Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Human Resource Development Centre (Bulgarian NA). Neither the European Union nor Human Resource Development Centre (Bulgarian NA) can be held responsible for them.

The Youth Waves Surfers (YWS) project, in its pursuit of empowering rural youth, embarked on a crucial phase – the Research on Youth Obstacles. This phase was dedicated to uncovering the challenges and opportunities in creating and managing youth clubs in rural areas. It represented a deep dive into the realities that young people face, setting the stage for informed and effective interventions.

Exploring the Terrain of Youth Challenges

The primary aim of this research phase was to understand the barriers and hurdles that young people encounter in their efforts to establish and sustain youth clubs. Recognizing that these challenges could range from financial constraints to lack of support structures, the research was designed to be comprehensive and inclusive.

Methodology: A Blend of Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches 

The research methodology was a blend of qualitative and quantitative approaches. Surveys were distributed to gather broad-based data, while interviews and focus groups provided deeper insights into the personal experiences and perspectives of young individuals. This mix of methods ensured a holistic understanding of the issues at hand.

Engaging with the Youth

A key aspect of this phase was the direct engagement with the youth. By involving young people in the research process, the project ensured that their voices were heard and their experiences were at the forefront. This approach not only enriched the data but also fostered a sense of ownership and involvement among the youth.

Collaborating with Experts and Stakeholders

The research phase also involved collaboration with experts in youth development, educators, and community leaders. Their expertise and insights were invaluable in interpreting the data and understanding the broader socio-economic and cultural contexts of the challenges identified.

Uncovering Insights for Action
The outcomes of the research phase were illuminating. They revealed a range of obstacles, including limited access to resources, lack of awareness about funding opportunities, and socio-cultural barriers. However, the research also highlighted the resilience and creativity of young people in overcoming these challenges. Informing Future Strategies
The findings from this phase played a crucial role in shaping the subsequent activities of the YWS project. They informed the development of the manual on youth club creation and management, ensuring that it was grounded in the real-life experiences and needs of the target audience.

Building a Foundation for Empowerment
By rigorously researching the obstacles faced by young people, the YWS project laid a solid foundation for its future initiatives. This phase not only provided valuable insights but also demonstrated the project’s commitment to understanding and addressing the real challenges that rural youth face in their journey towards empowerment. The research phase, with its focus on ground realities and direct youth engagement, was a vital step in ensuring that the YWS project’s interventions were relevant, impactful, and truly responsive to the needs of young people in rural areas.