Project of the Year 2023

The Rural Youth Europe Awards are all about showcasing the very best of our member organisations, giving them a platform to gain visibility for their project at a European level. This year we had entries from all corners of Europe, showcasing the very best of rural youth.

This year we had three categories, inspirational club of the year, inspirational person of the year and project of the year. Find out more below about the winners and runners up for the Project of the Year Award.

There has been a public vote on our Facebook page for the top three projects nominated for this year’s award. Hundreds of people voted and thousands of people have been made aware of these brilliant projects that showcase the very best of our youth organisations.

The public vote counted for 20% of the marks, with the other 80% determined by our judges.

Winner: Give Way to Youth – Latvian 4H

This project includes 11 interconnected activities with the aim to improve youth opportunities to influence decision-making processes in rural areas of Latvia, so youth could feel more confident about their ability to initiate changes and feel that they belong to Latvia.

Rita Lineja from Latvian 4H says: “The goal of the project was to strengthen the culture of democracy in Latvia by integrating the experience of Norway, developing the ability of young people to influence decisions in their region and the ability of municipalities to involve young people in civic participation.

“The idea of the project came from the cooperation of the whole team of the organization together with its most active young people. Being a young person who just starts to know all the norms and regulations, who is not yet familiar with the decision- making process in his country, it is easy to get confused on this roadmap “How can I be an active inhabitant of my district”. Research that has been made shows that there are opportunities to get involved, but youngsters do not use them. Why? That’s what we found out during project and are trying to change in Latvia.”

Runner up: “Use instead of waste – Together we can achieve a lot!” from Landjugend Österreich (Austria)

In this project, 5 central sub-projects were implemented, with which they wanted to raise awareness of the ‘throwaway society’. For example, unused fruit trees were made available to the public, so that the fruit does not become rotten on the ground.

Fabian Butzenlechner from Rural Youth District Mank says: “The project has an enormous benefit for society and nature. Through the sale of our fruit tree map, we were able to plant over 80 fruit trees in our region with a value of €3450.

“Through our certificates, we were able to sustainably convert 62 farms to better food handling and register them with Too Good to Go. Too Good to Go is an app that connects customers with restaurants and stores that have unsold, surplus food and sells it at a discounted price to self- pickup customers. Our fruit tree project was picked up by the state of Lower Austria and a statewide campaign was launched in cooperation with us.”

Runner up:Queeres Landjugendmagazin” from Bund der Deutschen Landjugend(Germany)

The queer special edition of their rural youth magazine ‘LaMa’ has been the first bigger project of the NLJ’s Working Group “Diversity” and a very important step for their organisation to take a stand for LGBTQIA+ rights.

Katrin Möller and Jana Messerschmidt from Niedersächsische Landjugend say: Hate speech on social media and hate crimes against members of the LGBTQIA+ community have dramatically increased worldwide for the last couple of years. The NLJ takes its social responsibility as a part of the German rural youth work very seriously and wanted to take action. With the goal of educating volunteers and employees about queer identities, issues and needs – especially in rural areas – we started brainstorming, interviewing and collecting material in 2021.

“It has always been important to us to address multiple needs: On the one hand, we provide educational material for youth who are not identifying as members of the queer community themselves – in a well-founded and yet playful way. On the other hand, we support queer youth with local places to go and connect, with lists of great books, podcasts, movies and shows.”

During the Closing Ceremony of this year’s European Rally, we also announced the winners of the Inspiring Club of the Year and Inspiring Person of the Year award. Find out more about them in our latest blog posts and upcoming podcast episodes!