In many cases, there is a lack of social activities in the countryside – especially for young people. There are not many initiatives – and if any, they are on a local level. The international level seems too far away, somehow alien and unreachable to young people in rural areas. Are they just not interested in international projects? Or is it just difficult to get young people on board for any activity? As a rural youth worker, what can you do?
1. Have direct contact with the young people:
You can make as many leaflets and posters as you want, but this alone won’t be enough to get young people on board for your project. It gives them the information, but mos likely a personal chat would be more efficient if you want to find out what the young people’s interests are or what their reasons are for not participating. Organise an open door activity and attract the young people with a concert, free computer gaming, a competition with prizes,… and at the same time talk to them about ‘going international’.
2. Go where the young people are:
Maybe you don’t want to reach ‘same old’ young people who already come to all your activities. To catch new target groups, you should go where they are.
Go out to schools and talk about your international activities in class. Or, if the young people you are aiming for are online a lot, find them in the virtual world. You could also surprise them after school: Give them some action, show them what kind of activities you do, do a promotion stunt.
Bibliography: Village International – A practical booklet for youth workers about setting up international projects in rural and geographically isolated areas.
Salto-Youth Inclusion Resource Centre