Time to Act!
Start date: May 1, 2015,
End date: Jul 31, 2015
Statistics and research say that youth is very passive when it comes to participation in politics/civic life. This results in weakening democratic values and principles, which in itself is an alarming trend. The organisations behind this project believe that attention to this issue has to be increased. One of the ways to tackle this passiveness is an international dialogue between young people and policy and decision makers. This dialogue should take place at all stages, including the follow-up.
To promote initiatives and policy reform that aim to produce incentives for the youth to be more active, a project “Time to Act!” will be hosted in Kaunas, Lithuania (May 4 - 10, 2015). This meeting between youth and policy makers is being implemented by organisations from countries where general youth's interest in politics is low (Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Spain, and Italy). There will be 30 youth participants (6 per country | aged 18-30 | with priority given to those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds) and a number of decision makers/experts active in the relevant fields (at least 1 / country). The project will take place during the European Youth Week 2015 and, hence, aligns its goals with the ones of the Week.
The main objective of the project is to enhance youth participation in politics and beyond across Europe. In order to reach this, the following goals were set: (1a) to explore principles and forms of youth participation and identify various factors resulting in a lack of it; (1b) find out what triggers temporal hikes in youth participation; 2) to exchange good examples of practices tackling the issue; (3) to plan follow-up initiatives/strategies/reforms regarding youth participation and propose these to the decision-makers across participating countries. The project also aims to help the participants grow professionally and increase their chances in future careers.
A range of non-formal learning methods and meetings with relevant decision makers will be carried out. Involvement, creativity and initiative of all the participants will be encouraged throughout the activities, which will include: 1) interactive workshops, 2) discussions in a non-formal environment, 3) round-table meetings with policy makers, 4) country presentations on the topic, 5) visit to the local municipality, 6) application of art as a mean of non-formal education, 7) analysing relevant video material, 9) specialized group exercises, games, quizzes 10) feedbacks, reflections, evaluations and much more. In order to facilitate integration of the participants: 11) cultural evenings, 12) ice-breaking and socialising activities will also be organised. Since the project goal is to reach the public and to disseminate the results effectively: 13) video testimonials, 14) follow-up meetings and 17) an e-booklet will be prepared by all the participants. All of this will ensure that the project would induce a positive effect on the participants, organisations and the youth policy makers in regional, national and international levels.
It is desired that the participants will not only improve a number of skills and competences, but will also get a chance to extend their social networks by meeting decision makers and professionals with significant expertise in the field. This all would prepare them to get involved in and contribute to the related private and public endeavours. The participating organisations would increase their knowledge on the matter and learn new non-formal education methods, all of which could then be used in their own future initiatives. At the same time, the project would help them grow internationally, increase public awareness of their actions and enhance their capacities of reaching the objectives of youth development.
To sum up, active involvement of youth is an effective strategy for achieving better outcomes in policy making process. Moreover, increased participation boosts credibility to elected institutions, such as European Parliament. The planned dialogue between youth and policy makers would seek the above. As this goal corresponds with general youth development, which is the theme of European Youth Week 2015, the project would be part of it.
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