About the project
In times when young people in Slovakia and Lithuania feel that politicians are not listening to them, they are excluded from decisions on matters that concern them, and the traditional ways of participation are not effective, it’s vital to work on innovative ways to engage them in direct and structured dialogue with politicians and other decision makers. The young citizens also need access to information and insights into matters that concern them and to be connected with other citizens and receive their feedback in order to effectively promote and advocate for a positive change. The project Youth Inspires Politics is addressing all these needs and provides new solutions to them. By combining live meetings and online tools – YouthMetre data dashboard and web platform eSPOONe – it aims at helping young citizens to get their voice heard, find the best solution and use background story for propomotion, and ultimately make a change (Storypooling method).
The European Dialogue believes that it’s necessary to learn from the best practices and implement them in other contexts. Therefore it established a long-term partnership with IfeQ from Germany, an organisation supervising Children and Youth Parliament Charlottenburg – Wilmersdorf (CYP). Members of the CYP also decided that it’s time to expand their structured dialogue activities and eSPOONe (European storypool network for education) tools. They based their decision on results of mostly non-formal activities since the beginning of the EU Youth Strategy in 2010 and have been part of each of its working cycles. ED also partnered with NISI (Media4Change programme) to empower youth from Lithuania as well. All partner organisations want to ultimately enhance structured dialogue in their countries and be an inspiration to others.
You can read about history of cooperation between European Dialogue and Children and Youth Parliament Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in this document.
Information about the project is also available on the Erasmus+ Dissemination Platform.
- Empower young people to take active part in shaping policies;
- Involve decision makers and connect them with youth, primarily at local levels;
- Connect youth from different countries: Added value of this project is connection of young people from three countries – Slovakia, Lithuania, and Germany;
- Create new platforms for structured dialogue – e.g. new Children and Youth Parliaments at local levels with potential to expand, and increased usage of free e-participation tools – YouthMetre and eSPOONe not limited to members of new CYPs.
All project activities were based on non-formal learning methods. Hence they consisted of seminars, workshops, hands-on learning in groups (development of ideas/proposals), presentations, discussions, intercultural exchange, mutual learning, and exchange of experiences. Informal learning during study visits, and get-to-know each other and leisure time activities was also important.
Method of Storypooling was used to develop and collect ideas and proposals. It is defined as a collected group of ideas, background story, and feedback related to one topic but based on real experiences and live situations of young people). Storypooling lives from self-determined policy development by the young people since its creation in 2011 by CYP Charlottenburg – Wilmersdorf. It’s quite a unique method and framework, combining several methods.
First international activity was a kick-off meeting in Trnava in July 2019. It brought together 5 participants from each partner country to get to know each other, work of partners related to youth participation, topic of youth advocacy, YouthMetre materials and tools, and relevant good practices from Slovakia (participatory budget in the Trnava Region, support of youth in the city of Trnava). They explored details of eSPOONe and Storypooling method, met representatives of the Trnava Region and city of Trnava. The participants were using the YouthMetre dashboard and map and working on review of the EU youth indicators. They also worked on the design of their own advocacy campaign to put their theoretical knowledge in practice.
Second international activity was a meeting in Brussels in October 2019. It brought together 7 participants from each partner country to get introduced into diplomacy and protocol, learn more about the history of European integration, and meet with decision makers and high-officials from public institutions: representatives of the UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (with focus on advocacy activities of UNEP), Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the European Union (focus was on policies and strategies against disinformation), and European Commission. They also met with representatives of a private organisation – Fondation Euractiv – to learn about EU advocacy from their perspective. The participants also worked on elaboration of their ideas.
Third activity took place in Berlin in February 2020. It again brought together 7 participants from each partner country. They gained more insights into the CYP, met with decision makers and high-officials: representatives of Bundestag, Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin, and the city district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. Hence they had an opportunity to discuss with decision-makers from three geographical levels: local, regional, and federal. During another meeting and workshop they discussed with representatives of Deutscher Bundesjugendring – specifically members of their jump-Team which focuses on structured dialogue. The participants worked on ideas related to the European Youth Goal number 6: Moving Rural Youth Forward. They also explored details of eSPOONe and Storypooling method during the meeting with Christian Meysing at the OSZ Handel I. Last but not least, participants attended the meeting with mayors of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Polish town of Meseritz and learnt about their cross-border collaboration. Part of the meeting was also the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the MERLIN Box, which has been created by youth from Meseritz.
Slovak participants cooperated on an online event organised in the scope of Youth Inspires Politics. It was only for young people from Slovakia, but members of CYP Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf participated to share the best practices.
The last event was eventually replaced by a series of online discussions on December 15 and 16, 2021. The participants met with representatives of good practices – Youth parliament of the city of Bardejov, CYP, and Active Youth Lithuania – and young politicians – members of the National Council of the Slovak Republic and the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. They also discussed ideas related to three topics: recommendations on what could make the work of youth parliaments or councils better, ideas on other initiatives (that would help engage youth in decision making), and other ideas (e.g. what they would like to change in their community). They also had an opportunity to share their ideas after the event and get consultancy from the European Dialogue.
Final ideas and recommendations created by participants
In this document, there is one page for each of the three areas – recommendations related to youth parliaments/councils, ideas on other initiatives for youth participation, and any other relevant ideas
Presentations by trainers and organisers
Advocacy and campaigning by Martin Maška
Basics of diplomacy and protocol by Martin Maška
Training resources developed during the YouthMetre project were used during Youth Inspires Politics events as well.
Impressions from the Youth Inspires Politics events
You can check the pictures on our social media, or in the gallery.
European Dialogue / Európsky Dialóg, o.z.
Participants of the Youth Inspires Politics events can receive LinkedIn certificate. If you are one of them, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org for details that are needed to complete the certificate.