Finding out how political participation can be thought and realized in a way that is equally modern, effective and attractive to the youth is of highest interest to young people, youth organisations, politicians, youth workers and researchers in Europe. With the increasing significance of the Internet, more and more institutions, NGOs, and practitioners in Europe get involved in the topic. As a result of their activities, new formats of digital participation, Internet platforms and web-based tools and software are emerging. By applying these tools and services, user organizations such as municipal administrations and youth organizations are gaining increasing practical experience in e-Participation, which is extremely valuable. Nevertheless, the activities and pioneer projects taking place in Europe are still rather fragmented and disconnected. Many experienced practitioners in the youth field don´t know about each other, software developers in different countries develop the same kind of tools over again, and many user organizations make the same experiences – but also repeat the same mistakes.
In this context, the establishment of a regular transnational exchange between youth workers, participation experts, software developers and other actors in the field would be of great mutual benefit. With this project, we aim to gradually establish such an exchange.
In the form of a 3-day summit or seminar, the exchange will focus on current trends, upcoming issues, unsolved problems and newest solutions. Returning challenges like the question “How do I manage the user community on my participation platform”, “how do I motivate my young users to come back to the platform more than once”, “what do I need to know about privacy and data protection”, and “what is the most effective way to translate user-generated content into other languages” are problems all practitioners are confronted with and will be addressed on the summit. Solutions will be discussed with a wide range of actors and experts. The knowledge and experience already gained will be shared, expanded, documented and made available to all organizations and municipalities interested in digital youth participation throughout Europe.
The summit will provide its participants with the opportunity to come together for a European-wide peer-to-peer exchange, share their experiences on e-Participation, and give each other tips and counseling. The participants will be welcome to define the topics of the summit according to their interests. It will be explicitly practical, the participants will be asked to work together in working groups on their choosen topics with the help of design thinking methods.
The aim of this application and project is to promote European-wide networking in the field of digital youth participation, and to increase the knowledge and capacity of actors involved. More specifically, the objectives are:
• bringing together youth workers with participation experts and software developers in order to strengthen transnational cooperation
• creating a forum for knowledge transfer and mutual counseling, so that participants can learn from each other
• contributing to improving and further developing the quality of e-participation software tools and methods and the capabilities of actors in the youth field in applying them
• deepening and extending the collaboration with regards to projects, the development of trainings, services and counseling
• collecting and making available information resources on e-Participation online for everyone interested
• promoting and strengthening the development of e-Participation of young people n Europe
• applying for funding for a 3-year project, to establish a strategic partnership between software developers, participation experts, user organizations, and administrational bodies for youth e-Participation in Europe
Establish the mentioned objectives are in line with the objectives of Key Action 1. The project
1. strengthens the professional development of youth workers in the field of e-participation through
– connecting them with other practitioners, participation experts, and software developers and giving them the chance to discuss, learn and work together
– giving them the opportunity to share their personal and professional experiences, and to benefit from professional advice of more experienced actors.
2. contributes to the capacity building of their organization through
– providing youth workers with the opportunity to engage in the development of new e-participation methods and to learn how to use new tools and plan projects
– strengthening their knowledge about digital participation, methods, formats and tools
– providing youth workers with digital tools and methods for the realization of democratic participation projects in which fundamental values of our society such as democracy, freedom, equality of rights and inclusive discourse are transferred