“Super Youth Worker”
Câmara Municipal de Cascais
Alameda dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra, nº 247, 1º Piso, Sala 102, 2750-416 Cascais, Portugal
Cascais started developing its Participatory Budget (PB) in 2011 as a tool to promote citizen’s participation, being today the largest in Portugal counting with a maximum of 75.357 voters in one edition.
Education performs an essential role in promoting fundamental values of democracy, participation and citizenship and, through it, we raise fully-fledged citizens with social intervention and conscious decision awareness.
Education towards citizenship participation aims to sensitize, train, inform and put in practice the behavioural development essential for the exercised defence democratic rights and obligations, ultimately reinforcing the promotion and protection of democracy.
Youth Participatory Budget (YPB) is a project designed in 2016, as a tool to promote young people’s participation, aiming to develop the interest for participatory democracy by establishing a closer connection between young people and political decision-makers, promoting personal and social development towards a citizenship oriented education, enhancing the relation between culture, school and community among students, providing the opportunity to locally identify similar values between peers, developing management, decision and motivational skills with practical simulations and strong financial education knowledge.
YPB’s pilot project in 2016/2017 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EAk4tPn7_Y) was recognized by Rede de Autarquias Participativas (RAP) with the Good Participatory Practices Award in 2017 (https://op.cascais.pt/orcamento-participativo/noticias/5ae35eb76d95f69e00161ae2).
YPB is a pedagogical process promoting awareness for the citizen’s rights and obligations, and aiming to raise more participative citizens, in which students are called upon to decide on public investment and its allocation.
It was designed by a multidisciplinary team and an external consultant in a bottom-up logic based on Sherry Arnstein’s ladder of citizen participation, being classified on the 6th degree. Schools have elected a “YPB class” composed by students and teachers with a non-formal education training provided by an external entity.
The 1st edition began with 4 schools, 4 classes (aged 13-14) and 8 teachers. Its norms were defined by students through a collaborative game whose results were presented, debated, and approved in a Municipal Meeting together with the Mayor.
Currently YPB counts with a dedicated team working with an external non-formal education entity to implement the project in 15 schools, 15 classes (aged 12-18) and 28 teachers.
Structurally it is divided into 3 cycles:
YPB has an innovative character that encourages the youth’s civic and political participation, giving recognition to young people’s role as citizens. The YPB classes that receive training for the development of the previously referred skills exit the YPB process with tools that are appliable in their academic and their future professional curriculum, being more able to adapt to, and comprehend the society in which they are included and in future challenges that they may face in the job market.
The democratic awareness raised in the process enables a better understanding of the political and financial system of their country and their municipality, encouraging young people who were involved in the process to be more active as fully-fledged citizens.
YPB’s participation promotes the engagement in other participatory practices, such as the main Cascais’ PB, Voz dos Jovens, Scholas Occurrentes, Reinvente o Seu Bairro and Voluntariado Jovem.
The effects and impact of YPB in schools and community is verifiable in both environments’ physical space and daily life and by a more present and interested availability from these citizens, that have already decided upon 492.500,00€ for schools and 3.902.950,00€ for the community.
Youth work policy