Under the ECYON’s latest project, “Peace through Democracy” (funded under the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union), the participants of the training course have drafted three separate declarations on democracy and youth work. The declarations briefly describe the participating youth workers’ and young activists’ perspective on why and how to promote active citizenship and democratic participation.
The Promotion and involvement of young people in the development of the society
We, the new and progressive Generation, have a Vision for a civil society in which Youth plays a decisive role in social and political matters together with the cooperative authorities to build a future where meritocracy, inclusiveness, solidarity and human rights prevail.
To break the prejudices, stereotypes and barriers among the people in the society.
We expect the governments not to disturb the changemakers, to support the activities towards the promotion of democracy and to insure the protection of human rights
Promotion of democracy through non-formal education and youth work for the economic, political and social development of our countries and their security (individual and national) and guarantee their implementation through a law supporting social entrepreneurship
That is why Youth demands the following:
- Active participation of our generation is a precondition for enhancing the competencies of Youngsters such as critical thinking, problem-solving, negotiating and communicating diverse ideas.
- These transferable skills are a key to cultivate social responsibility, which is a gate to counteract political apathy.
- Youth work projects expose young people to experiences with a wide range of different social groups, raising awareness about their unique challenges and perspectives. Thereby, they can serve as a catalytic force in fostering tolerance in multicultural and otherwise heterogeneous societies.
We, the Youth, suggest to reform and transform the traditional and conservative way of teaching through life-long learning methods and non-formal educational system.
For this, the Youth proposes the following:
- The starting point is the local and personal level evolving into a wider and more complex scale by promoting participation in youth exchange programmes, Youth Parliaments, simulations, workshops and so on
- Investing on NGOs, INGOs, civil society organizations and platforms for stakeholders
- Volunteering, networking and developing training courses for enhancing skills and competences
- Trainings for trainers who will share their knowledge in their communities locally
- Engaging people with fewer opportunities (disabled, minorities etc.), facilitating protection of their rights and the rights of other people who are less involved.
- Attracting attention and informing the public about youth work through flashmobs, social campaigns, media campaigns (using social networks) etc.
- Ensuring sustainability through continuous media promotion, policy-making, approval of a law which will ensure the implementation of this declaration, governmental financial support, and fundraising campaigns for the implementation of the activities mentioned in the present declaration.
Development of citizens that are conscientious, open to diversity and ready to fight for democracy and human rights.
In a democracy everybody has the right to access information, such as TV, newspapers, internet.
Also there is a need to preserve our freedom, our choices and our way of living. It is a continuous fight against poverty, unemployment, violence and racism.
Everybody has the right to take part in the activities of society such as volunteering, campaigns etc. that lead to personal development. Every citizen has the right to “help” the society and help the country to develop.
Everybody has the right to vote and ameliorate the future. Democracy is a balance between duties and rights.
We suggest some examples for promoting democratic participation like supporting formal education with non-formal education methods and interactive activities and organizing thematic camps supported by local governments.
We, as youth, have to focus on ensuring economic and social, as well as cultural, rights via continuous and non-formal education.
It is important to start from actions of awareness-raising, restoring the trust as future active citizens to create a healthy society.
The need for non-formal education and youth workers in favor of promoting democracy appears as individuals need to be a part of a functional society, and citizens should try to influence their countries’ way of governing by using tools available, such as voting. But voting itself is not enough in most cases, therefore active citizenship exists as a way to promote improving the way of using resources and expanding the mindset of people by raising awareness considering our surrounding and the general state of country.
The answer to “why to promote non-formal education and youthwork” lies in governments’ and NGOs’ desire and need for motivating people and encouraging them to take initiative, to strive for improvement and subsequently gain competences required for creating better businesses and political environment which will serve as a new standard.
In order to acquire these standards, we’ll need a platform which can carry the weight of these projects, coming in the form of financial cost. Non-formal education is an addition to the formal one, it’s more inclusive than formal education, and its importance comes from the fact that it expands possibilities and the range of jobs, internships, as well as expanding common knowledge and formal education.
Non-formal education is an investment by all means, and therefore it may be included in the school programme as a way to improve and boost one’s way of thinking, social & communicational competences.