“Youth Pool” is a global youth initiative launched by Inter Alia’s informal network “A Partnership for Youth”.
It is a tool for youth empowerment and promotion of hybrid youth work, both in digital and physical form, without geographic and socioeconomic limitations.
Participation in social life is a fundamental right of the young people. This is the opportunity to express opinion and influence the course of developments that affect them and it applies to all areas of their life, from the family, to school, local communities, public services, and wider government policy.
Participation is not only about voting once in a 4-5 years period. It is about contributing to the processes that affect our lives, starting with maintaining of the local playground for example and including schooling decisions, adoption or divorce proceedings, planning and implementation of youth policies and programmes, consultation and evaluation of policies of overall concern (environment, international relations, economy, etc.).
Spaces for Participation relate to the opportunities to exercise this right. This means facilitated access, engagement, motivation, acquisition and development of skills and competencies to negotiate and advocate for existing needs.
Young people are often represented by somebody else, with no or very limited space for self-expression and involvement. Youth policies at various levels are designed without consultation with the persons targeted, resulting in complete disconnection from the social, political, educational and other processes within their community.
The EU Youth Strategy (2019-2027) “fosters youth participation in democratic life, supports social and civic engagement and aims to ensure that all young people have the necessary resources to take part in society”. It focuses on three core areas of action:
- Engage – meaningful civic, economic, social, cultural and political participation of young people.
- Connect – connections, relations and exchange of experience for solidarity and the future development of the European Union.
- Empower – encouraging young people to take charge of their own lives and address diverse challenges.
The EU Youth Strategy and related activities contribute to achieving the 11 European Youth Goals that resulted from the 2017-2018 EU Youth Dialogue process. These goals represent multifaceted challenges affecting young people’s lives and aim at mobilizing cross-sectoral areas to address them.
In line with the European Union’s developments in the field of youth and our vision for a meaningful Youth Participation, we have designed a new approach for youth empowerment and promotion of hybrid youth work (digital and physical) without geographic and socioeconomic limitations, Inter Alia’s Youth Pool.
Youth Pool foresees a series of non-formal (online) activities addressed to and organised by the young people, for the young people. Youth Pool invites young people from diverse backgrounds to come together to share, develop and practice their own ideas for change.
Youth Pool directly responds to the Youth Goal #9 on Space and participation for all. The goal identifies that “young people are underrepresented in decision-making processes which affect them although their engagement is crucial to democracy. They need access to spaces in their communities to support their personal, cultural and political development.” Such spaces are youth-friendly mechanisms and structures, physical or virtual that support participation and autonomy for the young people in all areas of society.
Youth Pool will create a knowledge base for potential bilateral or multilateral projects and activities in the field of youth. Organisations and institutions may engage with each other and collaborate with regard to national needs and future strategies. Mutual learning and intercultural understanding between the Youth Pool participants and the organisations and institutions involved will be achieved.
Youth Pool is a process built on three basic principles:
- Relationships & Connections
Youth Pool gives time for relationships to grow among the participants that share common values, hopes, and visions, while at the same time are driven by common needs. It explores the differences between the young people considering these an asset to each separate relationship, while providing a safe space to debate, discuss and build on these differences.
- Hybridity of the methods
Youth Pool tries to utilise the possibilities that stem from digital connectivity to raise action for physical spaces. Youth Pool activities are both digital and physical in a way that young people who are interested and motivated will have the chance to participate and have their say on issues that matter to them.
- Promoting the bottom-up approach to participation
Youth Pool is a new proposal for youth participation. It is a response to the need to connect, share, build common visions and act.
We foresee 4 virtual meetings (each one building on the achievements of the previous) including non-formal activities, team work, expert consultation, and filed work:
- Meeting No. 1 (March 2021): Team building and aims
Participants meet for the first time and get to know each other. They learn how to do research for local youth and need analysis.
- Meeting No. 2 (April 2021) – Needs
Participants present the outcomes of their research in the form of a need analysis. An interest mapping takes place and the whole Youth Pool is split into working groups based on their interests. Participants will also learn how to search for best practices and solutions to the identified challenges.
- Meeting No. 3 (May 2021) – Solutions
Participants present outcomes of their search. They acquire advocacy skills and learn to draft proposals for local interventions.
- Meeting No. 4 (October 2021) – Evaluation
Participants present the interventions implemented and evaluate the process of team work and the outcomes of the interventions.
In a period of 8 months, the Youth Pool participants explore the challenges in their community, meet people from all over the world, share knowledge and experiences, collaborate with the local community and implement local interventions to advocate for youth rights and change. Young people are going to connect with other young people, engage with their local communities and get empowered to envision and work for a desired change.
See our streamlined presentation here.
Registration and further information
Υoung persons, organisations or institutions interested to participate in this initiative are invited to register until 28 February 2021. For more information, contact Amerissa Giannouli at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Through activities of informal and non-formal (online) peer-to-peer education, aiming to advocate, to participate, to build teams,to empower, to organise, the ultimate goal is to empower people for positive change.