Young people are drivers of change!

2 avril 2021

Youth empowerment is a top priority for European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, and the EU believes that young people must be involved in shaping and implementing its external action. This is also key for Development Education and Awareness-Raising. Therefore, many PLATFORMA partners are undertaking activities with youth, especially during the annual European Days of Local Solidarity (EDLS).

Below are three concrete examples extracted from PLATFORMA publication “Raising citizens’ awareness through development education”. In this publication, PLATFORMA recommends to prioritise DEAR activities where young people themselves are the protagonists of the story.

When young people are invited to take part in DEAR projects as drivers of change, towns and regions benefit from the use of social networks to amplify their messages, which also fosters youth ownership of the actions. Results of the projects are thus shared faster and can be easily replicated through peer-to-peer training and mobilisation.

Best Practice 7 : Cross-cutting mobility (page 20)

Nantes Metropole (France) was a third-time participant in the EDLS campaign and used the opportunity to present its project on crosscutting mobility built around the exchange of twelve volunteers (in the civil service) and three decentralised cooperation actors between the cities of Nantes (France), Agadir (Morocco), Rufisque (Senegal) and Dschang (Cameroon), with the support of the Departmental Council of Loire-Atlantique. The main goal of the project was to develop a citizen and youth component in decentralised cooperation and its implementation helped to boost the interest of young people in decentralised cooperation.

Best practice 11 : When the mayor goes to the school (page 24)

Local children and students from Jaunpils Municipality (Latvia) are now able to better recognise the SDGs in their everyday lives. Some of them expressed interest in participating in local activities such as planting trees (SDG on climate action) or repairing and painting objects in nature (SDG on sustainable communities). The SDGs have also been taken into greater account in the policy planning introduced by Jaunpils’ Municipal Council

Best practice 14 : Recognise and Change Project (page 27)

The Recognise and Change project by the Provincial Council of Huelva and Jaén (Spain), with technical support of FAMSI, is built around the role played by youth in raising awareness and influencing their peers. Why? Because when young people are engaged, their mobilisation can create a spill-over effect, making it easier to involve their peers, citizens and key actors in decision-making and politics. Engaged boys and girls can train their peers to tackle conflict situations that have their origins in machismo and gender violence, homophobia and xenophobia. Awareness-raising tools and methodologies readily familiar to a younger population and virtual reality facilitate mobilisation. Indeed, bullying and cyberbullying, social networks, self-esteem and digital identities are work topics addressed in the project’s intervention logic.

What’s next? Mark your calendar

The 6th edition of the EDLS campaign will be organised between the 15 and 30 November 2021. Ahead of the two-week campaign, PLATFORMA is publishing a series of articles highlighting some 2020 EDLS success stories and the benefits of global citizenship education actions planned and developed by local and regional governments, their associations and other local stakeholders. DEAR and global citizenship education actions are gradually being recognised as important tools for the implementation of EU external policies, stay tuned!

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