Following the first ten online sessions of the RAISE Youth Romanian Digital Camp (July – November 2020), the young participating Romanian NEETs showed interest in getting involved with the RAISE Youth project activities and even in inviting other NEET friends to the next digital online sessions.
We acknowledge that the pandemic has caused important changes at all levels in the project implementation at Romanian level, the biggest challenge consisted in assisting our young NEETs from the target group to learn, in a very short time, how to use audio and video communication tools via the internet, in order to complement the face to face learning activities with intense online training sessions focused on DIGITAL, sustainable agriculture and rural eco-tourism skills. The positive was that the current context has pushed them to become more skilful and open to change.
The major achievement so far and challenge at the same time, resided in persuading the project NEETs to participate to the online sessions, stay logged and focused until the end of the training programs, get their attention to ask questions, to discuss, to interact, in the conditions in which they wanted the meetings to take place live. Those whom participated to the online courses partially had the necessary knowledge to work easily with online applications, but despite this reality we were able to identify and support good practices amongst our target group – one of the participants sells products on Facebook to his friends, and another young NEET confessed that he did not run out of money during the COVID-19 lock-down, having enough online orders on Facebook for the portraits he makes.
During the digital sessions, participants showed great interest in learning how to build an online promotion campaign that could increase the comercial value of sustainable agricultural products such as organic bee products – at the time of the session, one respective participant confessed that a lot of her goods are sold to the public, directly from her car’s trunk. She left the session determined to persuade her family to start planning an online campaign dedicated to the promotion of the healthy products produced within the beehives they own. Our online digital stories continue twice per month, involving over 500 NEETs coming from the South-East and North-East regions of Romania.