Conclusions from the Training Course ‘Youth Friendly Services’ (22-29 August, Kaunas, Lithuania)

Conclusions from the Training Course ‘Youth Friendly Services’ (22-29 August, Kaunas, Lithuania)

Helena Esteves, from the Head Office of DYPALL Network was present in the Training Course ‘Youth Friendly Services’, held in Kaunas, from 22 to 29 August 2017, and hosted by Politikos tyrimų ir analizės institutas and is sharing her experience:

This training course gathered 30 specialists working with youth in Municipalities, Youth Councils and Civil Society Organizations from Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Turkey, Slovenia and Portugal, with the goals of:

  1. Provide participants with better understanding of youth needs, youth issues, youth age psychology;
  2. Develop competences to create participatory decision-making platforms and attitudes, share tools and good practices related to participation;
  3. Share methods of youth empowerment and involvement;
  4. Develop standards of “youth friendly” services.

The training course integrated thematic working groups on standards for youth policy and application of these standards in our local reality, as well as informal networking in order to develop future cooperation. The Facebook page of the event was used for further sharing of research on youth policy and local practices between the participants, thus fostering better follow up on local activities and future collaborations, after the ending of the course.

As regards getting to know the Lithuanian reality and grasp good practices from our host country, we had a visit from the Lithuania Youth Line, which provided a good example of a volunteer-based organization that mostly helps youngsters dealing with inter-generational transmission of trauma, for the prevention of suicide. The volunteers are not psychologists, but are properly trained for this mission. An interesting point of view in contexts where a young volunteer is perceived as not committed to have a successful life, by working for free, is to compare the activity with a hobby, in which different types of investments are made, and different types of results are achieved.

We also had a visit from a representative of Kaunas Technical University “StartUp Space”, where a young entrepreneur explained his coaching model of young people with ideas, by giving longer term support and allow people to learn by doing. Another interesting visit was from a community police officer, that works with young offenders on healthy life-style projects, to foster trust, information and as preventive action.

The overall environment of the training was a perfect mix of informal and professional, where I had the opportunity to present the work of DYPALL Network to experts from different countries. The training aimed to create a “Youth Friendly label”, and the relaxed, but focused and professional environment summed up what is transversal in youth and development work to achieve that: a dedicated team, a mix of evidence-based and participation-based youth policy making, as well as targeted and cross-sectorial messages and actions that will foster youth engagement and inclusiveness in solving problems pertaining to this demographic at the local level. 

A study visit also took place throughout this interesting week to Kauna’s neighborhood Šilainiai, where we met the founder of the Šilainiai Project, which aims to build relationships between people through art, and exploring the potentials of the public spaces of their neighborhood for self-expression, identity and tailor its urban characteristics to better serve the needs of the population. 

In a nutshell, this training was a full course on examples that all countries can adjust and replicate in their own local realities, in order to better draft and implement “youth friendly” policies and services