Youth in Action mobilising the potential of young EuropeansYouth Initiatives: encouraging active participation Y oung people are naturally inventive, creative, and enterprising. Youth Initiatives build on this sense of adventure, and encourage young people to become involved in all aspects of their daily lives, at local level and also in the wider world. The aim is to provide them with a platform for developing their own suggestions, NPMNMQGLEȩRFCGPȩMULȩGKNPMTCKCLRQȩ?LBȩȏ ȩLBGLEȩ their own solutions. This gives them the opportunity to develop their experience with responsibility, autonomy and involvement, in the context of a common interest. In a world of constant change, Youth Initiatives help young people to try out their own ideas, to devise their own projects and to carry them out in their own way and so to develop entrepreneurial skills. There are organisations that work directly with government departments to identify unemployed young people and to meet them to discuss the possibility for applying for grants for Youth Initiatives. ͷ Youth in Action Programme
ͷȧ There is a prominent European added value to young people have the opportunity to see RFCQCȩNPMHCARQȩ?JRFMSEFȩRFCWȩ?PCȩMȓ ȩCLȩA?PPGCBȩ more clearly what European citizenship is, and out at national level, because the themes and to become active in civic, social and political issues they deal with are closely related to EU ȏȩCJBQ
ȩ2FGQȩD?ARQFCCRȩNPCQCLRQȩQMKCȩCV?KNJCQȩ priorities — and particularly to inclusiveness. of the thousands of projects completed so And through transnational Youth Initiatives, far. ͬ Some of the many Youth Initiative projects completed so far 1 1. Getting young people into problem to be solved. They wanted to change this decision-making processes and present a view of young people as a group in The essence of society capable of solving problems. The purpose the project was ‘Voices of Youth’ aims to provide a stronger was not to campaign against negative media TMGACȩDMPȩWMSRFȩGLȩRFCȩKCBG?
ȩRȩGQȩ?ȩEPMSNȩMDȩȏȩTCȩ reporting about young people, or the Mosquito the exploration device, but to stimulate debate and discussion. The WMSLEȩNCMNJCȩDPMKȩBGȎ ȩCPCLRȩN?PRQȩMDȩPCJ?LBȩ?LBȩof young people’s BGȎȩCPCLRȩ@?AIEPMSLBQȩUFMȩUCPCȩAMLACPLCBȩ?RȩRFCȩ essence of the project was the exploration of young lack of opportunity for youth input in the media, people’s right to be active citizens in their society. right to be active particularly on youth issues. They believe that citizens in their the negative depiction of young people in the The group was supported by an experienced coach media has undesirable consequences for how during the seven-month project in 2010, which society involved training in facilitation and media skills, a young people are treated. As a catalyst for their project, they chose electronic security systems series of four public meetings with young people with an anti-youth bias — notably the ‘Mosquito’ across Ireland, compilation and promotion of alarm, which emits an ultrasonic sound similar RFCȩȏȩLBGLEQȩMDȩRFCȩKCCRGLEQȩRFPMSEFȩTGBCMȩ?LBȩ to the buzz of a mosquito, and is marketed as a other social media, and a national seminar to safety and security tool for preventing anti-social BGQQCKGL?RCȩRFCȩICWȩȏ ȩLBGLEQȩ?LBȩJC?PLGLE
ȩ behaviour such as loitering. Project funded by the Youth in Action national agency in Ireland The group believes that the Mosquito device exists because young people are seen negatively, as a National Youth Initiative carried out by: ͬ Work Ireland, Dublin.
Y O U T H I N I T I A T I V E S 32. ‘Heart, keep beating’ in the 1980s became the European country with The result most HIV-infected children (a total of nearlyThe ‘Heart, keep beating’ project created a 10 000, victims of transfusions of unscreened was greaterBMASKCLR?PWȩȏ ȩJKȩDMJJMUGLEȩRUMȩWMSLEȩ0MK?LG?LQȩ blood or inoculation with reused syringes) but awarenessinfected with HIV, and gave a voice to a group also how these young adults are now strugglingof young at-risk people by letting them tell their with the realities of independent life, and facing of a piece ofstories and express their hopes and dreams for the BGQAPGKGL?RGMLȩ?LBȩBGȑ ȩȩASJRGCQȩGLȩȏȩLBGLEȩHM@Qȩ?LBȩ contemporaryfuture. homes. European2FCȩȏȩJKȩU?QȩK?BCȩGLȩ0MK?LG?ȩRFCȩCBGRGLEȩRMMIȩ The team set up an informal group, ‘Kultureuropa’. historyplace in Denmark and Portugal, and distribution They say that facing the problems of people ofwas organised in all three countries. The 12-month their own age infected with HIV has given them aproject in 2009/10 had 13 participants from new understanding of what is ‘normal’, and they"CLK?PIȩ.MPRSE?Jȩ?LBȩ0MK?LG?
ȩ2FCȩN?PRGAGN?LRQȩ LMUȩU?LRȩRMȩȏ ȩEFRȩBGQAPGKGL?RGMLȩQRGEK?RGQ?RGMLȩ?LBȩLMRȩMLJWȩJC?PLRȩȏȩJKȩ?LBȩAMKKSLGA?RGMLȩRCAFLGOSCQȩ exclusion of young HIV victims. Strengthened by thebut also gained new insights into cultural diversity. project, ‘Kultureuropa’ is now a small independentFriendships were formed and connections made ȏȩJKȩNPMBSARGMLȩSLGRȩCLE?ECBȩGLȩQMAG?Jȩȏ ȩJKK?IGLE
between northern, southern and eastern Europe. Project funded by2FCȩȏ ȩJKȩF?Qȩ@CCLȩQFMULȩ?RȩQAFMMJQȩ?LBȩASJRSP?Jȩ the Youth in Action national agency in Denmarkinstitutions across Europe. The concrete result was Transnational Youth Initiative carried out by: ͬ Kulturopa’s Danish Working Group (DWG), Denmark;greater awareness of a piece of contemporary ͬ Kulturopa’s Portuguese Working Group (PWG), Portugal;#SPMNC?LȩFGQRMPWȩGRȩRMJBȩRFCȩQRMPWȩMDȩFMUȩ0MK?LG?ȩ ͬȩ 0MK?LG?LȩLDMPK?Jȩ%PMSNȩ 0% ȩ0MK?LG?
2 T E ST I MO N I A L S ‘ IRPGCBRMĺLBKMPC became curious, and information not only about HIV, but also about what we can do to change people’s minds. ’ ‘ Thisheart to has helped my project grow. Particularly meeting ‘ Working on dealing documentaries the young HIV-infected people that we have with real problems in involved in the project Europe that need more — by being able to get public attention is a just a glimpse of these good way to help Europe people’s reality, it is an become a better place. ’ eye-opener. ’ ‘ My contact withmy eyes this project opened to HIV and to the people ‘ A painful topic and an GKNMPR?LRĺ ’ JK
that live with the disease ʌʙʓʐʕʎʚʒʌ1ʐʋʌʕʋʌ day by day, and the !ʖʗʌʕʏʈʎʌʕȎ
ȎȌȌȕ exclusion that is created around the disease. ’
4 Y O U T H I N A C T I O N This initiative 3. Making music across borders In Sweden, they planned, rehearsed and recorded the CD and organised two concerts. They then gave these organised two concerts in Italy. The project was A Swedish–Italian music project brought together young people 18 musicians and other creative young individuals DSJJWȩBMASKCLRCBȩUGRFȩNFMRMQȩKSQGAȩȏ ȩJCQȩ?LBȩ from both countries to produce a compilation CD, texts created by the participants and published on experience and a project homepage, as well as on social networks and organise four concerts. The musicians cameskills in managing DPMKȩ?ȩUGBCȩT?PGCRWȩMDȩ@?AIEPMSLBQȩGLȐ ȩSCLACBȩ@Wȩ ?LBȩ7MS2S@C
ȩ2FCȩEPMSNȩP?LȩǋA?KN?GELQȩ?LBȩ jazz, rock, reggae, blues, electronic and classical NPMBSACBȩNMQRCPQȩ?LBȩNMQRA?PBȩȐ ȩWCPQȩDMPȩRFCȩ European concerts, as well as press releases and folders with music, and they included self-taught artists and cooperation graduates from music academies. All the songs information about the project and Youth in Action, and ran a photo exhibition of one of the concerts. projects were written by the participants in the project. They also gave wide publicity to what they were doing, and to the opportunities under the Youth Project funded by in Action programme, particularly to other young the Youth in Action national agency in Sweden musicians. The seven-month project in 2008/09 Transnational Youth Initiative carried out by: ͬ Informal Group of Swedish Creative Individuals, Sweden; boosted understanding between young people from ͬ Informal Goup of Italian Creative Individuals, Italy. BGȎȩCPCLRȩAMSLRPGCQȩE?TCȩRFCȩN?PRGAGN?LRQȩCVNCPGCLACȩ and skills in managing European cooperation projects, and created networks across national borders. 3 T ES T I M O N I AL S ‘ I’m proud Iwork with chance to had the ‘This gave meto work opportunity a valuable ‘ IMPE?LGQ?RGMLRFCĺL?LACQ?LB took care of much of the practical such a talented group of with Swedish musicians administration. We knew there was a people. Not many times I had never met before PGQIGLECRRGLEKSQGAG?LQUGRFBGĶCPCLR have I seen a group and to experiment backgrounds and levels of experience working on a music myself as a composer. together, but when they met everything project with that sort We got to know each fell into place, and the rehearsals and of passion, respect and other by making music recording went well because they were professionalism. ’ together, and we built a so determined to create something good bridge between our two together. ’ countries.’ 4. Bringing Europe into schools young people in schools, creating mini-projects with them for a few hours and developing dialogue. This An informal attempt to bring the idea of Europe breaks down stereotypes and preconceptions about into schools so that young people could understand other cultures and opens German schoolchildren’s it better has grown into a vigorous organisation eyes to the diversity of European life. In 2010, the operating at national level, ‘Europa macht Schule’, young people from ‘Europa macht Schule’ organised involving students from across other European an international training session for multipliers to countries. extend their concept to other European countries. The group now regularly brings to life the concept Project funded by of inter-European exchange, while sharing ideas the Youth in Action national agency in Germany and knowledge. Erasmus students from all over National Youth Initiative carried out by: Europe present their country in a creative way to ͬ Europa macht Schule e.V., Germany.
Y O U T H I N I T I A T I V E S 55. Schools helping development youth magazines and movies. The project has grown since its start in 2006, with 10 000Every year, in October, Belgian secondary school youngsters and 128 schools participating in 2011.students spend one school day as volunteersin a company, shop or organisation in their Zuiddag NGO is a low-budget organisationneighbourhood, and donate their earnings for aiming to give youngsters the chance to make athe day to an NGO of their choice that is working BGȎ ȩCPCLACȩGLȩRFCȩUMPJBȩ@Wȩ@PGLEGLEȩRMECRFCPȩQAFMMJQȩtowards the millenium goals in the developing companies and youngsters from North and South.world. Local companies, shops and organisations It is all about raising awareness and promotinghelp by advertising vacancies on the project’s action to build a sustainable and fair society.website. In the run-up to the ‘work’ day, everyparticipating school can take part in an educational Project funded byweek, largely prepared by the students themselves, the Youth in Action national agencywith visits from young people from the supported in the Flemish-speaking community of Belgiumprojects, and specially prepared teaching materials, National Youth Initiative carried out by: ͬ VZW Zuiddag, Belgium. 5 T E ST I MO N I A L S ‘ We will neverFlanders. this week in forget This is a really cool experience. I did it ‘ The Brazilian youngsters LMU@CJGCTCKMPCĺPKJW We felt really welcome. mainly to help the in their future, and the We know now that we Brazilian youngsters Flemish youngsters have support to make who were in our school, learned a lot about changes in Brazil and to but I learned a lot Brazil, about working, make our educational from it for myself. ’ about themselves. ’ systems better. ’6. Winning understanding for The exhibition later went on to train stations in the The young people displaced minorities Tirol and Vorarlberg. The young people running the project obtained a deeper understanding of the running the projectThirteen young people in Austria put together an QGRS?RGMLȩMDȩ?QWJSKȩQCCICPQȩ?LBȩ0MK?ȩUFMȩUCPCȩ obtained a deeperawareness campaign about the daily life of asylum involved throughout, as well as greater awarenessQCCICPQȩUGRFȩ?ȩQFMPRȩȏ ȩJKȩ?ȩNFMRMȩCVFG@GRGMLȩ?LBȩ of human rights, other cultures and problems of understanding ofa brochure. For two weeks in 2008, information integration. the situation ofstands in Innsbruck’s main station highlighted theM@QR?AJCQȩD?ACBȩ@Wȩ?QWJSKȩQCCICPQȩ?LBȩ0MK?ȩGLȩ Project funded by asylum seekersAustria. Visitors to the exhibition had the chance the Youth in Action national agency in Austria and RomaDMPȩAJMQCȩAMLR?ARȩUGRFȩBGȎ ȩCPCLRȩASJRSPCQȩRFPMSEFȩ National Youth Initiative carried out by:enjoying typical food cooked by asylum seekers and ͬ Projektgruppe ‘Asyl’, Austria.KSQGAȩNJ?WCBȩ@Wȩ0MK?
6 Y O U T H I N A C T I O N 7. Ecology in Portugal people living in the area. The results were improved environmental awareness in the local community, This national project in Portugal involved 20 young increased interest and engagement among young people for four months in 2009 in promoting people in environmental issues, and development participation in youth centre activities, so as to of their abilities to take the initiative in these develop the autonomy, initiative and responsibility areas. The project also developed intergenerational of young people. The themes of the project were contacts, and promoted conservation of the the environment and the European dimension of environment and the use of sustainable environmental issues. technologies. 2FCȩN?PRGAGN?LRQȩȏPQRȩA?PPGCBȩMSRȩRFCGPȩMULȩPCQC?PAFȩ work and adopted positions on a number of Project funded by ecological subjects. They also obtained data about the Youth in Action national agency in Portugal ecological practices among the local population. National Youth Initiative carried out by: They then organised workshops and activities with ͬ Associação Juvenil de Deão, Portugal. 7 The result was improved environmentalawareness in thelocal community The project 8. From inside prison to inside The result was that the participants managed society to run the kitchen so successfully that food was helped integrate provided for the entire facility — improving the lives these young $MSPȩWMSLEȩMȎCLBCPQȩGLȩ?ȩPCF?@GJGR?RGMLȩSLGRȩGLȩ of everyone there. At a personal level, the project Malta helped build a professional kitchen that they empowered the participants and developed their people into themselves could use, to replace the food pre- integration into their community and wider society, their community prepared elsewhere by adult inmates and delivered as well as increasing their skill sets and boosting in containers. The 18-month-project carried out their chances of subsequent employment. and into wider in 2008/09 allowed the young residents to apply society for funding, plan the kitchen set-up, choose the Project funded by @CQRȩMȎCPQȩUMPIȩUGRFȩNPMDCQQGML?JQȩDPMKȩFC?JRFȩ the Youth in Action national agency in Malta authorities and food suppliers, and work on the kitchen’s construction under the guidance of National Youth Initiative carried out by: ͬȩ 7MSLEȩ-DDCLBCPQȩ3LGRȩMDȩ0CF?@GJGR?RGMLȩ1CPTGACQȩ+?JR?
Youth Initiatives are Youth Youth Youth Youth Youth part of the Youth in Exchanges Initiatives Democracy Volunteering Support Action programme of the European Union Youth in Action mobilising the potential of young EuropeansYouth in Action is the European Union programme ȧQGELGȏ ȧA?LRȧGKN?AR A survey in March 2011 among a representativethat has helped young people since 2007, through Youth in Action has had a demonstrable impact sample of participantsnon-formal learning and wider mobility, to boost on the hundreds of thousands of young people it revealed that:their skills as well as giving them new opportunities has involved. The programme has enabled manyto develop their personal capacities. It is open toall young people, regardless of their educational, MDȩRFCKȩRMȩCVNCPGCLACȩMRFCPȩAMSLRPGCQȩȏ ȩPQRȩF?LBȩ 91 % thus developing a greater sense of openness and of young peoplesocial and cultural background. It encourages considered participation understanding of other cultures. And it has providedintercultural dialogue and the inclusion of all young increased their the young people who have taken part with newpeople, particularly those with fewer opportunities. competences in foreign QIGJJQȩ?LBȩAMLȏȩBCLAC
ȩIt strengthens European values everywhere it languages;operates — in the EU and in 140 countries beyond. This is all the more important since for manyIt funds a wide variety of youth activities, including of the projects, the participants are deliberately 75 %exchanges, initiatives, democracy projects, and a said they improved selected from communities and social groups withvoluntary service. It also supports youth workers their abilities to identify fewer opportunities. The whole programme has aand civil society organisations through training and opportunities for their QRPMLEȩQMAG?JȩBGKCLQGML
ȩRȩK?ICQȩQNCAGȏ ȩAȩNPMTGQGMLȩ personal or professionalnetworking, and promotes European cooperation in for involving young people from disadvantaged future;RFCȩWMSRFȩȏ ȩCJB
groups (with disabilities, health problems, or social,Noticeable results economic or geographic obstacles, unemployed, UGRFȩCBSA?RGML?JȩBGȑ ȩȩASJRGCQȩQSAFȩ?QȩC?PJWȩQAFMMJȩ 73 % declared they felt more7MSRFȩGLȩARGMLȩF?Qȩ?ȩEJM@?Jȩ@SBECRȩMDȩ#30ȩȩ JC?TCPQȩMPȩDPMKȩBGȎ ȩCPCLRȩASJRSP?Jȩ@?AIEPMSLBQ
ȩ European;million for the 2007–13 period, and by the end 2FCȩCLE?ECKCLRȩMDȩK?LWȩBGȎ ȩCPCLRȩQMAG?JȩEPMSNQȩGQȩMDȩȩGRȩF?BȩDSJJWȩSQCBȩRFCȩ#30ȩȩKGJJGMLȩ important in ensuring that the European integration 92 %allocated so far. Its basic premise is that investment project is not restricted only to elites in European of youth workersin young people is the best business case for the society. considered they gainedEuropean Union and it is also the way to make skills and knowledge theya success of the European integration project. Attractive learning would not have otherwiseOver the four years 2007–10, more than 527 000 acquired; Youth in Action makes extensive use of non-formalpersons took part (390 000 young people and137 000 youth workers); 61 000 project applications learning, through attractive methods (such as workshops, interviews or simulations), and based on 73 %were submitted and 30 100 projects were approved of youth organisations personal experience outside schools. This promotes said they were doingfor grants. Youth in Action involved around 20 000 individual-based teaching, with the emphasis on more internationalyouth organisations, informal groups of young talents and strengths. Professional facilitators projects.people, or public bodies every year as promoters ensure the learning process is conducted mainly byof projects. The intense involvement of non- young people themselves, through participation and In additiongovernmental organisations and social enterprises peer learning. The non-formal learning experienceis a stimulating example for young people of what the 2010 survey showed that Youth in Action provides is recognised throughit means to be an active player in society, and that participants in ?ȩQNCAGȏȩAȩACPRGȏȩA?RCȩA?JJCBȩ?ȩ7MSRFN?QQ
many participants in projects later become involved the programme havethemselves in social work. ?ȧQGELGȏȧA?LRJWȧFGEFCPȧ LȩRFCȩBGȎ ȩCPCLRȩCLTGPMLKCLRȩMȎȩCPCBȩ@WȩNPMHCARQȩ voting record in European young people discover their own potential and elections than their peers.The projects supported range widely across youth abilities, and exercise new levels of independence For instance in 2009,?ARGTGRGCQȩȩCTCPWRFGLEȩDPMKȩP?GQGLEȩRFCȩNPMȏ ȩJCȩMDȩ and decision-making. The experience boosts their 60 % of participantsyoung people in the media and giving them more personal development and widens their horizons, voted, compared to anof a say, to organising environmental protection helping them make choices about their further average of 29 % forprojects at local level, creating documentaries on all young people across personal and professional life. And they acquiresocial issues such as young people with HIV or Europe. competencies that are increasingly valuable in anexclusion of minorities, or helping inmates in young evolving labour market ͬMȎȩCLBCPQȩGLQRGRSRGMLQȩRMȩ@MMQRȩRFCGPȩMULȩQCJD %CQRCCKȩ?LBȩRMȩK?ICȩCȎ ȩMPRQȩRFCKQCJTCQȩRMȩGLRCEP?RCȩinto their community and into wider society. 60 29 %
NC-30-11-276-EN-CWho can take part in Youth Initiative projects, and how do they work?Youth Initiatives can be national, designed at Participation is open to the 27 Member States oflocal, regional or national levels and developed the European Union, as well as to Croatia, Iceland,by a single group in its country, or international, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and TurkeyLCRUMPIGLEȩWMSRFȩGLGRG?RGTCQȩGLȩBGȎ ȩCPCLRȩAMSLRPGCQ
ȩ (programme countries), and grants are made viaThey are open to people aged 18–30, although Youth in Action national agencies in those countries.people as young as 15 can take part if accompanied@Wȩ?ȩAM?AF