The results of the first survey on Youth Participation are out!

By | February 24, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Network | Tags: ,

After finishing the survey on Youth Participation we know that many of you are looking forward to the answers. The results are very motivating for us and also draw a clear line on the path AEGEE members want to take regarding Youth Participation. Interested? Then continue reading.

Youth Participation is one of the three focus areas chosen for the period of  2011-2014 and therefore a wide range of activities are organised throughout our network on this topic. However, the survey launched by the Policy Officer on Youth Participation, Felipe González Santos, has shown that the interest on this topic is rooted in the network.

To the question whether youth participation was relevant to the work of our organisation, in a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is not important at all and 10 extremely important, the average rate given is 8.85 and 40% of the answers are 10. Also, when asking about the most important stakeholders working on the field of youth participation, the most repeated one by our members is, in fact, AEGEE. This is a clear message stating that youth participation should be, as it has been for several years already, a priority for the organisation and we should put even more efforts into it. Furthermore, we think that we have expertise on the field, so we should definitely make use of it.

Before starting going into the details, let’s see what our members understand by ‘Youth Participation’ The most repeated answer, somehow general and related, is that Youth Participation is taking part in society in an active way. Then the second most repeated answer relates Youth Participation with being organised to tackle a concrete problem. This organization can be through youth and students associations or just a group of people that has decided to cooperate to develop initiatives that have a positive impact in the community. The last position in the TOP 3 answers links youth participation with raising our voice in politics. Here people refer both to debating about the current issues and to advocating for improving young people’s life through politics. You can be sure that we will take your opinions into account and therefore promote even more initiatives among AEGEE members and also be more present in the political arena fighting for solving the problems that affect youth the most nowadays and working on a better future for young people.

If we continue deepening into the survey, to the question about main obstacles to the participation of young people in the society, the most common answers are that young people lack interest in taking initiatives (individualistic behaviours), lack information, lack a clear impact of initiatives developed by youth organizations and young people and lack trust in democratic institutions. The first two obstacles are very much connected, not having access to youth-friendly information about how to take part in social activities in one’s community or how to be more involved in decisions making and the democratic process is very discouraging, reducing the amount of attention paid to these issues. It is also a fact that when somebody can have access to information on possibilities to volunteer and meets other people already taking part in different programmes supported by institutions or initiatives independently organised by citizens, this person will be more interested in this kind of activities. The lack of trust in democratic institutions can also be a consequence of the lack of easy accessible information, as we cannot have confidence in something that is hidden or we do not know much about. Regarding the lack of clear impact of our actions, there are clearly many things to develop here and I am happy to know that the current Comité Directeur is working hard in the part of impact measurement of AEGEE projects.

Those are definitely challenges that we, as youth organisation working in the field of citizenship and participation, need to rise to.

As for the main topics in which AEGEE should develop a position, AEGEEans think that we should centre our work on the recognition of volunteering, within the university curricula as well as in European and national laws. Another important topic highlighted by AEGEE members is tackling the problem of low youth participation in the democratic process, not only in the elections but also in policy and decision making. Another important concern for the association is the difficulties that non-EU citizens face every time they try to come to the EU to volunteer, visa procedure should be easier and cheaper (if not fully free) and we will work on advocating for that too.

Very soon we will prepare another survey to start developing AEGEE’s positions on this topics before the consultation event that will take place in Maribor in April.

If you would like to be further informed about AEGEE’s work on the field of Youth Participation of be involved in it, please contact Felipe Gonzalez at felipe.gonzalez@aegee.org.

Written by Policy Officer on Youth Participation Felipe González Santos (@Felipe_AEGEE)


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