.