Change management in youth NGOs
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: Feb 29, 2016
Low youth participation has recently become more and more evident. Usually, as an indicator of the low youth participation, the young voters’ turnout is used (which indeed becomes worse every year). However, low youth participation does not appear only when voting. Low youth participation becomes part of all aspects of the democratic life and especially in the everyday life of the youth organizations. The youth’s response to calls for volunteers or participants is sometimes relatively low, while there is an increase in the last minute cancellations before the events. Still, the most striking phenomenon is the lack of participation in decision making positions in the youth organizations. The last elections of European Youth Forum hardly reached 13 candidates for 12 positions and also the last YEU elections faced a similar situation. Moreover, some of the YEU member organizations face difficulties to change generations in their board because there is no interest from the younger generation to be involved. It seems that the interest of young people to take the lead or the responsibility has dropped significantly down and this embeds apparently a lot of threats.
Politicians, parliamentarians, stakeholders and youth workers continuously talk about the need to foster youth participation and a lot of seminars, training courses and meetings are initiated on the topic. The topic of youth participation appears in all youth related programs and the efforts to strengthen it, as well as the budget allocated for them are quite big. Yet, the low youth participation is more perceived as a problem we need to fix in order to bring things back to the previous stage they were, rather than a changed or new situation that we need to manage. There is a certain hesitation towards taking into account the existing situation, moving forward with it, taking risks and eventually changing and evolving. Young people today do not have the same needs and expectations as the young people 10 or 5 or even 2 years ago. There is a need to see the data we have now and envision the situation we want to achieve. And while we are doing it, we need to ensure that this transition, this change from current stage to future stage is well managed.
Change management is a very important concept in the private and sometimes the governmental sector. But through this Training Course we demonstrated that youth organizations should also be capable to efficiently and effectively manage the change. Change management is the approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations to a desired future state (http://goo.gl/LbD4zl) and this is what we achieved through the TC. We built the capacities of youth workers and representatives of youth organizations to deal with low youth participation, develop a vision about it and manage the transitions towards it successfully.
The project “Change management in NGOs” was indeed designed for youth workers and NGOs representatives who are in leading/decision making positions in YEU Member Organizations and who have the vision to revive their organization and the active youth participation. The objectives of the project were the following:
- To explore the existing situation regarding low youth participation
- To understand the concept of change management and its elements as a way to foster youth participation
- To develop skills related to change management
- To cultivate a positive attitude and motivation to put the gained knowledge and skills in practice
- To develop a publication with tips and techniques related to change management
- To develop organizational action plans
The project involved only one activity, a training course that took place in Dilbeek (Belgium) from November 30th to December 7th (travel days included). It involved 27 youth workers/youth leaders/active young people from Belgium, Lithuania, FYROM/Macedonia, Romania, Montenegro, Ukraine, Italy, Egypt, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Morocco and Netherlands.
The training course was based on the principles of experiential learning, self-directed learning and non-formal education therefore a wide arsenal of tools such as role-plays, brainstorming, group work, simulations, theoretical inputs, discussion methods etc were offered and used.
The project also led to various tangible and intangible results. Intangible results refer to the knowledge and experience gained by the participants, their increased skills and their enhanced professionalism. The tangible results, refer to a publication and a video that were developed and produced by participants themselves. Tangible results are also articles and newsletters about the project and its outcomes that were published on YEU website. We believe that these results of the project will have (and partially already had) a positive impact on the participating organizations, on the young people, on other youth organizations which received the developed publication as well as youth work at the local and EU level
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