Budgeting made by You(th)
Estarreja Municipality in Portugal through its Participative Youth Municipal Budget comprises a civil participation process, that stems from Estarreja Youth Municipal Council, in which consultation of youngsters aged 12 to 30 (residents, students, workers, association members, etc.) with the aim of defining the priorities for local investments. This consultation process gives young people the opportunity to identify, debate and prioritise Estarreja’s local projects.
This is an example of a participation practice that brings youth to the political decision-making sphere and, by doing so, fosters their active and responsible citizenship and sense of belonging to their local reality. It also strengthens the Youth Council’s aim of finding solutions to improve the quality of life of young people in Estarreja.
Bringing the “cool” back to school
LoopMe is a smartphone app that helps students express their feelings, ideas, emotions and suggestions amongst their peers and their teachers. The research behind the app has been conducted at Chalmers University of Technology and a team of analyst from Gothenburg (Sweden). Learning institutes and schools in Norway, Turkey and Sweden are already deploying the app with positive outcomes.
The app allows students to create surveys, tasks, express their opinion and feedback, even anonymously.
“Since we started using it in Turkey, we have carried out five individual student-suggested projects within a two-year framework. The pedagogic idea behind the app is value creation pedagogy” said Öner Kaynakdemir, from Esenyurt Şerife Bacı Lifelong Learning Institute and Youth Centre.
He also added that “it is expected that students can develop entrepreneurial skills, decision-making strategies and better express themselves while promoting active participation of students in the activities that are being carried on their schools but also outside it.”
You can find out more at www.loopme.io
Starting from scratch
Students in Stockholm are not only encouraged to take part in decision-making processes at the local level, but they are taught, starting at the age of 16, how to meander through the zigzags of the formal political structures of Sweden’s capital government. This Municipality-wide effort has been in effect since 2001 and Martin Nyblom explains how can teachers boost civic and democratic awareness from a young age in a classroom setting.
Around 1000 pupils aged 16-19 and teachers from 10-15 participant schools from Stockholm Municipality engage in the Stockholm Youth Parliament, a democratic and political training that occurs alongside regular education.
Each year, pupils decide on 5 topics they wish to tackle. They then get a training on leadership and policy making, so that they are prepared to then co-plan activities with their teachers, sketch policy proposals and end up meeting politicians in dialogue seminars. Martin has been running this project for the last years and sees it as a great opportunity to boost youngsters’ political engagement but he sees an outreach beyond that of democratic literacy:
Young people shouldn’t aim at getting the whole cake, because negotiation is not about getting what you want, but getting a good outcome for which you worked hard for”.
By enabling young people to get a hands on experience with the political decision framework they also get to appreciate the complexity inherent to any decision-making process thus gaining soft skills which they can transpose to other aspects of their lives.
These practices were shared by participants during the “Youth Actors in Decision Making” training course that took place in Latvia from 7-13 January 2017 and was organised by Rēzekne Municipality in partnership with DYPALL.