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Youth Community Participation Action Program

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Youth Participation in Community Program

1. Goal

Encourage 18-35 year old youths to form their own teams to immerse themselves in fishing villages, rural areas, indigenous settlements and other regions all over Taiwan; foster in young people a sense of concern for local issues, and identity with their hometown and land; and turn youthful ideas, expertise, creativity and passion into concrete intervention through local actions to help revitalize and develop communities.

2. Program methodology

(1) Youth creativity to revitalize communities
Programs are youth-focused, connecting schools, communities, NGOs and academic experts to develop creative actions that meet community needs. Program content includes community development, local industry, environmental protection, creative culture, rural education, care for the vulnerable and other issues.
(2) Guided empowerment to hand down experience
Apart from supporting teams with funding, the program includes a two-day one-night empowerment workshop, in which teams can network with each other. In addition we bring together a number of richly experienced experts and academics to act as consultants, so the youth teams in the process of their action plans can ask consultants for their opinion at any time, so that the action programs can be promoted and executed more smoothly.
(3) Best results contest to promote model plans
After the programs have been completed, we hold an “Outstanding Team Contest and Results Sharing” for outstanding teams to enter a presentation contest. We also invite all funded teams to share the results of their work, so the teams can learn from and network with each other. The results of executed plans are displayed in an exhibition area to promote the real-life stories of youth action.

C. Key Plan Measures

I. Youth Inspired Community Vitalization
Youths are the focus, combined with schools, communities, non-profit organizations, experts and scholars to visit farming, fishing, rurale areas, and indigenous villages to develop creative action plans which meet community demands. Content includes community building, local industry, environment and ecology, cultural creativity, rurale areas education , care for the disadvantaged and other social issues. This nurtures responsibility and a sense of identity amongst youth for their home and land. Youth perspectives, creativity, and passion can be transformed into actual participation in local actions, which help vitalize and ensure sustainable development within communities.
II. Guided Training. Pass on Experience
In addition to subsidizing selected teams, the “Youth Participation in Community Action Program” also holds training workshops which encourage vertical and horizontal connections between teams. Various experts and scholars with a wealth of practical experience are invited to serve as advisory committee members so that youth teams can seek recommendations from committee members throughout any step of the action plan. This facilitates success in the promotion and execution of action plans.
III. Result Competition. Widespread Example
Once the annual plans are executed, an “Outstanding Team Competition and Result Sharing Conference” is held. 20 outstanding teams are selected to give presentations at the competition. All subsidized teams are invited to participate in the results sharing conferences so that they can learn and exchange their experiences. The execution results of the plans in the year are exhibited at the conference. The awards presented and results exhibition aim to recognize contributions youth teams made for local communities.

Group photo of participating youths, instructors,organizing staff, consulting committee members and moreGroup photo of participating youths, instructors,organizing staff, consulting committee members and more

D. Future Vision

Since the implementation of the “Youth Participation in Community Action Program”, youth teams have thought of many novel ideas to develop brilliant, unique local action plans. The content of these plans is varied and exciting. In the future, youth teams will continue to cultivate efforts in various communities across Taiwan, developing creative action plans which meet community needs as they embark on different actions which will impact the society.
Dedication to the vision and goal of “care, creativity, action” has encouraged youth participation in communities, inspiring passion among youth to make the most of their potential, creativity, passion, and motivation. Not only are youth the focus of this project, they are the stars and driving force behind it!

E.Youth Community Participation Action Stories

“Ceroh Millet Power” is formed by a team of students from National Dong Hwa University. They are based in Chun-Rih Elementary School, in the Ceroh Village of Chunrih Community, Yuli Township, Hualien County. The Chunrih millet farm next to the elementary school was selected for hands on farming experience. Millet wine was brewed, results exhibited, and a millet-summoning song festival held with residents to achieve the goals of agricultural learning, food farming education, passing on of cultural traditions, and promotion of community features.
Millet is closely tied to the culture of various indigenous tribes. It is linked closely to harvest festivals, containers, language and culture, legends and taboos, and more. However, the culture and knowledge of millet cultivation has been lost at Ceroh Village for nearly half a century. Through the agricultural transition to rice farming, the harvest festival of the Amis tribe had lost its original meaning of celebrating millet harvests.
Through replanting millet at Chun-Rih Elementary School, the Ceroh Millet Power team formed links throughout Ceroh Village through cross-generational learning. Millet was utilized to gather people together and achieve the goal of passing on tribal cultural traditions. The hope is to learn more about lost millet culture from elders enhance ecologically friendly knowledge amongst village residents, educate children on the environment, healthy food consumption and purchases, the importance of preserving the ecological environment, and promoting the reestablishment of agricultural culture which incorporates ecological wisdom of the Amis tribe and environmental friendliness. This type of youth community participation connects generational learning with passing on of traditions, making it a very significant meaning for the Ceroh Village, local residents, and participating young scholars.
The “Lancheng Community Workshop” youth team is comprised of several youths with no agricultural social capital. Through dedication, they work tirelessly alongside old farmers, new farmers, and farm teams to become as close to the land as possible in hopes to rediscover and share the value and warmth of these grassroots rural values.
Lancheng New Life developed from experiencing farming life to opportunities in creating agricultural livelihoods. Youths in the experimental farm village established their own platform, “Guli Co-op”, to assist in the sale of pesticide-free crops. They worked with farmers to make the transition to natural farming and assist in sales (manual rice seedling transplanting for all fields). This allowed them to better experience the challenges of farming and the difficulties which arise from lack of youths and agricultural social capital. 188 rice farmers who supported the philosophy of pure land took part in the first rice harvest. While creating income, it also implements cultivation methods, which are friendly to the land, and provides a solution to the issue of youth population outflow in farming villages.
In terms of community development at Lancheng, the team obtained consent from the owner of an abandoned building, linking the concept of “farming and youths / ruins and rebirth” to an abandoned ruin at Lancheng. This generated discussion about vitalizing community space and served as a prelude towards the recreation of idle space into public space within the community.
The youth team believes that Guli’s vision will gradually come true, “hectare after hectare of farm land in Puli will transition from pesticide-use to pesticide-free. People will be able to enjoy pesticide-free rice and this will help change agriculture in the Puli region from existing methods over to natural agricultural practices. At the same time, this will support youth with little capital in the farm village to have more opportunities to remain on farms and even lay down deep roots.” Lancheng New Life brings better livelihoods to farming communities, making an arduous but worthwhile path to persist on.