Youth participation as the core of youth work

In September 2015, Nuoret Kotkat organised an international seminar on youth participation. It took place from 6–12 September in a village called Urjala in the region of Pirkanmaa in Finland.

This project was funded by the Erasmus+ funding scheme and gathered participants from other IFM-SEI member organisations such as Esplac (Catalunya, Spain), SJD Die Falken (Germany), Kinderfreunde (Austria), Woodcraft Folk (United Kingdom), Georgian Falcons (Georgia), Nuoret Kotkat (Finland) and Liepajas Jaunie Vanagi (Latvia). The team of facilitators consisted of young people from the partner organisations.

Nuoret3The seminar started with a common introduction of participants and a team building session, which is important to begin any work in a group. Participants were invited to share their expectations, fears, and potential contributions during the week. We introduced the programme, shared experiences and participation activities. Afterwards, we got down to our main point by defining our idea of youth organisation and introducing the topic, talking about concepts of and competences for participation, Human Rights and Children’s Rights, the right to participation and its importance. We also provided participants with theories and approaches to youth participation (Roger Hart’s ladder of participation and Shier’s Pathways to Participation). Once we worked on the concepts and the theory, participants analysed their organisations in order to create some activities using non-formal education methods to improve the participation and then tried them out with other participants. We got creative and good ideas for activities to work on participation, children’s rights, decision-making, positive consequences of participation and competences for participation.

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Thanks to the selected topic, the programme and the participants, we all gained a lot of motivation and knowledge from the training course that we will use when back home to improve youth participation around the world.

We would like to encourage other IFM-SEI member organisation to organise international seminars and training courses, because they are very rewarding and offer leaders and young people the opportunity to train themselves by getting perspectives from other countries and cultures and even to have many opportunities such as to become a facilitator in an international training.

Article written by Nuoret Kotkat, Finland.

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