Meaningful 5000 characters.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Sometimes writing has requirements that you can’t avoid. Requirements that might let you reconsider if your writing capacity is on par to the task.

In the following article I will talk about an experience I had with requirements in order to get approved status on projects. The article is divided in some context and the fundamentals on the writing.

A big part of the organizations involved with youth in Europe are connected with the youth programs provided by the European institutions.

The European institutions launched a considerable number of programs to make youth realize the importance of these institutions into the inclusion of every citizen in Europe and improve the active participation of the younger generations.

Programs as InterRail (free for young people at the age of 18 years old) , Erasmus + internships, exchanges and training courses provide multiple ways to get lifetime experiences or career improvements with their future.

Other then internal initiatives provided by EU the majority is created in a partnership between more then one organization in collaboration and the formal institutions.

The subjects are linked with concerns or ideas that surge between the organization and the communities where the organization acts directly. Usually a problem that exists in one city, exists in others and so it multiple organizations use this projects to discuss different ways to solve this issues.

Sending projects that involve funds of EU have a certain deadline(s) to be delivered and documents to be filled in order to try be approved. These documents are the same for all the organizations applied being different from the type of project to be create.

For example if you want to create a project with young people you have to fill a specific form and other complementary documentation to be pending approval. Frequently associations are non profit and depend on having a certain amount of projects in order to survive.

Also the competing side. Unfortunately the European institutions don’t have an unlimited amount of money to help all the organizations projects. And even if it existed it would be hard to support all the projects without some requirements or limitations to make sure the quality of the projects would be on an acceptable level.

Because of this, the number of projects approved is on a lower number than number of programs applied by all the organizations from all European countries.

It is critical then that answering the questions should have a clear message, concrete and direct on the key points that make it a fundamental project to be develop by the association with the help of European funds.

After all this projects are for the future of Europe, the youth.

Now let’s go with some detail onto an specific question of the form and my concerns over it to get to the point.

The form is simple and direct with its questions that need to be answered. Fundamentally there are questions based on a yes or no, selection of answers. When reaching the description questions there is a fundamental requirement to be filled:

The answers have a 5000 character limit.

Five thousand characters is usually between five hundred to a thousand words. Based on this metric and depending on the question this can prove an adversity.

The first question of the form is as follows:

Why do you want to carry out this project? What are the objectives of your project? How does it link to the objectives of the Erasmus+ programme and this specific key action? What are the issues and needs that you are seeking to address through this project?

Personally at first hand, this question is insanely difficult to answer in such a short number of characters. There is so much to answer such us:

  • Main reason to develop it.
  • What is the problem or situation to be address.
  • Objectives of the project.
  • How this problem is main concerns of the European Union + key action.
  • and so on ..

Writing the project where is put some care into it becomes personal since we share our vision, ideas and sentiment on the theme. On a personal level writing becomes more intense and louder with more words and values to be reflects on the scenario being set it. What if that is not the correct scenario?

Our vision is usually different from what really happens. We tend to filter characteristics of the scenario and give the most relevance by describing it in more detail. The community becomes shadowed not corresponding to its reality.

See what I did here.

I could just said that the reality was based on facts and not our vision. But in fact I extended the info passed.

The question above is of greater importance to be written only on five thousand characters maximum. The way found to overcome this barrier was to focus on the most important parts of the question and based on it connect the dots to all the other questions that needed to be also answered.

Focus can also be:

How should I pass a message in order to be clear when someone reads it.

An example:

Let’s look on empowering youth. There are thoughts that can be used to address this subject. You can use the lack of opportunities that exist or the disinterest that greater part of younger generations towards politics and active citizenship. Then there is the importance of being actively involved with the community by everyone with special attention to the new generations ( that will bring new ideas into the table ), or maybe alert for the benefits that it might bring to future career on being active.

How is this linked to the general perspective of the Europe. Should I provide real examples or talk in an overall vision. Is the objective gives tools to youth to be more capable or to fight the problems.

The more I write the more ideas I see. So I focus on a single problem from the ones enumerated and make a cause -> consequence -> action to mitigate.

If you have a different opinion from me or have something else to add feel free to comment, I will gladly discuss different perspectives.

Have a nice week,
Paulo

Software Programmer, Youth Facilitator, Idea Maker

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