Reflections from NGO IT BOOSTER: A Journey for Emerging Kaunas Youth Leaders

Izabelė Švenčionytė

5/28/20241 min read

From March 3rd to March 9th, 2024, we, Kazimieras, Izabelė, and Vytis, youth leaders from Emerging Kaunas, had the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus+ training program "NGO IT BOOSTER" in Orahovica, Croatia. This program, managed by the organization Kreativa, aimed to empower NGO staff with the skills to leverage digital technologies to enhance the visibility of youth associations and their projects. Here, we share our insights and experiences from this journey.

Discovering Orahovica

Our first impression of Orahovica was shaped by its rich historical and cultural backdrop. Known for its walnut trees, the town's origins date back to 1228, as recorded in a document by King Andrew II. The nearby Ružica fortification, dating from 1357, reminded us of the town's historical significance as a royal estate. Despite suffering material damage during the Croatian War of Independence, Orahovica has resiliently grown into a well-developed town by 1997. This history not only provided a picturesque setting for our training but also underscored the importance of resilience and adaptability—values crucial for any NGO.

Skills learned:

The core of the NGO IT BOOSTER training revolved around using digital tools to boost the visibility and impact of our projects. We learned a variety of skills, including:

  1. Social Media Strategies: Understanding how to craft stories and posts that engage and grow our audience. We explored various platforms, analyzing their advantages for different types of content and target demographics.

  2. Website Development and SEO: Building user-friendly websites and optimizing them for search engines to ensure our activities and achievements reach a wider audience.

  3. Networking and Collaboration: Building a network of fellow youth leaders and NGOs is invaluable. The exchange of ideas and experiences helps us grow and adapt in an ever-changing digital landscape.

Practical Application and Collaboration

One of the highlights of the training was the hands-on workshops where we applied these skills. We worked alongside youth leaders from other NGOs across Europe, sharing insights and collaborating on projects. This not only broadened our perspectives but also helped us build a network of like-minded individuals committed to making a positive impact through digital means.

Presentation on Emerging Kaunas

We also had the opportunity to present Emerging Kaunas to the participants. We showcased our ongoing projects and discussed our vision and mission. This presentation was a pivotal moment for us, as it allowed us to practice the very skills we were learning and receive constructive feedback from our peers.

Looking Ahead

The NGO IT BOOSTER training was an experience for our team. We returned to Kaunas with a renewed sense of our youth organization and a stronger bond between us. As we continue our work with Emerging Kaunas, we are continuing to implement strategies to enhance our visibility and amplify our impact. We are grateful to Kreativa for hosting such a program and to Erasmus+ for providing this opportunity.

Our journey in Orahovica was unique. We look forward to supporting and inspiring the youth in our community and beyond.

Kazimieras, Izabelė, and Vytis
Emerging Kaunas Youth Leaders