Together with project partners from France, Poland, and Spain SIC has started activities within a project called “YOUC! Promoting Youth Participation in Local Communities”. This project aims to improve the expertise of youth, civic organizations, and youth activists and educators to involve marginalized youth in activities for the benefit of local communities. Involving youth in the projects of local communities contributes to the empowerment of young people, increases the level of social inclusion and promotes the creation of networks with local decision-makers as well as ordinary citizens. The activities of YOUC project are aimed to meet the following needs:
- The need for youth at risk to make their needs and voice heard by local decision-makers and other citizens and to better integrate and contribute to the common good of local communities;
- The need for youth activists, youth leaders, youth volunteers, and youth educators to improve their capability for reaching out to youth at risk and to include them in social and civic life at the local level;
- The need for local decision-makers to better communicate and to take into consideration the demands of local youth;
- The need of the European countries to promote civic participation of young people, to increase the effectiveness of European democracy, and to promote social and civic inclusion of youth at risk.
The aim of promoting the civic participation of young people and the promotion of the engagement of youth at risk in local projects will be reached through the development of three outputs. The first output will be the Guide containing information and practical tools to promote the participation of youth at risk in projects of civic participation at the local level. The Guide will mainly be addressed to youth activists and youth educators and will list all the steps needed to carry out projects of civic participation at the local level involving youth at risk.
The second output of the project will be the face-to-face training programme for young people and youth activists. The training program will be addressed to youth at risk and will contain several lesson plans and related pedagogical materials that youth activists and youth educators can use for training and mentoring young people who will be involved in local projects in their communities. Both the first and the second output will be focused on the following aspects:
– How to engage young people and keep them involved?
– How to understand the local institutional context and identify the needs of the local community?
– How to define the goals of the project and develop the action plan?
– How to monitor and evaluate project results?
The training program is based on non-formal education methodologies such as discussions, group work, case studies, cooperative learning, etc. Most of the activities will be carried out outside the classroom by interacting with other young people, citizens, and local decision-makers, so following the pedagogical approaches called action-research and experiential learning.
The third output of the YOUC project will be the E-training program addressed to youth activists and educators. This online training program will provide detailed knowledge about how to efficiently use the methodology and tools developed in the framework of this project (the Guide and the practical training program). The E-Training will be developed online to make these outputs available for a wider audience of youth activists and educators and to reach more young people. The online training programme will be based on the methodology and materials contained in the first two outputs and will be divided into two main sections:
– Section 1 explaining the principles, the steps and the use of the tools developed by the project so to involve youths at risk in projects of civic participation at the local level;
– Section 2 explaining how to carry out the face-to-face training course.
YOUC project will be carried out in the consortium of four organizations:
– Petra Patriomonia, France (the lead partner);
– Magenta Consultancy, Spain;
– Viva Femina, Poland;
– Social Innovation Centre, Latvia.