“I’m changing Europe!”
As a strategic partnership that supports municipal level local youth work, Europe Goes Local (EGL) not only aims to raise the quality of youth work development but also create and influence a multiplier effect through identifying and promoting diverse activities of and to its members, partners and stakeholders. Thanks to the quality of its cooperation, EGL has become a rich platform of activities and practices that showcase the diversity and success of local youth work in various local settings and contexts.
As we are counting down the days to the official launch of the Changemaker Toolkit, which is designed to support working with the European Charter on Local Youth Work, we have decided to select and present to you 5 good practices that highlight the importance, creativity and impact of local youth work and look at the ways they align to the Charter’s principles and promote its values across Europe.
In the hope that you might get inspired to implement a similar approach in your own country or learn more about what others are doing successfully, today we present to you the Civic Organization ‘‘Silnejší slabším’ in Trenčin, Slovakia with their good example of youth participation and inclusion through quality dialogue between young people and politicians.
The youth include primary school students, high schools and university students, inhabitants of children’s homes, social facilities and also young people with fewer opportunities. One thing that these young people have in common is that they have a lot of free time, which ‘Silnejší slabším’ tries to use effectively by volunteering in a civic organization. This way the organization creates space for self-knowledge and at the same time allows for people of various backgrounds to get to know each other. Some of the activities that the organization participates in include manual work for community development, preparation of space, mowing the lawn, changing the terrain, preparation of refreshment, making props in theatre, dance and different performances. Currently, in Trenčín, there are many “migrating” people in firms from Ukraine, who come with a vision of better income and future. Silnejší slabším leads dialogues about their country, behaviour, ways of life and finds commonalities and differences between the two cultures.
The good practice is related to a project "Spoza brány k politikom" - ‘From behind the gate to politicians’ and it aims to facilitate long-term active cooperation between young people from children’s homes and other social facilities and various representatives of the public institutions. ‘Silnejší slabším’ organized meetings during which the biggest problems of individual parts of the city and villages were discussed with deputies and village managers. Young people together with deputies identified the problem and found a joint solution, which they then planned form and implemented together, in cooperation
By increasing active citizenship of the target group, such as children from children’s homes, apart from inclusion, ‘Silnejší slabším’ aims to achieve improvement of young people’s acceptance by the public as well as increasing the quality of their everyday life. One of the challenges is that young people do not have enough opportunities and possibilities for expressing themselves and being involved in everyday life as are their peers. Therefore they have restricted information about how, where and why to participate as they are on the edge of the society.
Young people: Development of competencies, consideration of the needs of youth and boosting their involvement in the decision-making process
Youth workers: Increase of competencies, specifically targeting work with marginalized youth
Youth work: Example of good practice, which can be implemented in other municipalities, support of inclusion
For ‘Silnejší slabším’: Development of cooperation, competencies of members of the organization, publicity
Society/Community: Recognition of youth work, development of work with disadvantaged youth
Fb: Regionálne centrum mládeže Trenčín