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Empowering youth from deprived urban areas for political / democratic participation in drafting career guidance policies.
Start date: Aug 3, 2015, End date: Mar 2, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

When formulating policies affecting the lives of young people, many political actors, including institutions, decision and policy makers, do not consider young people nor youth organisations as relevant contributors, thus denying their ability to have an impact. Traditional means of political participation often lack transparency and the accountability of decision makers to young people. Such means also lack the flexibility and modern tools and techniques to meet the needs of young people. In order to respond to the needs of young people, and to guarantee that their rights are recognised and enforced, youth active and meaningful participation in their communities and in democratic practices and processes is of crucial importance. Therefore, our partnership of youth organisations from the UK, Lithuania, Portugal, Belarus, Moldova, and Azerbaijan undertook this seven month long project aiming at Dialogue between young people and policy makers. Due to the success of the previous project carried out by partner youth organisations form the UK, Lithuania and Moldova and aiming at mutual learning and knowledge building while drafting career guidance policies we continued our work involving a new target group – youth living in deprived urban areas, and new EU and Neighbouring EU partners. The project was linked to the following objectives and principles of Structured Dialogue 4th cycle: “youth empowerment for political participation” – aiming at youth empowerment for political participation in drafting career guidance policies (that affect young people's daily lives in many ways) and reinforcing structured dialogue between young people and policy makers in the field of youth employment. Each partner was represented by an equal number of participants in every stage/phase of the project with a total number of 72 people involved in the Transnational Youth Seminar. Experts and decision-makers in the field of Social inclusion and Career guidance youth policy were also directly involved in the Transnational Youth Seminar. Participating youth organisations represented interests of young people coming from deprived urban areas in the work of the European guidance system and activation of all career guidance stakeholders working in this field for wider youth inclusion involvement and consultations. Career guidance is regarded as a continuous empowerment process helping young people to become more conscious of their abilities, interests and possibilities, thus enabling youth to make decisions regarding education and employment on a qualified basis. Mutual learning and knowledge building between young people and youth policy makers on all vital aspects of youth empowerment in policies around the Career guidance system enabled young participants coming from deprived urban areas to become the forefront of decision making, maintain the legitimacy of the processes and act as trained multipliers in local networks mainstreaming the issues involved. Partner youth organisations working on the development of youth policies researched, exchanged practices, underwent a Transnational Youth Seminar and worked together on encouraging youth from deprived urban areas empowerment and inclusion in the work of the European Guidance system to produce an action plan for ensuring understanding of the important processes that go in hand by wider networks of youth organisations and governmental structures and policy makers. The working methods combined a structured exchange of experiences, lectures and inputs from experts, youth policy makers, resource people, work in workshop groups, simulation exercises and experiential activities. Follow up planning allowed for the emergence of new youth representation initiatives in the European Guidance offers and widely reflected the needs of the target groups. The project also created a facilitated forum for discussions in which participants exchanged experiences of empowerment practices and gained specific information and training on the topic of the project backed up with links to resources. Experts and youth policy makers improved their understanding of young people’s opinions and needs. Young participants coming from deprived urban areas now have better understanding of the dynamics of the decision-making processes having consequences on their life, they have the capacity to influence, through commonly agreed recommendations, decisions to be taken in the future.

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