Rural Youth Europe is a European Non-Governmental Organisation for rural youth. We were established in 1957 and function as an umbrella organisation working as an intermediary between national organisations, youth organisations and public institutions on a European level. Rural Youth Europe is a member-led organisation: democratically constituted and led by young people for young people. We have 23 member organisations in 20 nations and reach around 500,000 young people all across Europe. Our mission is to promote and activate young people in the countryside by providing events, international training and human rights education. We aim to remove barriers to participation for those from rural areas and ensure that rural voices have a say in their own future. Food security and fair food systems are extremely important issues for us as the majority of food production comes from rural areas and it is essential that not just rural areas but the rural youth have a say in how these systems are formed.
One of the most interesting and important aspects of COCOREADO is its focus on youth. Too often the youth are ignored when making decisions about the future and their voices are often unrepresented in halls of power across the world. Youth participation is often simply a token gesture with young people presented but given no input and having no say. It is hard to be motivated to find the solutions to the difficult issues facing our future without being granted some input on those issues and having your voice represented. As the next generation of food producers and consumers it is essential that young people form the foundation of any plans for the future and that this foundation must be built with their input and their consent, not just to provide the best results but also to help produce a generation of young people engaged and able to take responsibility for this future.
COCOREADO promises to recruit youth ambassadors and take them on board as full partners in the project. The ambassadors will be able to fully co-create the project outcomes alongside the consortium granting them an equal say in the food systems of the future, giving young people a way to decide their own needs and how best to work towards them. Granting young people access to this kind of full partnership and allowing them the opportunity to take responsibility for their own future through action is one of the main reasons we are interested in the project and our main involvement is to ensure they are given the full range of responsibility and input promised. COCOREADO will help promote the interests of the youth and to provide the opportunity to create their own future and Rural Youth Europe strongly supports this goal.
John Gillon – Rural Youth Europe