Youth Policy and Participation:
Tools, Mechanisms and Recommendations Author: Nik Paddison Editor: Dragana Jovanovska Designer: Elena Ceban CIP - Каталогизација во публикација Национална и универзитетска библиотека Св. Климент Охридски, Скопје 316.66-053.5(035) 32:342.571-053.6(035) PADDISON, Nik Youth policy and participation: Tools, mechanisms and recommendations / author Nik Paddison. - Kumanovo : Center for Intercultural Dialogue, 2019. 71 стр. : илустр. ; 21 см ISBN 978-608-65413-5-4 а) Младинска политика - Прирачници б) Политика - Младинско учество -Прирачници COBISS.MK-ID 111802122
The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
This publication was developed as part of the Youth Participation Parkour project, implemented by Center for Intercultural Dialogue and CIVICUS Youth, together with nine other partners from all around the globe, ranging from grassroot to national organizations, national youth councils to international networks. The aim of the publication is to give an overview of youth policy, as well to explore the concept of youth policy and the improvements it makes in youth participation. It gives youth workers and youth organizations the know-how on their participation and role within policy development. The publication also gives specific recommendations and policy proposals, which later can be used by organizations, youth networks and CIVICUS as such. We want to thank everyone who contributed to the project and to the development of this publication, all the participants of Youth Participation Parkour, our partners and all the relevant stakeholders who contributed with their inputs.
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
Table of contents Contents
Introduction to Youth Policy ����������������������������������������������������������������������� 8 The Principles of Youth Policy ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������8 The Purpose of Youth Policy ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 11 Youth Policy Objectives ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 12
Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation................................................14 The Role of Youth Work ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 15 The Role of Youth Work Organisations ���������������������������������������������������������������������� 17 Social Issues ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 19 Politics ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 22 Other Issues ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 24
Policies as Tools for Participation ��������������������������������������������������������������� 28 Mission ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 29 Governing Board and Management ��������������������������������������������������������������������������� 30 Working / Advisory Groups ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 33 Membership ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 36
How to do it ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 39 The Role of Youth Work ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 41 The Role of Youth Work Organisations ����������������������������������������������������������������������� 43 Social Issues - Privileged Youth ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 46
Specific Policy Proposals ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� 49 Youth Policy on the Role of Youth Work .....................................................................49 Youth Policy on Youth Work, Education and Employment ����������������������������������������� 53 Youth Policy and Politics ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 57 Youth Policy on Youth on the Periphery ��������������������������������������������������������������������� 61
About the author ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 63 About the project: Youth Participation Parkour ............................................64 About the partners ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 66
Introduction to Youth Policy
The Principles of Youth Policy
“Government’s commitment and practice towards ensuring good living conditions and opportunities for the young population of a country”1 Finn Yrjar Denstad, ‘Youth Policy Manual’ 2009 There are two fundamentals regarding youth policy, one is that it needs to be about young people, the other is that it needs to involve young people in dialogue in both the creation and implementation phases of it. The Council of Europe explores the concept more deeply in its web page on youth policy.3 It explains that there
need to be standards in place otherwise anything can be counted as youth policy without thought as to whether it would work, be effective or even appropriate. As stated in the Swedish definition above, there needs to be cooperation with other sectors, mainly the local public authorities but can also include schools, medical profession, the media, employers, social services, police, etc.
Youth policy “A strategy implemented by public authorities to provide young people with opportunities and experiences that support their successful integration into society and enable them to be active and responsible members of society and agents of change.”2
8 Introduction to Youth Policy
“At a European level, a region where many international best practices have been developed, most modern youth policy can be traced back to the eight indicators of a national youth policy outlined by Peter Lauritzen, a leading personality in the development of Europe’s youth sector.4 These included the presence of legislation covering young people, financial resources, non-governmental infrastructure, voluntary and professional training structures, independent research, advisory bodies, multi-level communication, and opportunities for innovation and development.”5
Democratic and Participatory Youth policies are legitimised when they go through the democratic process of being accepted by elected officials at municipal, regional or national levels. The inclusion of young people in the process of development must happen and must be clear. Young people must also be included in the implementation and the monitoring of the policy, this includes the delivery of any services and programmes that the policy is asking for.
Cross-sectorial and Transversal Youth policy is not and should not ••• be an island unto itself. Any policy Over the years and though many development needs to recognise reviews, these eight indicators as and include all relevant other secoutlined by Lauritzen have become tors, institutions and or public / prithe following eight principles of vate bodies. guidance: Each youth policy that is developed ÍÍ Democratic and participatory; must also be connected to othÍÍ Cross-sectorial and transversal; er relevant issues, to achieve that ÍÍ Coherent and coordinated; those responsible for the policy deÍÍ Researched and evidence- velopment need to recognise the diversity of young people who such based; a policy is aimed at, taking into acÍÍ Fairly budgeted and fairly ficount their needs and aspirations. nanced; ÍÍ Competent and professional; Coherent and Coordinated A developed youth policy needs to ÍÍ Monitored and evaluated6; Introduction to Youth Policy 9
be realistic, there is no point in cre- policy must be seen for what it is ating a policy for something that and supported with transparency could never happen. even if it criticises the Government. A youth policy needs to link all the relevant aspects together, for example, rights, needs, and wellbeing, etc. this in turn supports the process of linking the various stakeholders.
Competent and Professional Each country has its own acceptance and recognition of youth work and the education of those who work with young people â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and therefore varying levels of competency! However, youth policies must still be developed with the utmost professionalism.
Researched and Evidence-based A youth policy cannot just be created out of someoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s desire or creativity. A youth policy needs to have come from a real identified Where quality standards exist, they need from the youth community should be adopted and adhered to. and be backed up by research. If your own country does not have them the European Union and the Youth policy needs to be a response Council of Europe have published to actual researched needs. standards and these can be adapted to any local, regional or national Fairly Budgeted and Fairly level. Financed Another aspect of a youth policy Monitored and Evaluated being realistic is that it must also Youth policies must be monitored, be financially realistic. There is no most youth policies are not a spepoint creating a wish list policy that cific single event but rather an onrequires a budget that does not ex- going development of adoption ist. of laws, development of practice, changing of attitudes and forms of Finances must be independent, a recognition. Mechanisms need to youth policy that is adopted with be introduced to monitor progresa proviso that the youth sector will sion and introduce changes where support this or that political party necessary. is no longer independent. A youth 10 Introduction to Youth Policy
Youth policies also need to be evaluated, this can include the process of creation as well as implementation. This will help to inform how things can be done better in the future.
wellbeing and their learning, and take into account both their leisure time and employment. Youth policy development needs to be a dynamic process. Youth policy must also be targeted, if it is too general then it becomes ineffective, stakeOpen and Freely Accessible holders need to be identified. Its Decision making processes need to scope also needs to be defined, it be announced and be public with can’t be covering every aspect rethose involved being accountable lated to young people, it needs to and decision makes being open to be specific. questions – especially from young people. An interesting comment from the Council of Europe Youth DepartIn order to facilitate participation, ment is that the state of a counthe who process needs to be trans- try's youth policy is a reflection of parent, it needs to be advertised how the government views young and promoted. Meetings, updates, people. reports, agendas, etc. need to be The Purpose of Youth Policy made available. “The purpose of youth policy is to create conditions for learning, op••• Effective youth policy needs to portunity and experience which stand on firm values and principles enable young people to develop skills and competencsuch as Human Rights, as repre- knowledge, 7 sented in youth work and non-for- es.” mal learning. Youth policy should be about young people being pro- This supports young people and vided opportunities and equity, youth work organisations to beit should be about ensuring their come a more recognised and apparticipation in society and address preciated part of society. Young issues of inclusion, it should sup- people become part of the demoport their autonomy, stand with cratic system they are so often exthem in solidarity, focus on their cluded from or exclude themselves from. Introduction to Youth Policy 11
Youth Policy Objectives
Public youth policies should have the following objectives8: ÍÍ To invest purposefully in young people in a coherent and mutually reinforcing way, wherever possible through an opportunity-focused rather than problem-oriented approach, by elaborating, among other things, standards and instruments of youth policy where necessary; ÍÍ To involve young people both in the strategic formulation of youth policies and in eliciting their views about the operational effectiveness of policy implementation; ÍÍ To create the conditions for 12 Introduction to Youth Policy
learning, opportunity and experience which ensure and enable young people to develop their knowledge, skills and competences to play a full part in both the labour market and in civil society; ÍÍ To establish systems for robust data collections both to demonstrate the effectiveness of youth policies and to reveal the extent to which ‘policy gaps’ exist in relation to effective service delivery to young people from certain social groups, in certain areas or in certain conditions; ÍÍ To display a commitment to reducing such ‘policy gaps’ where they demonstrably exist.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youth policy is cross-sectoral and covers all decisions and measures that affect conditions for young people in a number of different areas, such as employment, housing, education, health, leisure, culture and influence.â&#x20AC;?9 Ministry of Culture, Swedish Government
Chapter 1 references Denstad, Finn Yrjar (2009): Youth Policy Manual: How to develop a national youth strategy. Council of Europe Publishing, available at https://pjp-eu.coe.int/documents/42128013/47261809/YP_Manual_pub.pdf. 2 Recommendation CM/Rec(2015)3 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the access of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods to social rights, available at https:// search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectID=09000016805c46f7. 3 Council of Europe, About youth policy. Available at https://www.coe.int/en/web/youth/ about-youth-policy. 4 Lauritzen, Peter (1993): Eggs in a Pan. Available at https://www.youthpolicy.org/library/documents/eggs-in-a-pan-writings-and-reflections/. 5 Youth policies from around the world: International practices and country examples. Youth Policy Working Paper. Youth Policy Press. March 2016. p2. 6 The Baku Commitment to Youth Policies. Available at https://www.youthpolicy.org/library/ wp-content/uploads/library/Youth_Policy_Working_Paper_01_201603.pdf. 7 Insights into youth policy governance, November 2018, Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth. Available at https://www.coe.int/ en/web/youth/about-youth-policy. 8 Council of Europe Youth policy, available at https://www.coe.int/en/web/youth/council-of-europe-youth-policy. 9 Government Offices of Sweden, Youth policy. Available at https://www.government.se/government-policy/youth-policy/. 1
Introduction to Youth Policy 13
Youth PolIcY Improving Youth Participation
Throughout the project Youth Participation Parkour, the speakers, the young people, the youth workers, and public authority figures, etc. talked and shared about numerous issues related to young people and participation. The issues were continuously linked to policy making, how the issues affected young people from the different communities, countries and cultures, and what is needed to achieve change.
ÍÍ the role of youth work; ÍÍ the role of youth work organisations; ÍÍ a variety of social issues dominated by education and employment; ÍÍ politics: local, regional or national.
Other issues that were discussed but did not feature so prominently included: privileged youth, discrimination, motivation, mobility, volunteering, peripheral youth, Not surprisingly, the number one digital / internet, refugees and imissue talked about and explored migrants, brain drain, and funding. the most was the issue of ‘participation’ itself. However, partici- This chapter will go on to explore pation is a huge topic that covers the main subjects in detail and the many issues within it. The partici- other issues briefly. The material pants of Youth Participation Park- is based on the findings from the our highlighted particularly: project as a whole. 14 Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation
The Role of Youth Work
At the 4th Eastern Partnership Youth Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania, June 2019, the Lithuanian Vice Minister of Social affairs and Labour, Eitvydas Bingelis, stated, “we don’t need youth work in Lithuania, we need quality youth work”. Although youth work has been de-
fined internationally (at least on a European level) there are still many interpretations of it and what it should do. Usually the understanding of it varies from country to country but it can also vary within any given country. In the Council of Europe Recommendation on youth work, it is described as:
Youth work is a broad term covering a wide variety of activities of a social, cultural, educational, environmental and/or political nature by, with and for young people, in groups or individually. Youth work is delivered by paid and volunteer youth workers and is based on non-formal and informal learning processes focused on young people and on voluntary participation. Youth work is quintessentially a social practice, working with young people and the societies in which they live, facilitating young people’s active participation and inclusion in their communities and in decision making.1
Much of what was expressed in the project supports this description. Youth work was described as being a space for young people to engage with one another as well as with issues, topics, and activities. Youth work must be a safe space for young people to develop skills, be
supported in making choices and experience a sense of belonging. Youth work should be supporting young people in constructing their identities and generally being a space for their personal, social and professional development. Introduction to Youth Policy 15
It must be a space where young people are encouraged to respect others, develop tolerance and acceptance, build critical thinking, be pushed out of their comfort zone, be challenged in their values and beliefs, and broaden their horizons. Youth work, wherever it is in the world, should be challenging discrimination and promoting intercultural dialogue through projects and programmes and should be breaking down social and ethnic segregation.
ment stages, and they are simply unique human beings. The role of youth work is to build relationships with young people, relationships that young people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t often experience with other adults in their lives. Not a relationship of equals, the relationship is always going to have some level of hierarchy, but at least it can be reduced to a minimum.
Most other sectors that work with young people have huge case loads and no time, youth work fulfils a Youth work should provide a space role that the other sectors cannot; for young people to independent- social work, schools, police, probaly create their own actions with tion, courts, etc. and in many cases the support of the youth workers. even the parents. Youth work should be where young people have the freedom to devel- Good youth work makes time availop an idea, to facilitate their own able in order to build relationships activities and to be supported in by sitting and listening, by being learning from their mistakes. Youth there in the good times and in the work should also look outwards, hard times and makes use of all the encouraging young people to ad- available tools to get alongside the vocate for change and to become young person. activists. All of the elements described in the Youth participation varies signifi- previous paragraphs are a part of cantly in the levels, meanings and the role of youth work, recognition approaches. A lot also depends on of this work at all levels is vital. Too the young people being worked often the concept of youth work is with, each young person has dif- either seen as the answer to all the ferent life experiences, they are worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s problems regarding young at unique transition and develop- people or the sector that can most 16 Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation
easily be cut when finances get The Role of Youth Work tough. In the early 2010’s youth Organisations unemployment became the biggest issue to be addressed in Europe as a result criteria for the “Youth participation is not funding of mobility youth projects an end in itself but a means was pushed to fulfil this perceived problem – the then EU Youth in of achieving positive changes Action Programme being the main in young people’s lives and route for this. of building a better society.” Stefan Manevski In 2019, when the Council of Europe was facing funding issues, the proposal for cutbacks included a 100% cut of the Youth Department, the only sector in the Council of Europe that was to be cut completely. The role of the organisation and the role of ‘youth work’ have many Youth policy needs to focus on the similarities and a lot of cross-over, role of youth work, how it works it is not entirely possible to sepaand why it works, how it is so effec- rate the two but it is important to tive where other sectors are not, make the distinction. The role of how it creates a space for the per- youth work gives focus to the desonal and social development of velopment of young people, the the individual young person. role of the youth work organisation is about providing the foundation It needs to be seen for its true val- for young people to participate. ue and not as a stop gap for the current biggest issue the politicians A lot of young people have little decide on and it needs to be rec- or no motivation to be a part of ognised for its true value so it is not anything, let alone see participacut to nothing every time there is a tion as an option, partly because need for budget cuts… these are all they don’t believe anything is goareas that need to be better under- ing to change and partly because stood in society and on a political that is how life is as an adolescent. level. However, this assumption could be Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation 17
challenged to a certain extent because of young people like Greta Thunberg. In 2019, she has been a figurehead to thousands of young people of high school age becoming active all over the world in the school strike climate change movement. Despite the popularity of the movement and the numbers of young people involved and motivated to work for change, this is still a small number of young people. One of the issues for young people is that they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see themselves as being represented or taken seriously. Many young people feel a lack of real representation, especially when they are not taken seriously. The role of the youth work organisation is to place itself and therefore the young people into a position of strength in the community, at the door of the institutions and be seen as a key part of civil society. Youth work organisations need to be involved in the democratic process, connecting young people and municipality representatives. Youth work organisations also need to be connecting to one another, a complaint that can be heard in many locations around the world
is that far too often youth work organisations are in competition with one another rather than cooperation. Sometimes this is over who is better or who really represents young people, at other times it is competition over funding. If the youth sector cannot work together and cannot efficiently network, then how can it effectively represent young people and promote their participation? Youth work organisations also need to be taking the lead in the context of participation. Youth work cannot complain about the lack of participation of young people in society if it is not happening in the youth work organisation. Young people can be engaged in a co-management system similar to that the Council of Europe enacts2. This system brings together 30 young people who are representatives of youth work organisations and networks and 30 representatives of Government ministries and bodies responsible for youth issues of the member states of the Council of Europe. At this Joint Council on Youth, all voices are equal regardless of status. It is really important
18 Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation
that young people are involved in Social Issues the decision-making processes of the youth organisation. In communities regardless of location in the world or young peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The reality is not always easy, as economic status, many young peowas shared during the project, for ple face a large number of social example, there can be tensions issues. This can be in the form of between the young people and alcohol and or drugs use, misuse the managers of the organisation. and abuse. It can be health related, Reaching a healthy level of partic- obesity, diabetes, eating disorders, ipation and something as effective etc. In some parts of the world as co-management can be a slow there are high levels of violence process. due to a particular cultural aspect or because of the political situaThe role of the youth work organ- tion. Homelessness is also an issue isation is to bring young people that more and more young people together, to break down any mis- are facing in some countries. trust there may be in the community towards the organisation and Mental health issues like depresyoung people, to engage the young sion, anxiety, pressure from school, people in acts of participation, to family, society in general, social network with other organisations, media, discrimination, economto be critical of municipalities and ic situation, social lives, etc. are Governments when necessary, to something that many many young lobby with and for young people, people experience. A more recent and to gain recognition and finan- phenomenon in some countries is cial support. that young people depend on their parents and other family members Youth policy needs to reflect these for longer, either living at the famielements and work in a supportive ly home or having to take financial role for youth work organisations. support because of economic reasons. The participants of the Youth Participation Parkour project highlighted two specific areas linked Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation 19
to many of the issues young people are facing, these are education and employment. For example, in Ireland, the group shared that obesity among young people is linked to both poor education and unemployment. These elements lead to levels of depression among the young people. Eating fast food and not taking care of dietary needs and exercise becomes a way of getting away from the hard realities of life.
cel in education. Where there are scholarships available, they do not cover all the needs, this has resulted in students demonstrating and taking action in some situations.
Another universal feeling is the desire to see the formal education system reformed, especially in places where non-formal education has had an influence. Many young people want to finish their education but cannot, and in some cultures, certain parts of Roma culEducation ture as an example, education beThe issues young people face re- yond a certain age is not seen as garding education differ mainly necessary. according to country. A couple of things are universal, higher edu- Young people are affected by a cation needs money, if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t range of issues linked to education, have money your levels of educa- youth policy needs to recognise tion suffer. School and higher edu- these issues and the subsequent cation institutions demand a huge issues these lead to. The youth amount of time for studies and cre- sector needs to be lobbying for ate a lot of pressure which creates change in the education system, stress and for many this leads to not to criticise but to engage with symptoms of depression and anx- formal education and look to a fuiety. ture of combining more non-formal approaches and principles. In most countries there is not enough governmental support Employment for the education of the poor and The employment situation of those with fewer opportunities. young people is one of those issues There is some financial aid but not that comes and goes with regards usually enough and often scholar- to the publicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s awareness but is ships are aimed at those who ex- always an issue for young people. 20 Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation
Currently in most countries it is not ment in some countries but it has high on the agenda, however, this its own issues. Many young people does not mean it is not an issue. are suspicious of the concept and there is little or no financial supFor many young people their em- port for start-ups. In most counployment prospects are a demoti- tries there is little or no legislation vating aspect of their lives. Again, regarding what is or what is not an such feelings can lead to young entrepreneurship project and in people getting into other social is- many instances there are taxation sues. For many young people, even issues. Added to this, there are very if they can find work they are often few opportunities for young people low paid or underpaid. For those to learn about entrepreneurship who have little or poor-quality ed- from any source; state, formal education unemployment is the big- ucation institution or youth sector. gest issue or the only employment is technically illegal which means it In virtually all the countries inis underpaid and often the situa- volved in the Youth Participation tion is abusive. Parkour project the road to gaining employment is focussed on excelThe employment system itself is ling in formal education. However, often corrupt, jobs are available the formal education system rarely for those with connections or fam- develops so called soft skills. Someily or money to pay a bribe. Even thing good youth work does develif there is not corruption involved op in young people are soft skills. A many young people leave school or fact highlighted in a 2012 EuropeUniversity with little or no know- an Youth Forum report: ledge about how to navigate the employment system â&#x20AC;&#x201C; let alone the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Out of the top 6 skills and comunemployment system. In many petences most often mentioned as cases, regardless of the number of demanded by employers reported degrees or the quality of the edu- in section 4.1 five are also amongst cation, young people are not rated those developed to a greater exby many businesses as employable. tent through involvement in youth organisations, reflecting a very Entrepreneurship is an area that strong match between both asis developing as a form of employ- pects. Thus, communication skills, Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation 21
organisational/planning skills, decision making skills, team-working skills, confidence/autonomy are also amongst those skills developed to a greater extent through involvement in youth organisations, and are very often demanded by employers.”3 There is a huge amount youth policy can contribute to with regards to the situation of employment and young people. Helping young people understand the system before they enter the job market, promoting and creating legislation for entrepreneurship, and the recognition of more than just the formal education institutions as support towards employment. These are just a few of the needs of young people that can be represented in policy development. Politics
The participants of the Youth Participation Parkour project highlighted that ‘politics’ itself is one of the key issues for young people in their respective societies. There is a universal lack of trust and general feeling that whatever happens nothing will actually change. This is despite the fact that, for example in Canada, young people make
up the single biggest voting block. Many youth work organisations worked actively to promote voting in the 2019 European parliamentary elections – and saw a substantial increase in the number of young voters in many countries. Examples of young people motivating others to engage on the political level can be found easily enough in a Google search but names like Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai and students from the Parkland High School in Florida (scene of a mass shooting in 2018 where 17 teachers and students were murdered) quickly come to mind. The feeling that what participation exists is simply tokenism is very high amongst young people, and most don’t believe they even have access to the possibilities of participation. Young people see a huge gap between them and the officials – local to national levels of government. Even when they perceive the authorities as speaking to them, they are using a language that young people don’t speak. This issue particularly is a two-way street, as much as it is important for the politicians to speak a language young people can understand, it is also important for young people and youth organisations to make
22 Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation
an effort to speak the language of the politicians when they want to communicate with them. For many young people the decisions on the political level are decisions made about them not with them, they feel in general under-represented. Beyond decision making many young people also feel that governing authorities (again from local to national), are not providing services or space for a cultural life for young people to participate in, which limits their expression of creativity.
In the current situation in Cameroon, to publicly voice an opinion that goes against the government risks severe consequences, for young people to take to the streets to protest is illegal.
Youth work organisations need to put a lot of focus on enabling the young people to do something for themselves and their communities. As bad as things can get, and each country represented in the project has its own version of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;badâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, believing and being positive that things can change is a key factor that is needed amongst those who work Another factor in the difficulty with young people. young people experience with engaging on the political level is that Youth organisations can lead the there is a feeling that these people way to change and through their are the elites and nothing can touch work with young people can turn them or influence them. They see this into young people leading the these elites making hate speech, way to change. The organisations they see them in many instances involved in the Youth Participation being corrupt and practicing nepo- Parkour project talked about ideas tism, they see them get away with and approaches for tackling some these things and nothing changes. of the above issues. Creating an Young people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see how they online space to discuss with the can participate because of the cor- minister responsible for youth or ruption, all they see are the diffi- the local member of parliament. culties in behaving democratically and the benefits of cheating. In Young people can be encouraged some countries the law even works to voice their issues through proagainst the young people having a tests (where possible), creating voice or even an opinion. campaigns, online activism, and Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation 23
organising conferences, etc. and with fewer opportunities. Many preferably using a language the learning mobility opportunities politicians will understand. are much more easily available to privileged young people, for exWhen young people are recognised ample because they can afford it. as important actors, colleagues, For many volunteering is a luxustakeholders and partners then ry, the young people who do well they will be actively participating in at school see such opportunities decision-making processes. Youth as a way of building their CVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. policy needs to be working to- Those from backgrounds that can wards ensuring funding is available afford to support them financially, as well as other resources, it needs are able to volunteer while those to be pushing that youth laws are from poorer backgrounds use their introduced that recognise the dif- spare time working to earn a bit of ficulties involved, and that youth money. participation is seen in all spheres as a continuous process and not an Access to information is also a privend goal. ilege, those already involved tend to stay involved because they have Other Issues access to the information. Too often it is the same young people Beyond the big issues explored involved in youth projects all the above a number of other issues time. These are generalisations were also highlighted by the group, and not true for every young peralmost all of them are already rep- son and situation but they do represented in the bigger issues but resent a far too prevalent trend in because of how they were talk- youth work. ed about by the participants they have been given more space to be Youth work organisations need to explored. spend more time reaching out to disengaged students, young peoPrivileged youth ple with fewer opportunities, those Too often youth work and youth without access to information, and organisations target the young those on the periphery of society. people who do well and far too often neglect the young people Discrimination 24 Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation
Too many youth organisations fail to integrate different identity groups into their work, often mirroring the segregated and divided communities around them. However, good example projects do exist where discrimination is openly tackled, where black and white young people are brought together, and young people of different ethnicities and religious backgrounds mix.
an option to work with those who struggle, youth work is seen as a reward for doing well in these instances. For too many young people there is little or no parental or guardian support to engage in youth activities.
Many youth work organisations are tackling discrimination issues such as minority rights, inclusion of LGBTQI+ community, refugees and asylum seekers, etc. They are also fighting the discrimination of society towards young people and the many forms of ageism that exist.
Mobility The information regarding mobility opportunities is not being shared widely enough, this is both a self-criticism of the youth work organisations and a criticism to the authorities who promote and run such mobilities. Many young people have a desire for travel, to broaden their horizons and discover new and different cultures but they need to know about the opportunities they have.
Motivation Although talked about in nearly every section, the participants highlighted motivation as a specific issue in its own right. Some youth work organisations simply donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how to reach disenfranchised young people and those they do reach they struggle to encourage them to participate. When connecting with schools the youth work organisations are generally pointed towards the pupils at the top of the class and rarely given
Another aspect of mobilities and work with young people that is particularly an issue in Europe is that too often, those who do take part and the organisations that support them only focus on the mobility itself. Not enough focus is being given to the dissemination of the experience, the learning and the changes that a young person experiences and most organisations involved do little or nothing in terms of any follow-up activities at the local level.
Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation 25
Volunteering For some young people volunteering is not valued because it does not have any financial benefits and for some it is simply considered to be a waste of time. In Italy the civil service is not popular among many young people because they would rather be involved in something that can give them immediate results. Peripheral youth The gap between rural and urban youth is a big divide. Whilst there are many opportunities for young people in urban areas these opportunities become less and less available in rural areas. The same can be said of young people in the inner-city urban areas where there are high levels of unemployment, poverty, violence, drugs and alcohol, crime statistics, etc.
main field or work is. This provides young people with choices based on real information. Refugees / Immigrants Although a bigger issue in some parts of the world than others, working with refugees and immigrant young people is not well supported and most youth work organisations lack the resources and facilities to meet the needs of most young refugees. Where the work does happen it provides excellent opportunities for connecting local young people with those from other parts of the world and therefore breaking down stereotypes and discrimination.
Brain drain Brain drain was mentioned several times, North Macedonia being probably the biggest example, with 75-80% of young people not seeing themselves staying in the country. Digital / Internet This is not just an issue on the naThe digital deficit of the youth work tional level but many rural regions organisations is slowly reducing but within a country face a crisis of is still there. The digital world is im- youth emigration into the bigger proving access to opportunities for cities. young people. In Canada there is a database of all youth organisations, Funding this means that young people can Too often there is corruption inlook up where a youth work or- volved with funding, either on the ganisation is based and what their level of nepotism and open calls be26 Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation
ing less than open in reality or the funding for young people simply gets diverted into pockets of politicians, businesses and the powerful. Funding for youth work is too
often precarious even without the corruption angle, the youth sector is often picked on when countries, regions or local authorities need to make cuts.
Chapter 2 references Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on youth work. Available at https://rm.coe.int/1680717e78. 2 Council of Europe: Co-management. Available at https://www.coe.int/en/web/youth/co-management. 3 European Youth Forum. Study on the impact of Non-Formal Education in youth organisations on young peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s employability. 2012. P46. 1
Youth Policy Improving Youth Participation 27
Policies as Tools for Participation
This chapter explores how organiPolicies sations are involving young people ÍÍ Does the organisation have any and the policies they are develinternal policy for the employoping in order to create, maintain ment of young people? or develop participation of young ÍÍ Does the organisation have any people within their organisation. internal policy regarding the The section will look at: engagement of young people as volunteers? Mission / Aim ÍÍ How does the organisation’s Working Groups mission, vision or overall aim ÍÍ Does the organisation have refer to young people? working groups that include young people that allow for the Governing Board bigger engagement of youth ÍÍ What are the organisation’s within the organisations strucpolicies regarding youth repretures? sentation at the governing level ÍÍ How are more young people inof the organisation? volved and how are their priorities, needs, etc. heard? Management ÍÍ Is there co-management in Membership of the organisation terms of adults and young peo- ÍÍ Are there membership fees? ple working together as equals? Are these lower/no fees for young people? 28 Policies as Tools for Participation
ÍÍ What are the rights of membership?
mentioned? Of course some of this will depend on the target group of the organisation.
This chapter will explore these elements from the perspective of the CIVICUS, for example, is not a purefollowing four civil society organi- ly youth work oriented organisasations: tion. The Scouts, YEU and CID are youth organisations. The Scouts 1 ÍÍ CIVICUS is an internation- as a World entity has one goveral civil society organisation nance approach, and each nationbased in South Africa; al member has its own - it must be connected and in line with the ÍÍ World Organisation of the values and principles of the moveScout Movement (Scouts)2 ment as a whole, but will also need a world wide youth organi- to take into account national law. sation of 170 national scout YEU as a European network gives a organisations; stronger focus to peace and human rights as a network, but each memÍÍ Youth for Exchange and ber organisation will have its own Understanding (YEU)3 is approach to governance and will a youth European based maybe mention the participation non-governmental organisa- of young people. CID as a grasstion based in Belgium; roots organisation specifically talks about participation. ÍÍ Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID)4 is locally based CIVICUS youth non-governmental organisation from North Vision: ”A worldwide communiMacedonia. ty of informed, inspired, committed citizens engaged in conMission fronting the challenges facing A lot can be understood from an or- humanity” ganisation’s mission, vision or overarching aim. Does it mention young people, how prominently are they
Mission: ”To strengthen citizen action and civil society throughout the world”5 Policies as Tools for Participation 29
Mission: ”The Mission of Scouting is to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.”
Mission: “Youth for Exchange and Understanding works to promote peace, understanding and co-operation between the young people of the world, in a spirit of respect for human rights.”7
Vision: ”By 2023 Scouting will be the world’s leading educational youth movement, enabling 100 million young people to be active citizens creating positive change in their communities and in the world based on shared values.”6
CID Mission: “Our mission is to ensure sustainable community development by creating opportunities for quality engagement of civil society, advancing learning opportunities, and active involvement of young people and other citizens.”7
Governing Board and Management
Some organisations have within their statutes that their governing boards have to include or even be made up of young people, others include young people as a principle. The structure, the length of mandate, roles and other elements of a board are all specific to each organisation. The age of a young person is not defined globally, if it is not stated it is assumed to be someone under the age of 30 to 35 years. In some countries, for legal 30 Policies as Tools for Participation
reasons, in order for a young person to be a part of a board they must be legally an adult, meaning over the age of 18. CIVICUS does not mention specifically that it requires young people to be a part of its board but they are encouraged. The Scouts also do not specify inclusion in the actual board but through the description below it can be seen that young people are specifically included in
the world governance through the World Scout Youth Forum which is a means of involving young people in the decision making and therefore preparing them for participation in the board.
statutes, however all board members are part of a member organisation which are all youth organisations so it is assumed the majority would be young people. CID has a governing board that is made up of young people and which is YEU does not specifically mention supported by an alumni of former an age for board members in its members who are now over 30 years of age.
Scouts “The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) is made up of 170 National Scout Organizations all over the world, divided into six Regions: Africa, Arab, Asia-Pacific, Eurasia, Europe and Interamerica. The World Scout Conference, which takes place every three years, is the governing body of WOSM. It elects a World Scout Committee, which is the executive body of the organisation. The World Scout Bureau is the secretariat and is headed by a Secretary General. The World Scout Conference is the governing body, the ‘general assembly’ of Scouting, and is composed of all the members of the World Organization: the National Scout Organizations (NSOs). An NSO can have a maximum of six delegates at a World Scout Conference. In conjunction to the Conference, a World Scout Youth Forum is held. Through preparing inputs and making recommendations to the World Scout Conference and the World Scout Committee, participants develop the skills necessary to take part in decision-making processes. The Youth Forum is open to members aged 18-26, of which many are also delegates at the World Scout Conference. The World Scout Youth Forum is considered as an interim measure to improve youth involvement in decision-making at world level.”9 Policies as Tools for Participation 31
CIVICUS CIVICUS endeavours to always have youth representation on the Board of Directors. In 2016, the CIVICUS Board of Directors included three youth members.
Statutes Article 12 - Board (Governing body): ”The organisation is managed by a board composed of maximum seven (7) directors, individuals, of which only two of them can have the same nationality. The board has all powers of management and
administration, subject to the powers of the General Assembly.” The General Assembly elects a president, 2 vice-presidents, treasurer and 3 Governing Board members. The Board may also confer under its responsibility; special and specific powers to one or more persons. The Board of Directors has the power to form the Working Groups according to the Strategic Plan priorities and need to broaden and intensify the involvement of Member Organisations with the core work of YEU.10
CID The Management Board is the highest body of the organisation and consists of young people under the age of 30. CID has an advisory body / alumni that is made of former CID members and are over the age of 30. Within this body there are task force groups that deal with matters that the organisation is working on such as, policy recommendations, internal procedures, fundraising etc. Currently CID is adapting this body to be an advisory/monitoring body that will consist of both former members and current volunteers. The new body will have the advantage of being in stronger contact with the reality of young people’s lives. The young people involved will also directly benefit from being engaged in decision making at a higher level and therefore be gaining competences that will help them when attending meetings, events, conferences, and general assemblies, etc. 32 Policies as Tools for Participation
Working / Advisory Groups
This section refers to policies that an organisation has that support the participation of young people. YEU has a strong model in the form of their People for Education and Training (PET), which is designed to support young people through a long term process of being facilitators in youth work to fully experienced and professional trainers. This then is not only about the participation of young people, but about their personal and professional development as well. CID practices a basic but important policy - the more a young person engages the more opportunities open up, not just for taking part but for having an impact and a voice. The size and scope of an organisation have an impact on the ease with which a young person can have an impact on the organisation. CIVICUS is a huge international organisation, yet still ensures the engagement and the voice of the young people. CIVICUS has its youth programme that connects young people and within the youth programme there is the Youth Action Team, made up of young people from around the world who guide the youth programme as a
whole and advise the board. In YEU, the board announces working groups at the beginning of each mandate that are based on the strategic plan which in turn is based on the needs of the member organisations which in turn reflect the needs of the young people they work with. The working groups are made up of mostly young people from the member organisations. CID is adopting the co-management approach with its alumni group, to have experienced adults and young people as equal members.
CIVICUS CIVICUS Youth: â&#x20AC;&#x153;CIVICUS Youth connects young activists and spurs youth capacity, innovation and inclusion in civil society. CIVICUS Youth is a committed and dynamic community of members under 30 years old. It comprises over 1,000 organisational and 1,300 individual CIVICUS members in 149 countries.â&#x20AC;? CIVICUS Youth activities include setting up key strategic inter-genPolicies as Tools for Participation 33
erational discussions and actions, strengthening links and peer learning among young activists, fostering the representation of diverse youth in civil society, and making efforts to elevate young people to positions of influence.
pose of the Youth Action Team is to mainstream youth and youth issues into CIVICUS’ programmes and activities and to champion youth engagement and civic space. Institutionally, the Youth Action Team will interface with CIVICUS Board on specific strategic questions, and be CIVICUS Youth is co-facilitated by 10 able to communicate via the Secreyouth voting members that make tariat on any suggested youth proup the CIVICUS Youth Action Team gramming or proposals that should (YAT). The YAT has the mandate be considered CIVICUS priorities.”13 to provide strategic and informed advice on how youth participation ÍÍ Youth Assemblies: issues can be better mainstreamed Since 2008, CIVICUS has ensured in CIVICUS’ programmes. It also a dedicated space before the Inlooks at how CIVICUS can develop ternational Civil Society Week for new activities aimed specifically at young people to collaborate, prestrengthening youth participation pare their engagement and coorand championing youth engage- dinate approaches to civil society ment in civil society.”11 discussions. ÍÍ Youth Action Team: “Our Youth Action Team was set up in 2016. Following an extensive, open selection process looking for the right blend of expertise in CIVICUS youth membership, we appointed a diverse array of action team members to champion for youth and their role in civil society.”12
ÍÍ Youth Symposium: In 2018, CIVICUS hosted its first youth creative arts symposium. Allowing youth to have their voices heard through art. This took place on the South African and International youth days respectively.
ÍÍ Youth Peer-Exchange: It happens with AGNA representatives on good practices to better “CIVICUS Youth Action Team is an engage young people in civil sociaction body of CIVICUS on youth ety national and regional platforms and youth related issues. The pur- and organisations. 34 Policies as Tools for Participation
ÍÍ Mentorship Programme: During 2017, over 300 CIVICUS members of all ages and from all regions signed up to a six-month pilot mentorship programme which aimed to increase the connections among members of the alliance working in similar areas and enhance skills and knowledge sharing in key areas. Youth panel at Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights: Panel on Widening space by young human rights defenders at the Forum on Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law organized by the OHCHR in November 2016.”14
YEU ÍÍ PET: YEU has a body called ‘People for Education and Training’ (PET), this is not a mandated body but is a policy directive with the purpose of development for both individual young people and the member organisations. Members of PET have the opportunity to work on YEU International educational activities – training courses, youth exchanges, seminars, conventions and similar events. The main role of the PET is to em-
power, motivate and coach YEU members and member organisations, it is a platform of mostly young people from the member organisations who are working with young people in their organisations and who want to develop facilitation and training skills to support their organisation. PET contributes to the capacity building of the network. ÍÍ Working Groups: The Board of Directors has the power to form Working Groups based on themes connected to the Strategic Plan priorities. Working groups are developed in order to broaden and intensify the involvement of Member Organisations with the core work of YEU. “If you are interested in Youth Work/World, want to engage in specific topics on an international level, want to influence what YEU will work on in the next years and if you want to work on edge-cutting topics and develop yourself in a proactive and supporting environment, then this is your chance to become active in YEU!” YEU Governing Board (GB) strongly believes in the importance of your participation for bringing the Policies as Tools for Participation 35
ment that regulates the membership and volunteer engagement of young people in CID. A member can be an adult or a young person, for legal reasons the policy is also adapted so that it can include young people below the age of 18, officially they cannot be members There is no need to be an expert on unless they have their parents cona specific topic, but you should feel sent. able and willing to participate in the WG. We welcome all new members ÍÍ The Alumni: who will help us developing and The alumni group is involved in fulfilling our activities, shaping our the working groups of the Generstrategic plan and adapt it to your al Assembly. The alumni members needs, your priorities, and your ini- are elected as part of the advisory board of the organisation. Furthertiatives.”15 more, this group is involved as an advisory body to the management CID of the organisation - the management team are all young people. The Board is responsible for inviting young people to work on develop- Membership ing certain policy or projects for the organisation. Membership has a way of opening added value to the daily work of YEU and Member Organisations by strengthening bonds between members and creating more ownership and belonging to YEU in order to work together towards our network success and sustainability.
There is an unwritten policy which is that people who are employed or engaged to work on a project should be familiar with the work and values of CID, so most of those who are employed are members or activists that are interested in the work of CID and developing CID as an organisation. Priority is always given to the young activist. There is a volunteer policy docu36 Policies as Tools for Participation
up the doors to all young people or keeping them open for a certain demographic or identity group of young people. For CIVICUS, Scouts and YEU the membership is more about the membership of the member organisations. But even what is said here is important as can be seen below in the case of YEU. CID as a grassroots organisation approaches membership on
the individual young person level. They describe how they support the membership.
YEU “Members of YEU can be international, national or local youth led organisations. Any non-governmental youth organisation endowed with a democratic structure, led by youth for youth, and supporting the mission and objectives stipulated in the YEU Statute, may become a member, provided that it is accepted by the General Assembly.”16
CID In order to be a CID member, it is important to be actively engaged in the organisation’s activities. All members present at the General Assembly should have followed a certain number of activities that are driven towards advocating for the strategic goals of the organisation for that period. CID is currently introducing a policy of a small fee for yearly membership 3 EUR. This can be waived in case a young person cannot afford it. The purpose of having the
fee is to better follow the flow of membership; the actual fee is not important. In the case where members are coming from areas that require public transport for that individual to participate, upon their request CID covers their expenses in order to facilitate and support their participation in activities. Members can elect and be elected in the bodies and structures of the organisation as defined in the statutes. They can contribute to the development of the organisation’s strategic policies and overall mission. They can develop their own activities and can have priority over others in being selected for educational mobilities (or other organisational calls). ÍÍ The Volunteer Club: It is run within the framework of the Youth Center, has its own strategies to involve new members (these are adapted to the needs and priorities as set by the young people). The volunteer club activities are youth initiated and youth led entirely, and are fully supported by the organisation (both in terms of capacity building and resources).
Policies as Tools for Participation 37
Chapter 3 references https://www.civicus.org/index.php. https://www.scout.org/. 3 http://www.yeu-international.org/. 4 http://cid.mk/. 5 https://www.civicus.org/index.php/who-we-are/about-civicus/. 6 https://www.scout.org/vision/. 7 http://www.yeu-international.org/. 8 http://cid.mk/. 9 https://www.scout.org/governance/. 10 http://www.yeu-international.org/en/yeu-international/statute. 11 https://www.civicus.org/index.php/what-we-do/strengthen/youth-working-group. 12 https://www.civicus.org/index.php/who-we-are/accountability. 13 https://www.civicus.org/index.php/what-we-do/strengthen/youth-action-team. 14 https://www.civicus.org/index.php/what-we-do/strengthen/youth-working-group. 15 http://www.yeu-international.org/en/news/call-for-yeu-working-groups-2019. 16 http://www.yeu-international.org/en/members/how-to-became-a-member. 1 2
38 Policies as Tools for Participation
How to do it
This section is for organisations who want to develop youth policy for themselves or at the local level. Some of the elements will repeat in the youth policy proposals for the national and international level in the next chapter, many others will be quite different. This section will explore each of the main issues as highlighted in Chapter 2 and explore some of the elements a youth policy needs. This will be done through using 4 elements as described in the publication ‘Youth Policy: what works, what doesn’t’, where it states that a youth policy should consist of 4 elements:
realigning services based on the needs, aspirations and expectations of youth. or, in a more simple language... ÍÍ what is it about? ÍÍ how should it be achieved? ÍÍ who needs to be involved? ÍÍ monitoring and evaluating of youth participation.
What is it about? This is basically the subject. What is it you want to see changed, what do you want to achieve, the background to this issue, the reason you want this issue tackled, who is affected and how? What difference ÍÍ A vision for determining action; will it make and why? ÍÍ A strategy for attaining and measuring outcomes; How should it be achieved? ÍÍ Mechanisms for intergovern- What do you want this policy to acmental service coordination; tually do? What steps need to be ÍÍ Mechanisms for reviewing and taken to achieve this, how will you How to do it 39
monitor its progress and measure if the steps are being achieved? What is your action plan? Who will be responsible for following up when things don’t happen or reporting back when things do happen? Who needs to be involved? As it says, who needs to be involved, which individuals and or institutions? Which bodies need to be cooperating and working together in order for this policy to be achieved. What do you want them to do, how do they fit into this, what is their role?
Monitoring and evaluating of youth participation It is easy for people to think your policy is a good idea and should be enacted on, it is quite another for them to actually do anything about it. How will you evaluate the success or otherwise of this policy’s development and implementation? How will ensure the young people are not forgotten - even though the policy is about them? What will you do to ensure young people remain a part of the process and have their voice heard? Particularly, how will you include young people with fewer opportunities in this process?
“Effective national youth policies are most often seen when legitimised through the democratically elected Parliament, and with the inclusion and full participation of actors such as youth professionals, civil society, youth organisations and movements as well as young people. Participation in the design but not in the implementation of policies is an often-seen limitation, and a participatory model must address the genuine sharing of power between decision-makers and young people. Crucially, the delivery of youth policies, programmes and services needs to be inclusive of the range of entities that can support young people from the state, private and non-profit sectors.”
40 How to do it
The Role of Youth Work
What is it about? The role of youth work as a subject for youth policy can be linked to two areas, defining it and recognising it. Defining it so that youth work is harmonised – it should not be the same everywhere and by everyone but at least it should adhere to the same principles and values as described in Chapter 1. In some cases it is the youth work practice itself that needs to change in order to become more participation oriented and at the same time youth work needs to be supported by external factors such as municipalities and funders to be more participation oriented.
but the recognition of the role of youth work in the development and transition of young people into adulthood. The aim of this aspect would be to have the municipality recognise youth work in its place next to education, social services, employment offices, and other municipal services, etc. as an equal partner and not a poor cousin. How should it be achieved? A policy oriented to the ‘role of youth work’ needs to promote youth work as a resource and a support for young people in every community. For the defining aspect there needs to be dialogue between youth organisations, dialogue that includes the young people from those organisations. Youth work organisations need to come together with the young people to agree on proposed parameters. They can share their practice, highlight were quality youth work is lacking and learn from each other’s quality practice.
Defining youth work in this context does not restrict the wide variety of approaches and methods that exist but it ensures youth work puts young people and their needs at the centre of the work. Having a harmonised approach (definition) within the sector gives strength to the municipal authorities recognising the role of youth work and deFor recognition there needs to be fining broadly it. dialogue with the other sectors, The recognition aspect here is not again involving or even being led by necessarily a basic recognition of the young people. The youth sector youth work (though this still needs people need to have clear and defito be achieved in many countries) nite benefits of youth work, what
How to do it 41
it is that youth work can offer that these other sectors do not. Not as a form of competition and â&#x20AC;&#x153;we are better than youâ&#x20AC;? approach but as partners and equals. In both instances, a committee of young people could be set up to monitor the progress and to put pressure on the municipality to act if things are not moving. There will also need to be ongoing lobbying and advocating for the policy to be accepted by the relevant powers.
individually or all together. Agreements would need to be reached on how each sector should communicate and work with each other. The limitations and extent to what can be expected and achieved.
Monitoring and evaluating of youth participation Here you can introduce a raft of measures to support the policy process. Is the media being used, how often, what media, is there any feedback from any authorities or members of the public. The Who needs to be involved? same approach can be taken with Defining: A broad spectrum of social media. These are quite pracyouth organisations from across tical approaches that can be meathe area being tackled by the pol- sured and monitored. Direct meeticy, these organisations can be rep- ings with politicians or members of resented by youth workers, man- the Municipal council or the Mayor, agers, researchers, and or young etc. Who is attending, what is their people themselves. Whoever is message, what is their feedback afinvolved needs to have a good un- ter the meetingâ&#x20AC;Ś derstanding of how the organisation sees youth work, how it engag- If this policy is adopted, the impact es with young people and or lack of can be measured. After 2 weeks, 1 month, a year, etc. Recognition: Here there would are there any changes in attitude need to be a representative body of in the other sectors, what levels youth organisations that would in- of cooperation can be recorded? clude young people and represen- How is the cooperation among the tatives of the various institutional local youth work organisations, it bodies that work with young peo- is still competitive or more coopple in the other sectors. Meetings erative? Do the young people feel would need to be arranged, either any difference either with the co42 How to do it
operation with the other sectors or sense a difference in the approach to youth work? The Role of Youth Work Organisations
What is it about? The role of the youth work organisation is a strong subject for youth policy development. There are two key areas such policy could focus on, there is the relations between the youth sector and the wider community and there is support for young people in having a voice, being heard, recognised and taken seriously. In many communities, young people are seen as a nuisance and youth organisations not even acknowledged. Youth policy here could push for greater recognition of the work done by the youth organisations and by the young people that are part of these organisations. Pushing for a stronger cross-sectoral approach by the youth sector and from other sectors would be a powerful step.
ly would be a big step. This would substantially raise the profile of the organisations and the young people. Directly connected to this and at the same time a slightly different tangent would be to work on the recognition of the young people as citizens. Introducing youth policy that requires young people to be present in local government decisions that affect them, having young people representing themselves in local government, community governance, community events, etc. This would raise the profile of young people, and work towards active citizenship amongst the youth community, also tackling some of the issues regarding motivation.
The role of the youth work organisation would need to be explicitly written into this to act as the driver and supporter of young peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s participation and also to ensure that it is not just the well educated and usually motivated young people involved. Part of the strategy would need to be oriented Having a youth policy in the munic- to reaching young people on the ipality that not only acknowledges periphery of society - either geoyouth work as a useful and dynamic graphically or by circumstances. part of society but also requires all How should it be achieved? the other sectors to take it seriousHow to do it 43
This policy approach here is to either raise the profile of the youth sector - meaning the organisations who work with the young people as well as the young people themselves- and to promote the voice of the young people as active citizens in society. A strategy would need to be introduced to raise the profile of the youth sector, this would need to include networking between all local youth organisations to find out who is doing what and how it can be promoted. The promotion strategy would need to encompass social media, mainstream media and the local authorities. Each organisation would need to commit to the strategy. The promotion itself could consist of success stories of actions and or individuals. It could be a platform for young people sharing their stories of their lives, the difficulties they face and how they are overcoming them with support from their youth organisation. A web page could be developed titled â&#x20AC;&#x153;how youth work changed my lifeâ&#x20AC;? and be a series of stories from young people and adults. Each organisation would need to commit to at least one press re44 How to do it
lease each month. A delegation of young people, youth workers and or youth work managers from different organisations would need to have regular meetings with the local governing authorities and with representatives of other sectors that work with young people. This would be to talk about the work being undertaken by the youth work organisations, to share about the impact young people are having, to seek ways for the voice of young people by the young people can be more present. Who needs to be involved? This youth policy approach would need first and foremost, cooperation between the youth organisations operating in the city or region. If there is an umbrella youth organisation they would be a logical choice to take the lead and support the wider process. The local government authorities would need to be engaged as well as other agencies that work with young people. The network of youth organisations need to show a united front, this does not mean they need to work together directly but they should speak as one and share information, issues they are facing and the success stories. They need to be
committed to engaging in greater media coverage and not just with the social media their own young people view. Local television, radio and newspapers all need to be targeted on a regular basis. Also social media needs to be more widely accessed, is there a local community page, this is a good place to gain visibility.
They could monitor the media content, help organise meetings, offer support to any organisation that is struggling. Goals could be set in advance for â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;xâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; number of press/media releases per organisation per month. Monitoring of social media and mainstream media can be done to see how many articles are by the youth organisations or the young people. A survey could be completed prior to the whole youth policy implementation, in the period of a month, how many times were young people mentioned in local media and how often such mentions were positive or negative, and how many times did a youth work organisation get any article published or promoted. After 6 months of implementation a second survey could be conducted to compare with the first.
The youth organisations need to work with the young people from the outset, the young people need to be attending meetings and having a voice from the start. Whether this is with the local government or social services. These meetings serve two purposes, one is to raise the profile and value of youth work with the various authorities and institutions and the second is for these institutions to be hearing the voices of the young people. In time the young people could be having an affect on how social services works and in time young people A time based goal could be set to will be a common sight and voice achieve getting young people invitin council meetings. ed into council meetings to speak about issues that concern them. Monitoring and evaluating of Also to start having regular meetyouth participation ings with other sectors, schools, A core team would need to take social services, higher education, the lead with this or if there is al- etc. a list could be made of which ready an umbrella organisation ones to approach and how often operating they could take the lead. such meetings should take place. How to do it 45
The young people must be involved from the beginning and preferable even leading the process. The network of youth organisations need to work together to ensure even the most marginalised groups of young people and participating. Social Issues - Privileged Youth
What is it about? Too often youth work and youth organisations target the young people who do well in education, who are easily accessible and generally motivated to be involved in something. Many learning mobility opportunities are much more easily available to these young people because they get to hear about such opportunities and they can afford to get involved. The young people who are most engaged with are more likely to take part in volunteering activities and see such opportunities as a way of building their CVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. Young people from these backgrounds are often supported financially from the home, while those from poorer backgrounds use their spare time working to earn a bit of money.
access to the information. Too often it is the same young people involved in youth projects, youth exchanges, youth councils, etc. These are generalisations and not true for every young person and situation but they do represent a far too prevalent trend in youth work. Youth work organisations need to spend more time reaching out to disengaged young people, those with fewer opportunities, those without access to information, those on the periphery of society. Youth work needs to be encouraged and supported in reaching out to hard top reach young people. One of the benefits is that these young people will often bring a very different perspective to dialogue and highlight a lot of needs that would otherwise go unnoticed.
How should it be achieved? Policy development in this area needs to include young people from a broad spectrum of society instead of the narrow group it too often focuses on, and not only youth work, local authorities and bigger institutions when looking for youth representation often target the same academically well off Access to information is also a priv- young people. This in turn adds to ilege, those already involved tend a degree of tokenism in participato stay involved because they have 46 How to do it
tion. Youth organisations need developments in youth worker training, outreach and detached youth work need to be understood, trained for and engaged with. Youth organisations need to be supported in stopping taking the easy route and getting the usual suspects to talk to the media or politician or represent on the youth council. Youth organisations need to work with young people who will be completely out of their depth in such environments and to work with them, stand by them and encourage them to engage in these opportunities and to speak about the young people they represent. Primarily youth organisations need to take the lead in this and to break their own mould and way of doing things. Youth work organisations need to identify the gaps in youth participation and target under-represented groups. Organisations and higher education institutions that train youth workers need to make outreach work and detached youth work a higher priority in their curriculum. Who needs to be involved? This policy development needs to include a cross-section of young
people, and as time goes by it needs to include a broader and broader representation from those groups not being represented. It needs to engage the face to face youth workers and youth work managers. The training organisations and institutions, local municipality staff whose portfolio includes young people. Youth councils, youth work councils and forums. Young people are often the best at reaching out to other young people, this can create a strong network into sections of the community that have not been reached before. Youth workers and youth work managers are the front line and need to be changing their own attitudes and approaches and create long term strategies, in cooperation with the existing young people they work with, to outreach to young people from different groups that are not normally involved in their activities. Training organisations and institutions needs to prioritise outreach approaches in their training courses. Local municipalities need to develop the policies to support youth organisations for engaging with hard to reach young people and to provide funding for this. Youth councils and other representative bodies need to How to do it 47
raise their awareness of member- ple from a variety of backgrounds ship and seek to broaden it beyond and identities. the privileged usual suspects. A core team representatives from Monitoring and evaluating of the above mentioned groups youth participation could monitor the changes in deIt is easy for people to think your mographic in the youth work, the policy is a good idea and should subject changes and development be enacted on, it is quite another in youth worker training, and how for them to actually do anything attitudes are changing in the local about it. How will you evaluate the authority. success or otherwise of this policyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s development and implemen- A survey could be completed pritation? How will ensure the young or to the whole youth policy impeople are not forgotten - even plementation, how many young though the policy is about them? people are taking part in a set What will you do to ensure young of different activities from youth people remain a part of the pro- council to youth exchange to regcess and have their voice heard? ular youth work activity and what Particularly, how will you include backgrounds are they from. After young people with fewer opportu- 6 months of implementation a secnities in this process? ond survey could be conducted to compare with the first. Youth councils and other representative bodies need to take the lead in monitoring the success or otherwise of the inclusion of young peoChapter 4 references Youth policy: What works and what doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t? (2008). Available at https://www.youthpolicy.org/ national/Canada_2008_Youth_Policy_Report.pdf p8. 2 Youth policies from around the world: International practices and country examples. Youth Policy Working Paper. Youth Policy Press. March 2016. p2. 1
48 How to do it
Specific Policy Proposals
Youth Policy on the Role of Youth Work
(in the context of this document a youth worker is a person who works on a face to face basis with young people, this person can be employed or volunteer, they can be qualified in youth work or not) Most other sectors that work with young people have huge caseloads and little time for sitting and listening to young people, youth work fulfils a role that the other sectors cannot; social work, schools, police, probation, courts, etc. and in many cases even the parents. Good youth work makes time available in order to build relationships by sitting and listening, by being
there in the good times and in the hard times and makes use of all the available tools to get alongside the young person. Youth Participation Parkour recognises that youth work is a ‘space’ run for, with and by young people (space can be interpreted as a physical location and or online, and as time). Youth Participation Parkour wants CIVICUS to ensure that the value of youth work is promoted in its true sense, not as a ‘cure all’ remedy when society decides it needs it or as a scapegoat for when budget cuts need to be made, in society in general and on a political level.
Specific Policy Proposals 49
Youth Participation Parkour recommends that CIVICUS, in its wide ranging work and presence in many countries promotes youth work as a space:
ÍÍwhere young people can be supported by youth workers and or their peers, emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally; ÍÍwhere young people and youth workers can build professional relationships, where the youth worker is a safe and supportive adult figure in the life of the young person; ÍÍwhere young people can safely engage in topics and issues that are relevant to them; ÍÍwhere young people can engage in activities either as fun for the sake of fun or with an educational aspect; ÍÍwhere young people can find a sense of belonging, be supported in the development of their identity, and experience personal and social development; ÍÍwhere young people can be supported in the development of soft skills and indirectly for their professional development; ÍÍwhere young people are encouraged to respect others, develop tolerance and acceptance, build critical thinking, be pushed out of their comfort zone, be challenged in their values and beliefs, and broaden their horizons; ÍÍwhere young people are challenged, where discrimination and prejudice are engaged with, where intercultural dialogue is encouraged and where social and ethnic segregation is dismantled; ÍÍwhere young people are supported to independently create their own actions, where they can develop ideas, make mistakes, and are encouraged to advocate for change and to become activists. 50 Specific Policy Proposals
Youth Participation Parkour asks CIVICUS to support the recognition of youth work as a foundation for young people’s participation in society, recognising that:
ÍÍwhile many young people have little or no motivation to be a part of anything, youth work is often an important part of a change in a young person’s life; ÍÍmany young people do not see themselves being represented in any form, a youth work organisation such as CIVICUS that includes young people in its management and decision making structures can showcase itself to young people and other youth work organisations showing youth participation in action; ÍÍyouth work organisations need to lead the way with young people as part of their management and decision making bodies; ÍÍthe co-management systems, similar to that of the Council of Europe enacts, needs to be promoted and implemented within the youth sector and in time into local authorities; ÍÍmany young people do not feel they are taken seriously by politicians and other authority figures, a youth work organisation that lobbies, advocates and represents young people with other young people can show young people they are being taken seriously by the youth sector and changing the opinions of authority figures.
Specific Policy Proposals 51
Youth Participation Parkour wants CIVICUS, through its work in different countries and various governments, to promote the role of the youth work organisation in placing itself and therefore young people, into a position of strength in the community, this is to be achieved by CIVICUS lobbying and supporting local youth organisations to:
ÍÍsupport young people to approach institutions to make their voice heard; ÍÍsupport young people in getting involved in the democratic process, connecting young people and municipality representatives; ÍÍsupport young people in engaging with the community around them and so be seen as a key part of civil society; ÍÍwork to break down any mistrust there may be in the community towards young people and youth work; ÍÍencourage and lead the way for youth work organisations to connect with and network with other youth organisations; ÍÍencourage youth work organisations and young people to be critical of municipalities and Governments when necessary; ÍÍwork with local youth organisations to continuously work towards recognition and gaining financial support for youth work.
52 Specific Policy Proposals
Youth Policy on Youth Work, Education and Employment
(in the context of this document a youth worker is a person who works on a face to face basis with young people, this person can be employed or volunteer, they can be qualified in youth work or not) Education Young people are affected by a range of issues linked to education, Youth Participation Parkour recognises the importance of these issues and the subsequent issues these lead to for young people. Youth Participation Parkour recognises that for many young people higher education is difficult to access or simply unattainable and therefore urges CIVICUS to lobby Governments to support young people with fewer opportunities into higher education. This should be both financially and through campaigns that highlight the benefits of a continued education. Particular focus should be on those from periphery regions and those from inner city environments where there is low quality education - and therefore a low percentage of the youth population dropping out of high school early or not
engaging with higher education opportunities: ÍÍ for young people to be part of the consultation process, where they can highlight their own needs and the specific issues they are facing, so decisions are not based on bureaucracy but on actual needs; ÍÍ financial support can be in the form of scholarships for individual students based on circumstances and needs - such scholarships should also cover all the needs of a young person and not just tuition for example; ÍÍ other financial assistance can come in the form of increased funding for schools to improve infrastructure, quality of building, resources, outdoor recreation areas and sports areas, etc. ÍÍ a greater focus on teacher training to support teachers development to meet the needs of specific environments; rural areas, inner city areas that experience extreme poverty, etc. ÍÍ a greater focus on teacher training to support teachers development to meet the needs of different target groups of young people; different identities, cultures, religions, ethnicSpecific Policy Proposals 53
ities, etc. Youth Participation Parkour sees a need for changes in the education system. In most countries the education system has not changed or has changed very little since its start. Different techniques, approaches and styles are widely available across the world with many good examples of effective practice easily available. Many of them are supportive of both the young person as well as the teacher. Too many young people face a huge amount of stress in their daily lives, much of it linked to gaining grades and the quantity of work required by the education system. This can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. This workload and pressure is equally high on the teachers, many of whom would like to be more person centred and development oriented but due to pressures of the curriculum do not have time to engage in a meaningful way. Youth Participation Parkour recommends for CIVICUS to lobby for: ÍÍ wide ranging consultations with young people on how the education system can be changed, taking into account their evolv54 Specific Policy Proposals
ing needs, where the stress is coming from and how it can be tackled supportively; ÍÍ greater recognition of non-formal education methodologies and approaches which can support the education of young people; ÍÍ reviews of curriculums in schools and higher education institutions, what can be changed, review of work loads, review of examination processes, etc. ÍÍ support for teaching staff to have more flexibility and more time for class preparation; ÍÍ more support for the young people, especially those who experience high levels of stress, or who struggle to keep up, or who are experiencing a lot of issues in their lives outside of the school environment. Youth Participation Parkour sees a role for youth work in supporting the education system. Often youth work and schools / higher education institutions work completely separately. Direct cooperation between youth organisations and the education sector can have a big impact on the lives of young people. In some countries there are school based youth workers. In other ex-
amples the youth organisations work with school drop outs or work on specific projects linked to the educational institution. Teachers are often working under huge amounts of stress and even if they see there is a problem for one of the young people they cannot respond to it appropriately. Youth Participation Parkour, while recognising the differences between the education system and youth work recommends for CIVICUS to support: ÍÍ young people in identifying the types of programmes they need, how youth work and education can work together, etc. ÍÍ the introduction of school and higher education youth workers, for the support of young people and for their personal and social development; ÍÍ a closer cooperation between the education sector and the youth sector, youth workers and teachers having regular meetings, youth work developing projects on the needs of the young people in relation to the education system.
continuous issue for young people. Most young people leave school or higher education with little or no knowledge about how to navigate employment or unemployment system. As a result many are left demotivated about their prospects. Youth Participation Parkour asks CIVICUS to: ÍÍ engage with young people so that they can identify and highlight the issues that they are facing when leaving school or finishing higher education; ÍÍ lobby with young people for changes in the education system according to issues identified by the young people; ÍÍ lobby for the introduction of job seeking as a part of the curricula in high schools and (more) career guidance counselors are employed to support young people in this transition process;
The Youth Participation Parkour project has identified that the education sector and the business sector often have different aims in what they look for in a young person as graduate and potential emEmployment ployee. While the education sector Youth Participation Parkour rec- focuses on qualifications the busiognises that employment and un- ness sectors focus is on soft skills. employment is an ongoing and Youth Participation Parkour proSpecific Policy Proposals 55
poses that CIVICUS takes a leading role in: ÍÍ supporting the business sector to make clear its needs and what makes a young person employable; ÍÍ bringing the business and education sectors together, with young people (and therefore youth work organisations) to develop strategies that meet the needs of the young people as prospective employees; ÍÍ recognising the role of youth work in developing the soft skills that the business sector is looking for.
part of the right political party can find employment. Youth Participation Parkour urges CIVICUS to: ÍÍ encourage youth organisations to cooperate with local employment offices, to create workshops and information days in order for young people to be supported through this transition time; ÍÍ encourage youth organisations to create employment days where young people can share their stories of employment situations, what to be aware of and how to protect yourself; ÍÍ lobby governments to simplify employment systems, to make Youth Participation Parkour has them more youth friendly and identified that many young peoaccessible; ple experience problems in find- ÍÍ encourage youth organisations ing legitimate employment, this along with civil society as a leads many young people - espewhole to tackle nepotism and cially those whose educational excorruption in the employment perience has been poor and who services. have not been engaged in youth work - to seek work that is not legal An aspect of employment that was (paid in cash, not registered, etc.) explored in Youth Participation which is often low paid or under- Parkour is that of entrepreneurpaid. Added to this, such situations ship, this is an ideal way for young can also become abusive with long people to create their own emhours and withholding of pay. An- ployment opportunities. However, other aspect linked to this area is there is a lot of mistrust towards the corruption inside the system, the concept from young people, those who can afford to pay a bribe there is little financial support from or have family connections or are governments on any level and in 56 Specific Policy Proposals
many countries there is little or no legislation for it creating bureaucratic nightmares for the young people who do take this route. Youth Participation Parkour asks that CIVICUS: ÍÍ promotes entrepreneurship through its own youth sector in the many countries it operates in; ÍÍ through its locally based youth work, engages with young people to share their experiences and or fears about entrepreneurship; ÍÍ creates promotional material about entrepreneurship; a how to guide, a safety guide, successful experiences of other young people, etc. to support young people in considering it as an option and to remove many of the suspicions that they have about it; ÍÍ lobbies governments to create better legislation for entrepreneurship and provide financial support.
ranged from corruption, to being ignored, to young people having no trust in the system, to them as young people being used by the politicians. The participants of the Youth Participation Parkour project urge the United Nations, European Union and the Council of Europe to put greater effort into supporting young people in the political context.
All the young people and their organisations from Youth Participation Parkour highlighted that politics is one of the biggest issues they as young people face. One of the main issues is that a large proportion of young people have a huge lack of trust in the political system - regardless of the country. A large proportion of young people believe that whatever happens nothing will actually change. Youth Participation Parkour calls on these international institutions to: ÍÍ encourage governments and Youth Policy and Politics those in power to engage with the young people of their counThe Youth Participation Parkour tries, to listen to the doubts, participants from just about every fears and lack of trust and to country represented spoke about seek to respond to these issues how ‘politics’ itself is one of the key with actual changes to the sysissues for young people. The issues tem; Specific Policy Proposals 57
ÍÍ encourage governments to be ÍÍ support the youth sector in responsible, to act with integripromoting critical thinking and ty and to fulfill election promcritical analysis among young ises. At the same time to reject people as they seek to particinegative populism that merely pate in the political life of their reinforces this lack of trust in society. any political system. Youth Participation Parkour was Youth Participation Parkour recog- informed by the participants that nises that young people are a huge they as young people and the voting block and that in the 2019 young people from their commuEuropean Parliamentary elections nities see existing participation on many youth organisations were in- the political and civic level as simstrumental in substantially increas- ply tokenism. Most young people ing the number of young voters. represented do not believe they Much of this was down to young even have access to the possibilipeople themselves encouraging ties of participation on such a level. other young people to vote and explaining the process for those who Young people also see that decidid not know. Youth Participation sions on the political level are deParkour calls on the international cisions made about them not with institutions to: them. They feel under-representÍÍ create more campaigns like ed, most people in politics are subthe one that accompanied the stantially older and when there are 2019 European parliamentary young ones they are often from the elections that provided advice elite side of society. Youth Particiand support for young people pation Parkour seeks for the interto participate on a political lev- national institutions to: el; ÍÍ propose that all issues disÍÍ provide support to and encourcussed and laws proposed that age the youth sector to inform affect young people include young people about their civyoung people in the discusic duty, to provide clear and sions and that young people understandable information are included equally in the deabout all the political options, cisions; and voting procedures, etc. ÍÍ support the youth sector in 58 Specific Policy Proposals
promoting the concept of real where questions can be posed democratic participation with and later responded to. Youth the young people, supplying organisations can be connectfunding for specific educationed to such online spaces and al programmes on the internacreate “Meet your MP” worktional / European level; shops; ÍÍ lobby governments to promote ÍÍ encourage the youth sector to democratic youth participation be more proactive in seeking at the local government level; ways of communicating with ÍÍ support the development of local councillors and members youth councils - creating a foof parliament, especially during cus on young people with fewelection periods; er opportunities. ÍÍ support the development of youth programmes that inform Young people see a huge gap beyoung people about civil sotween them and the officials from ciety and the language that is local government and other instituused in local and national govtions. Even when politicians make ernance; an effort to engage with young ÍÍ tackle governments that suppeople, they are using a language press free speech and peaceful that young people do not speak, demonstrations; the other side of this is that young ÍÍ encourage governments to people and youth work organisasupport youth activism - even tions don’t speak the language of when it criticises them. the politicians. In some countries young people are targeted to be The participants of Youth Participakept quiet and in too many coun- tion Parkour expressed strong feeltries the law works against them ings that they see and experience having a voice. Youth Participation too many of the political establishParkour urges the international in- ment engaged in hate speech, enstitutions to: gaged in corruption, and acting as ÍÍ encourage political parties, if nothing can touch them. Young particularly those in gover- people don’t see any changes hapnance, to create online spaces pening to the system - except for where young people can meet negative changes with more poptheir MP or local political body, ulist parties gaining power and Specific Policy Proposals 59
more divisive rhetoric being spoken. Young people feel defeated in the face of such opposition and for many they see the benefits of cheating and acting in a like manner. However, there are young voices out there making a difference on the international stage. Youth Participation Parkour urges the international institutions to: ÍÍ lobby governments to act responsibly and to take action against the governments that do not and that actively work against the values and principles of human rights; ÍÍ support the youth sector by funding educational programmes tackling democratic processes and human rights; ÍÍ support young people such a Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai as role models for other young people to stand up and make their voices heard; ÍÍ support the youth sector by funding educational programmes tackling populism, critical thinking, and media awareness, etc. ÍÍ support the youth sector in leading the way for democratic values and principles. Youth Participation Parkour was informed by young people (regard60 Specific Policy Proposals
less of country) that they do not feel governing authorities are providing services or space for their cultural life. It also felt that youth work organisations need to put more focus on enabling the young people to do something for themselves and their communities. International institutions need to: ÍÍ demand that all levels of Government give time to communicate directly with and listen to the needs of young people; ÍÍ support the recognition of youth work in countries where it is not recognised and encourage a stronger recognition of youth work where it does exist; ÍÍ introduce international programmes that engage young people in forming strategies for their own communities; ÍÍ lobby for the introduction of youth laws that recognise the difficulties and issues that young people face; ÍÍ promote youth participation in political processes - primarily by taking a leading role and implementing such processes as Co-Management; ÍÍ promote youth participation in all spheres as a continuous process and not an end goal.
Youth Policy on Youth on the Periphery
The gap between rural and urban youth is a big divide. Whilst there are many opportunities for young people in urban areas these opportunities become less and less available in rural areas. The same can be said of young people in the inner-city urban areas where there are high levels of unemployment, poverty, violence, drugs and alcohol, crime statistics, etc. For those in the geographic periphery, the issues are often related to transport, accessibility, less youth work organisations operating, lack of recognition in rural development policies, and a lack of recognition of their existence. This can be because they live on an island, or an extreme distance from the nearest city, and it can be because they live in a rural area. The participants of the Youth Participation Parkour project urge the United Nations, European Union and the Council of Europe to put greater effort into supporting young people living in the geographical peripheries to: ÍÍ explore strategies for enabling youth engagement and out-
reach to those that are not online and are living in remote areas where they do not have access to youth work opportunities; ÍÍ create global but also local/national/regional outreach strategies for communicating with young people involved in youth work to be the disseminators and multipliers of the information to the isolated young people; ÍÍ recognise that for international mobilities, the financial costs of travel are often far higher than for the main cities and centralised locations, these higher costs are not taken into account which means young people from the peripheries cannot afford to take part in such activities; ÍÍ lobby governments to support and develop youth work in rural and remote areas; ÍÍ create regional task forces to work directly with young people from remote regions, to better understand their needs and develop with the young people ways of meeting those needs; ÍÍ highlight at international level the plight and needs of young people in remote areas; Specific Policy Proposals 61
ÍÍ create special educational programmes designed for young people and youth workers from remote regions and locations to develop youth work programmes for these young people; For young people on the periphery of society the issues are less to do with geography and more to do with attitude. Often mainstream young people are catered for and find it easy to access youth provision, many other young people are excluded from society. This can be because of their lifestyle; drugs, violence, gangs, alcohol, etc. It can be because of their identity; religion, sexuality, gender, etc. It can be because of geography; living in a neglected neighbourhood, being too poor to live somewhere else, segregation, etc.
62 Specific Policy Proposals
The participants of the Youth Participation Parkour project urge the United Nations, European Union and the Council of Europe to put greater effort into supporting young people from the peripheries of mainstream society and to: ÍÍ develop international youth work programmes that reach out to include isolated and hard to reach young people; ÍÍ support the training of youth workers to specialise in working with isolated and specific needs groups; ÍÍ encourage governments to develop youth work programmes in inner city areas and the poorest communities; ÍÍ promote detached youth work (youth workers working in the streets directly with the young people on their territory), the training of youth workers and the methodology in general.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nik has a background as a youth worker from the UK. Over the last 15 years he has worked as a trainer of youth workers, leaders, volunteers and activists in the European youth field. He has been a part of youth work and non-formal education / learning recognition process on regional and European level. Nik works with local and international organisations. Areas of work include: youth worker curriculum development; assessment processes; training of youth workers; training trainers/facilitators; conflict transformation; communication skills; Human Rights; Roma young people; refugees; combating hate speech, etc. Over the years he has developed numerous activities, theories and approaches related to the youth field in the context of nonâ&#x20AC;?for-
His work can be found in various European youth publications. Nik is a freelance trainer / writer / consultant / copy editor for youth NGOs, European networks, and the European Union and the Council of Europe youth departments.
About the author 63
About the project: Youth Participation Parkour
The project Youth Participation Parkour is a partnership between 11 partners from different sides of the globe, both member and non-member organisations of CIVICUS. The project idea was developed by Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID), CIVICUS Youth and CIVICUS Youth Action Team, based on the identified needs connected to youth participation on global level. The main aim of the project is to develop the advocacy capacities of youth organisations and young people towards civil society in general (but also towards CIVICUS as a network), and to develop the competences of staff and volunteers of civil society organisations to become champions of youth participation. As specific outcomes of Youth Participation Parkour, two publications
64 About the project
were developed focusing on mechanisms for youth participation in the civil society, as well recommendations for improving youth participation in civil society, and an online space for sharing of the mapped (but also new) good practices was created. The project was intended as a longterm process providing youth engagement and sharing activities, including a youth exchange and 2 seminars, as well a practice space with local, national and global initiatives.
The activities were as follows: ÍÍ Mapping seminar hosted by CIVICUS in Johannesburg, 09 – 16 May 2018. The seminar brought together project participants, CIVICUS Youth and AGNA members, where they all discussed and mapped different ideas and approaches for ensuring youth participation in civil society organisations, starting from a grassroot NGO, to a national and international network level. ÍÍ Youth exchange ‘Youth participation parkour’ hosted by the National Youth Council of Fiji, in cooperation with the Pacific Youth Council. The youth exchange brought together 24 participants from Belgium, The Fiji Islands and North Macedonia, in Yavullo Village and Suva in the period 12 – 22 July 2018. During the exchange the young people spoke about what motivates them to participate and what are the obstacles in each of the realities for their participation. There was also a space for dialogue on the topic with many other relevant stakeholders from Fiji and the Pacific, sharing the practices, challenges and opportunities for increasing youth participation.
ÍÍ Practice phase Each of the 11 partners involved in the project had the chance to use the gathered knowledge and mapped practices for youth participation, and test them out as part of the Practice phase within their organisation, network or context. They each chose one example of the ones showcased, adapted it and tried it out with youth and civil society organisations within their realities. Through this practice phase good examples were exchanged, and youth participation was increased in the respective organisations, countries and contexts. ÍÍ Final outcome seminar hosted by Center for Intercultural Dialogue, between 10 – 16 February 2019 in North Macedonia. As the last activity of the project there was a Final outcome seminar hosted by Center for Intercultural Dialogue, between 10 – 16 February 2019 in North Macedonia. The seminar served as a space for sharing of the practice phase activities, as well as an Idea Lab aiming to conclude functional ideas for meaningful youth participation in the sector, both in terms of planning, implementation, evaluation and decision-making. During this phase, recommendations for youth participation were presented and finalized.
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ABOUT THE Partners
Center for Intercultural Dialogue, North Macedonia Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) is a civil society organization working to promote intercultural acceptance and active citizenship through capacity building processes, education and youth work. The organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s activity focuses on many aspects which are of interest for young people: from provision of services and information, to research and support for policy-making and networking. CID is working to create diverse responsible and cooperative communities where citizens are actively contributing to the social development and integration. Our mission is to ensure sustainable community development by creating opportunities for quality engagement of civil society, advancing learning opportunities, and active involvement of young people and other citizens. More about CID can be found on: www.cid.mk
CIVICUS, South Africa CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicat-
66 About the partners
ed to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. CIVICUS aims to create a worldwide community of informed, inspired, committed citizens engaged in confronting the challenges facing humanity. CIVICUS was established in 1993 and since 2002 has been proudly headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with additional hubs across the globe. They are a membership alliance with more than 4,000 members in more than 175 countries. Their membership ranges from non-governmental organisations, activists, civil society coalitions and networks, protest and social movements, voluntary bodies, campaigning organisations, charities, faith-based groups, trade unions and philanthropic foundations. It is diverse, spanning a wide range of issues, sizes and organisation types. More about CIVICUS can be found on: www.civicus.org
Youth for Exchange and Understanding, Belgium Youth for Exchange and Understanding (YEU) is an international Non-Governmental Youth Organization established in 1986. It is a member of the European Youth Forum (YFJ) in Brussels and considered as a European level non-governmental youth organization by the European Union and the Council of Europe. YEUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mission is to promote peace and to increase tolerance and awareness between different countries, cultures and traditions, and to promote a greater level of comprehension. The mission of the organization is achieved through the development of youth exchanges, seminars, conventions, meetings, study visits and training courses based on the principles of non-formal education, experiential learning and self-directed learning. In addition to that, YEU constantly analyses the needs of young people all over Europe and aims to address them through their projects and programmes. YEU also pays a lot of attention in creating youth policies, participating in important youth events on European level and producing educative manuals. More about YEU can be found on: www.yeu-international.org
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National Youth Council of Fiji, Fiji The National Youth Council of Fiji (NYCF) initially began operating in the late 1960s when it was known as the Fiji National Youth Council (FNYC). It got registered in 1969 and is now the umbrella body for the two operational arms: the Provincial Youth Forum of Fiji Islands (PYFFI) and the Youth Assembly of Fiji Islands (YAFI). They were the highest consultative forum for youth issue with a direct link to the Minister and Permanent Secretary for Youth and Sports, that now form the National Youth Council of Fiji. The vision of NYCF is to create a valued, capable and knowledgeable youth contributing to a prosperous and sustainable Fiji, and they work in the areas of education and capacity building, youth voice and decision making, employment & livelihood, equitable service delivery, youth sustaining culture and heritage, environment sustainability, youth health and many more.
Project 2020 / Hiraeth, United Kingdom Project 2020 is a not for profit project organisation which develops innovative community projects to inspire long-term positive change. Our work focuses on; children, young people and families, community development and research. It is a non-governmental, organisation with an aim to inspire, support and empower young people. This is achieved through promoting, education and training in healthier lifestyles and greater social cohesion. It delivers programmes in Youth Development, Youth Leadership, Citizenship and Youth Education. It also promotes learning through diversionary and informal activities such as sport, media and creative or performing arts. It is a strictly voluntary organisation and voluntarism is something that it promotes amongst the young people it works with. It strongly supports community cohesion and engages positively with young people from different socio-economic and ethnic minority backgrounds to bring communities together through the medium of the said activities. More about Hiraeth can be found on: www.hiraethcic.org
68 About the partners
Fondazione Istituto Morcelliano, Italy Foundation Istituto Morcelliano was reestablished in 2001, though its origins are to be established in 1817. The activities of the Foundation are carried out in Oglio Nord-Western Commune of Province of Brescia, composed by 11 Commune, and a total of 94.441 inhabitants. As a non-profit organisation, their mission is to educate, help and support individuals, groups and the whole society, promoting initiatives in sector of training/development of minors and youngsters with a particular attention to individuals with social and material problems. One particular aim of ‘’Istituto Morcelliano’’ is to organize events and researches, trainings and meetings, become a trustable center for youth. Their aim is to improve the daily life of any youngster from the community involving them into social, economic and cultural life of Europe. More about Foundation Istituto Morcelliano can be found on: www.fondazioneistitutomorcelliano.it
Development Perspectives, Ireland Development Perspectives is a development education NGO which works both locally and globally to achieve target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals through Global Citizenship Education themes including critical thinking, problem solving, systems thinking and active citizenship. Development Perspectives explores theories, practices and challenges involved in utilizing transformative pedagogy. DP is a member of Concord, Hub 4 (Global Citizenship Education Network), GLEN (Global Learning Education Network). Development Perspectives has partners in many countries. Development Perspectives has formed strong relationships with many international organizations and hosted workshops for multiple organizations including UNESCO, Civicus, The Melton Foundation, GLEN and many others. More about DP can be found on: www.developmentperspectives.ie
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Young diplomats of Canada (Les jeunes diplomates du Canada), Canada Young Diplomats of Canada (YDC) is a national, non-partisan, youth-led non-profit organization that aims to break down barriers of decision-making at the highest levels of global diplomacy. Working locally and globally, YDC aims to develop the diplomatic leadership and international advocacy experience of Young Canadians, through hands-on training programs and key partnerships which give delegates the opportunity to attend and engage in high-level political and multilateral summits. Through these efforts, YDC hopes to mainstream youth engagement in big policy discussion within spaces such as the G20 and G7 meetings. YDC is helping to bring together a generation of young policy thinkers and decision-makers, and building Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next generation of global leaders, through which we aim to become the official national voice of Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s future foreign policy. More about YDC can be found on: www.youngdiplomats.ca
World Vision for Education and Development, Cameroon World Vision for Education and Development (WVED) Cameroon is nonprofit organisation created in 2012. The mission is to improve on learning, educational standards, enrichment opportunities for youth and women, strengthen leadership development (youth focus) by supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices that lead to improvement of quality of life for all people through a participatory approach. The overall objective of WVED is to promote educational, agricultural, health and sanitation, sports and developmental activities in the community and with a worldwide touch, through awareness raising/sensitization, training/ capacity building on entrepreneurial skills, pedagogy and leadership, counselling, coaching, mentorship, participatory impact, monitoring and evaluation (M&E). More about WVED can be found on: www.wvedcameroon.org
70 About the partners
React, Estonia NGO React is a non-profit youth union founded in 2012 and based in Estonia with the aim to promote and facilitate non-formal collective learning opportunities among young people on local and international level. By creating opportunities, and being an information point for young people to broaden their worldview, and cultural and social cognition, they work so that opportunities are available to all young people in Estonia. The mission of NGO React is to create a bridge between various self-development opportunities and young people. The main targets of React are to foster collective activities of young people and create advantageous environment for that. They support and encourage young people to take leadership and initiative both on local and international level and through this to become an active European citizen. NGO React locally acts at South-East Estonia and is targeting young people until the age of 30 years. Special attention is paid to young people located in peripheral areas. More about React can be found on: www.reactngo.wordpress.com
Bureau Oeoquminique d’Appui au Developpement, DR Congo Bureau Oecuménique d’Appui au Développement (BOAD) is a non-governmental development organisation, set up in October 1997 at the instigation of key actors in North Kivu and as a partner of ACT-Netherlands, in order to contribute to reestablishing the credibility of local organisations in DRC. It aims to strengthen the institutional capacities of 12 local partner organisations. Since January 2000 BOAD has been a registered Congolese NGO under DRC legislation. More about BOAD can be found on: www.boad.e-monsite.com
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