How financially intelligent are young people?

The last eighth training for this year within the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2”, was held in Ohrid from 23-24.12.2023.
First we started with Dejan Prodanoski, President of the Prilep Municipality Council. We talked with him about issues related to the work of the local self-government, and especially about how young people who have their own ideas for projects can reach the Municipality and implement them.
The President of the Pro Local organization, Emilia Gjeroska, followed up on this topic, highlighting the importance of a broad coalition within the project between municipalities, civil society organizations and the target group – the youth of the Pelagonian region.
About what financial management means and how to manage money today, we spoke with Aleksandar Manev on the topic: “Personal budget planning, how to be smart with your money.” Together with the young people, we discussed possible financial failures, caused by poor financial management and records. In the second part of this workshop, the young people worked in groups and made a plan for managing a certain monthly budget, followed by actual expenses.

The day ended with Stefana Najdoska – a participant from the first generation of the “Empowering the people of Pelagonija” project, who told us what an ordinary day of a student in Macedonia looks like and how to manage the financial resources that are owed to students. In addition to this, she also captured her personal experience in the project.
The next day, we hung out with Adrijana Bulevska Zaric, Finance Expert, who, through practical examples, informed the young people how and with which tools to monitor the spending of money by the municipalities, but also to actively propose projects in the annual plans for the development of local communities. She clearly emphasized that our obligation to pay tax also means the right to monitor the planning and spending of public money.

Published on December, 2023


At „Nova Scena“ in Bitola, young people from Pelagoniјa debated whether addictions are a CHOICE or a CONSEQUENCE, how much we as a society manage to help those who struggle with vices and, most importantly, whether we do enough for prevention or are we too late to provide support at the right moment .
The panel consisting of Ivana Marincek – psychotherapist, Qufli Osmani – university professor of psychological sciences and Tony Popov – versatile artist and activist for the prevention and education of children and young people through art confirmed from the panel that in modern society, each of us is addicted to something – some from shopping, some from work, some from chocolate, some from attention, but there are, unfortunately, a growing number of young people who are on the verge of becoming addicted to drugs, gambling…
The question that young people posed to the panel was how young people can recognize when that seemingly harmless need for pleasure turns into an ‘addiction’, into mind over matter, and begins possessing heart and body…when one beer turns into a series of drunken nights, when one a joint turns into missed classes, lost friends, when a betting slip turns into stealing money from home for an all-night gamble, when half a diazepam becomes the only solace every morning and every night….
The young people shared their everyday experiences, they said that the accessibility to vices is much greater than the availability of help and support for young people, that drugs are very easy and cheap to buy, that there are more betting houses than shops and that their peers who are on the threshold to become addicts, they usually seek help from friends and not from institutions.
On the other hand, the panelists debated that young people, despite their sincere desire to be a support for their friends who are struggling with vices, are themselves inexperienced and lack the professional skills to help addicts. In addition, the young people spoke about the public condemnation of addicts instead of the openness of society for their acceptance and help through the labyrinths of the institutions of the system in charge of fighting vices.
With a lump in throat but with wide-open eyes full of desire to help and support their peers who are struggling with addictions, the young people sent a message of support but also an appeal for proactivity by the institutions for greater prevention of addictions among young people. The debate, attended by the Deputy Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Robert Dekker and the Mayor of Bitola, Toni Konjanovski, took place within the framework of the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2” financially supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands and implemented by Pro Local together with eight others local organizations from the Pelagonian region.

Published on December, 2023


On the 11th and 12th of November, the seventh training of the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2” was held in Ohrid.
We started with Frosina Denkova Zafirovska, Member of the Ethics Board at the Chamber of Psychologists, on the topic of “Ethical Conduct”. The workshop was organized in order to raise the awareness and knowledge of young people from 9 municipalities of rural Pelagonia regarding the basic concepts and principles of ethics and morality. Apart from the theoretical part, there was also a practical part with a group discussion, where the participants were divided into groups and solved real ethical dilemmas.
The next day we continued with Milcho Duli, Youth Center Coordinator and President of SFERA with a Personal Development Workshop on “Networking Programs and Youth Opportunities”. This interactive workshop was dedicated to teaching participants how to use the Internet and local resources to find information about youth programs and appeals. Emphasis was placed on programs offering scholarships and financial support, with an added focus on travel planning strategies for learning and personal development.
Elena Gilevska also had her presentation, a participant from the first generation of the “Empowering the people of Pelagonija” project, who shared her experience in this project, but also shared her experience from participating in other projects.

Published on November 2023


On October 13th and 14th, the sixth training was held within the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2”.
We started with the expert/lawyer Nikola Glavince on the topic “Rule of Law” from the 12 principles of Good Governance. At this workshop we talked about what the „rule of law“ means and in what way it functions in our country. We also heard many interesting and specific examples that left a mark in the history of law.
We spoke with Zarko Kostic, personal development coach, about conflics. On this topic, which is inevitable in everyday situations, we studied the special methods for acquiring communication skills for managing conflicts.
At the end of this training, we also heard Snezhana Pivkovska, a participant from the first generation of participants in the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija “, who captured her experience in the project. She also shared with us the story of her personal and professional development during the internship in Mogila Municipality, which is part of the activities of the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija”.

Published on October 2023


Within the framework of the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2”, led by the civil organization Pro Local, and supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Macedonia, a Youth Strategy of the municipalities of Resen, Novaci and Krivogastani was developed.
The strategy documents of these municipalities are based on the needs and interests of young people, and in the direction of improving their position within the social environment.
For the development of these strategies, a two-day working sessions were held in Kumanovo, Kavadarci and Ohrid, with working groups, consisting of young people and representatives from all three municipalities, while the facilitator of the sessions was Zoran Ilieski from the SEGA Coalition.
The priorities established by the Local Strategy for Youth will be implemented with the aim of further promoting equality and equal opportunities, while creating a stimulating environment for developing the potential of young people and their better quality of life.
At the end of this two-day training, we visited the Youth Centers in Kumanovo, Kavadarci and Ohrid, and we had the opportunity to hear about how Youth Centers function and what resources have on disposal.

Published on October 2023


On the 16th and 17th of September, the fifth training of the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2” was held in Krushevo.
We started the two-day training with Ana Karanfilova Maznevska, head of the Department for Waste Management at the Environmental Administration, on the topic of “Sustainability and long-term”.
How and to what extent are these principles implemented in our country and is sustainable development lagging behind?
The purpose of this workshop was for young people from the Pelagonian region to become familiar with the principles of “sustainability” and “long-term orientation” and to acquire skills and knowledge so that they could become active bearers of positive changes in their local communities. The conclusion was that the goals for sustainable development will still need to be incorporated into the state system, and also the role of the Municipalities for sustainable development in the country is of great importance.
The workshop for personal development was held by Stanislav Petkovski – specialist in clinical psychology, STA transactional analyst, and family systems therapist, on the topic “My desires and ambitions versus my limitations”. In the first part we discussed the knowledge and information about needs and desires, while in the second part we talked about the transformation of desires into goals and the development of adequate competencies in achieving the goals.
We also heard from Marija Nikoloska, a first-generation participant in the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija”, about the experience and the personal and professional improvement gained by participating in the project.
We had the opportunity to visit the „Vojvoda Gjorgi Stojanov” Sports Hall and the Cinema Hall at school „Naum Naumovski Broce“.
We rounded off this two-day training with an adrenaline-filled and exciting ending and a visit to the adventure and adrenaline park in Krushevo.

Published on September 2023


The two-day fourth training within the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2” was held in Prespa.

We started with Bujar Drala – HR Manager at SN Finance, on the topic “Create your CV and cover letter” from Personal Development workshops. The young people heard a lot of useful advice on creating a professional resume or CV, which is one of the most important marketing tools for self-promotion of every job seeker, and they also heard the most common mistakes that people make when creating a CV. At the end of this workshop, the young people were ready to create their own CV.

Martin Treneski, a first-generation participant of “Empowering the people of Pelagonija”, shared his experience in the project and how the held workshops influenced his confidence to be actively involved in the demands of young people in the Local Self-Government, as well as in many other situations.

The workshop on “Responsiveness” from the 12 Principles of Good Governance was held on the island of Golem Grad, where we showed and learned how to be active and timely in given situations. Together with our local and regional development expert Rubin Nikoloski, we learned what “Responsiveness” means on a desert island, but also in local self-government! Participants simulated accidents on a desert island and offered quick solutions for responsibility and proactivity in different circumstances or extraordinary challenges.

Published on June 2023

Mental health and young people

The first Public Debate within the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2” was held on 14.06.2023 in the crystal hall in the Officer’s House in Bitola, on the topic “Mental health and youth”. Specifically on the topic “Internet – Within the realm of the internet, who utilizes whom: is it me the internet or the internet is using me?!”
The moderator of the debate was Zivkica Kalenikova – author and host of the TV shows Tunnel and Gillette, while the panelists were Stanislav Petkovski – specialist in clinical psychology, Mia Kostova – host and influencer, Sofia Arnaudova – professor from the Faculty of Philosophy. All of them presented to the young people their views on this complex topic of the 21st century.
Mental health in the Pelagonian region is no longer a TABU topic, and about its connection with the everyday problems of young people and internet addiction, young people publicly debated in front of an audience of 180 people. The two-hour debate between the panelists and all the young people in the audience publicly opened the question – WHERE THEY CAN GET AN ADVICE to help them overcome their emotional challenges.

The regional public debate on Mental Health and Youth was organized by Pro Local, with financial support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Published on June 2023

How much does my product cost?

Young people from rural Pelagonia put prices on their innovative products! Working on the finalization of business plans, within the FAST FORWARD project, 15 young people presented their entrepreneurial ideas and researched how to conquer the markets in the region.
The fifth workshop that took place this Saturday in Bitola was dedicated to researching the market potential of their business ideas and establishing indicative prices in order for young people to check how profitable and market-oriented their ideas are.
In addition, the young people worked on analyzing the specifics of a targeted market, analyzing a market segment as well as developing a profile of a potential buyer.
They investigated their business plans through the prism of income and expenses, that is, they made an assessment of the necessary investments and started making a basic financial projection for the next three years after the establishment of their startup. In the last part of the workshop, the expert helped them master the basics of pitching a business idea.

The project “FAST FORWARD” is implemented by the Association PRO LOCAL from Bitola with the support of the American Embassy in North Macedonia.

Published on June 2023


On May 13, 2023, the activities of the “FAST FORWARD” project continued in Bitola, including the fourth workshop of the module: DECISION-MAKING AND BUSINESS PLANNING – MARKET VALIDATION OF BUSINESS IDEAS.
During the workshop, the young participants from the Pelagonia region presented their business ideas elaborated in CANVAS format while eelaborating on the most important aspects of each startup such as: potential customers, value proposition, distribution channels, marketing and promotion, required investment capital, expenses and key activities.
In order to have a greater impact from the workshop, during it, the participants discussed concepts and practices that are extremely important for the growth and development of any business in its initial phase, such as business acumen, leadership and effective communication.
As with the previous three workshops, according to the comments and evaluation by the participants, the goal of the workshop was achieved: the participants had the opportunity to develop and validate their business ideas, but also to acquire new knowledge and skills that will help them realize their pre-requisites. plans and create their business successes while applying innovative thinking and market logic.
The project “FAST FORWARD” is implemented by the Association PRO LOCAL from Bitola with the support of the American Embassy in North Macedonia.

Published on May 2023

Is everything that is Effective is also Efficient?

With an effective and efficient training, the third workshop of the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2” started. Together with Rubin Nikoloski, IML Guide and instructor, after a short presentation, the participants had the opportunity to learn through several examples and exercises about the need for efficient and effective training in order to achieve the best results in the shortest period of time.
The workshop on Effectiveness and Efficiency from the 12 Principles of Good Governance continued with Aleksandar Karaev, International Expert on Local Development, who emphasized that the role of Local Self-Government is to provide quality, efficient and effective services, while the key factors to achieve this are: quality human resources, organizational culture, legislation, leadership, management and resources.
We started the second half of the training, i.e. the workshop for personal development, with Andrej Naumovski, a participant from the first generation of the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija”, who through his personal experience in the project captured his upgrading on a personal and professional level. Together with the participants, they discussed the need for continuous upgrading and adoption of new and modern knowledge in everyday life as well as in career. It was also debated whether modern skills are more acquired by formal or informal education; young people distinguished the advantages and disadvantages of both types of education in our region.
Branko Poposki, marketing director and food blogger ended this two-day training with his story of success in the world of marketing and culinary. He told the young people about his life’s path to success, with many ups and downs, but without disappointments and with a single thought: “Let’s not give up on our dream!”
At the very end, together we all prepared and tasted the quick snacks from the recipes in his cooking show.

Published on May 2023


On April 22, 2023, the third event within the “FAST FORWARD” project took place in Bitola on the topic: DECISION MAKING AND BUSINESS PLANNING – MARKET VALIDATION OF BUSINESS IDEAS.
Through the SWOT analysis and CANVAS tools, a total of 15 innovative ideas were defined and developed at the third workshop, such as photovoltaic blinds, protein nutrition, cleaning of industrial facilities, a fashion line with ethnic elements, real estate business and a bottle bar, and through the example of the local startup Cythero and their story as an entrepreneurial idea of recently graduated high school students reached clients such as Toyota and BASF, the participants of the event got to know first-hand the trajectory of a successful business, from conception and successful launch to its market validation, and that in international frames.
During the workshop, the participants learned about the ups and downs of an entrepreneur, the challenges he/she faces, but also the satisfaction and excitement when an idea turns into a worldwide success.
According to the participants’ comments, the event achieved its goal: knowledge and skills were acquired among the targeted young people from rural areas, with which they will more easily overcome obstacles and fears and intelligently and boldly create their business successes by practically applying modern theory and accumulated experiences.
The project “FAST FORWARD – skills development of young people from Pelagonia for a better future” is implemented by the Association for the Advancement of Development Processes PRO LOCAL from Bitola with the support of the American Embassy

Published on April 2023

Innovations are needed for change, and innovations lead to progress!

On the 8th and 9th of April, the second training of the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2” was held in Ohrid. The training consisted of one workshop “Innovation and openness to change” from the 12 Principles of Good Governance and one workshop for personal development.
Young people from rural Pelagonija had the opportunity to learn about the principles of innovation and openness to change. Тogether with prof. Dr. Monika Markovska talked about innovations, which are not determined only by innovative startups, but as well as research and development, and a way of thinking. It was agreed that this concept should applies in the local self-government in the places of residence, in order to improve the quality of life in the local communities and to form a modern society based on the principles of good governance.
Young people had the opportunity to “enter” the world of virtual reality by using a virtual reality headset and thus interact with the virtual environment, which today represents a great challenge for innovation and a source of new opportunities.
On the topic “Influencership – a profession of the 21st century”, one of the topics for personal development, we met with Aleksandra Shijakoska, who is a well-known influencer, not only in Pelagonija, but also in the whole country. Aleksandra, in addition to telling her story on her success in the digital world – Influencership, she also emphasized that influencership is a rising profession, and young people can make a good living from it. For this purpose, she presented all the new trends that are used on social media and explained the importance of a well-formed post and its content.

Published on April 2023


On 25.03.2023, a training was held in Bitola within the framework of the FAST FORWARD project on the topic “Generating business ideas”, where 15 young people from the rural municipalities: Novaci, Mogila, Krivogashtani, Dolneni, Resen, Krivogashtani and Krushevo generated knowledge for, analysis and selection of entrepreneurial ideas that can be developed into a business plan and then into a sustainable business.
During the training, the young entrepreneurs discovered business ideas that will solve specific problems and acquired skills for sharing and presenting their business ideas with a wider audience. As part of the project supported by the US Embassy in North Macedonia implemented by the Association of Process Improvement Experts – Pro Local Bitola, during the event, the future entrepreneurs from the region obtained knowledge on topics related to the development of entrepreneurship such as: micro-analysis of a business idea, pitching of a business idea and become familiar with the basic criteria for analysis and selection of a business idea.

In order to further motivate the participants, the founders of the startup “ULAF STE” from Bitola gave their presentation during the training session. Despite being hearing and speech impaired and during health restrictions, inflation and a general decline in the economy they successfully run their business.

Published on March 2023

What does the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies mean?

From March 17 to 19, the seminar on the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies was held in Ohrid, within the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonia 2”. At this seminar, in addition to the 50 young people from rural Pelagonia, the Mayor and members of several Pelagonian municipalities were also present.
Young people had the opportunity to learn what are the forms of youth organization, how they can participate in the process of creating youth policies and making decisions related to them.
Together with Dragan Atanasov and Dragan Markoski (trainers on youth issues), the young people discussed the roles of the various actors in the implementation of the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies, in order to finally, through a simulation, capture the impacts of all actors who contribute or do not contribute to the implementation of the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies. The mayors and representatives from the municipalities in Pelagonia also talked with the youth about the creation and implementation of youth policies at all levels through a multi-sectoral approach, starting from the needs and interests of the youth.
A visit to the Youth Center in Ohrid was also organized, where the young people had the opportunity to hear from the Deputy Mayor of Ohrid – Percho Bozhinovski, how a Youth Center is actually formed and how it later functions. In order to promote and encourage the participation of young people in decision-making processes in the local community, as well as to promote the personal development of young people and develop their creative potential, young people had the opportunity to hear from Zoran Ilieski from the SEGA Coalition and Jovan Cvetkoski – head of the Youth Center in Ohrid.
All the participants of the seminar concluded that in Pelagonia it is necessary for each municipality to pay special attention to young people and enable them to realize all the activities that are foreseen according to the Law.

Published on March 2023

With fair and democratic elections, the coaching for the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2” begun

On February 24, 2023, the first workshop on the 12 principles of Good Governance was held on the topic: “Participation, representation and fair conduct of elections”. The workshop was held by Gabriela Ilievska, President of the independent advisory group “POINAKU” – Bitola. In the first, interactive part of the workshop, young people had the opportunity to listen, and even more so, to ask and debate about WHETHER we have democratic elections and HOW the entire election process develops in one democratic state.
The second part of the workshop was a simulation – ELECTIONS were held in Pelagonija! Through an exercise, the young people “went through” the entire electoral process during realization of local elections in a municipality. The participants drew up an election program with primaries and caucuses, while the candidate for Mayor presented his agenda to the voters, i.e. the rest of the participants, in order to finally conduct a secret vote, in which the best “politician” won with only one vote difference.
Within the framework of the first event, on 25.02.2023, the first workshop for personal development was held, on the topic of “Public Speaking”. An expert on this topic was Dimitar Atanasovski, host and speaker, who through a presentation and personal experience presented the importance of public speaking. Through interesting examples, young people had the opportunity to hear and see for themselves that speech-making is the most powerful personal “weapon”, which should be used in everyday situations as well as in professional life. At the end of this workshop, the participants themselves had the opportunity to speak publicly and express their opinion in front of the other participants on the topic of what motivates young people today.
Mihail Stevkovski, a first-generation participant of the project “Empowering the people of Pelagonija” shared his previous experience as a participant of this project, and confided to the young people that he went from being the worst orator in his school in just two years to a man who holds a STAND-UP – and he speaks publicly on topics important to him and to every young person. Miki, as he is known among the youth, is a true example of how this project contributed to his personal development and greater confidence in public speaking.

Published on March 2023

MOTIVATING START of the project „Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2“

Over 50 young people from all 9 municipalities in the Pelagonian region marked with great enthusiasm the beginning of their two-year association with the expectation that at the end of the project they will be able to influence the municipalities and institutions at the regional level much more successfully and impose their ideas for development in the places where they live.

The “Empowering the people of Pelagonija 2” project will impart knowledge to young people through innovative open-air workshops, public debates without prejudice, simulations of Council sessions, trainings and trainings on personal development topics held by domestic and foreign experts. Most young people will participate for the first time in a project outside the classrooms or lecture halls in regular education because in smaller and rural municipalities there is almost no informal education and activities for the development of young people. In addition, with the project, 14 young people will get a chance for paid internships in the public and business sectors as well as in civic organizations.

Pro Local, the organization that leads the project, with financial support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Pelagonian Municipalities, will also implement 9 infrastructure facilities of a smaller scale at the suggestion of young people from each municipality.

The project is a continuation of last year’s activities, in which also a group of 50 young people underwent an intensive educational process for transformation from passive youth to active agents of change.

The challenges faced by young people from rural areas are different from those of young people in urban areas, and this is precisely why within the framework of the project, a Regional Platform for Youth is being created, in which all 9 municipalities and 9 civil society organizations are members, with a mandate to jointly solve the problems that they will identify the young people.

Pro Local and local partners: Eco Gerila Prespa, European Point of View, Volvox Bitola, Center for Creative Industries NEBO, Youth Council Prilep, Youth Association Pelagonci Etnos, informal groups of citizens Empowering Krushevo and Urban Nest from Krivogashtani will implement this regional project in the next  two years.

Published on January 2023