Do you know how hard is for vulnerable groups to make their voice heard? Bottom-up processes are what is needed! Our organizations want to actively contribute to a society where everyone is involved in decision-making, scaling up ideas/needs to policy-makers. We can do it, identifying a common mechanism to be adapted to any kind of organization and vulnerable group. This is the first step of a community change where social programs would be moderated by the feedback of the final users.
Sabadell & Tarragona area, Catalonia, Northeast Spain.
In Catalonia, there are different elements that hinder the social and political participation of young people with fewer opportunities, due to the following reasons:
-Lack of representativeness of young people with a migrant background in decision-making processes in the third sector.
-Mismatch between specific needs and programmes for migrants youth, young people in care and young people that present risk behaviours (drug abuse, alcohol abuse,conflict with law, etc.).
-Bottom-up needed approach to policies and programmes aimed at this group.
-Lack of coordination between third sector entities in order to establish needs assessment, as well as common proposals aimed at the young beneficiary population of social programmes and projects.
DEMO’s initiative is focused on migrant youth, young people in care and young people that present risk behaviours, from 14-30 years old, located in Sabadell and Tarragona (Catalonia). On many occasions, these group takes part of diferent social initiatives and programmes, assuming a passive role during the process. Through the DEMO project we aim to guarantee their active role during their participation and decision-making process in their associations, foundations or other third sector entities. Indirectly, the participating third sector organisations will be benefied by receiving specific knowledge, competences and skills to promote the participation of their young users.
1.Needs assessment. DEMO Research will be carried out to identify the main needs, and key thematic areas to favour youth’s decision-making processes in their organization and programmes to determine the capacity-building fields.
2.Training Courses for young people on social and democratic participation may contain the following thematic areas: Structured dialogue model, Dynamics of debate, Hart's participation ladder (2008), Setting up an assembly, Monitoring and evaluation methods, Advocacy, etc
3.Youth Committee (YC) will be created in Eveho with UJEC’s support to evaluate and propose improvements in organizations’ decision-making and social programmes. The YC will be supported by peers and social workers, to guide the approach and come up with ideas developed by the youngsters in a bottom-up consultation mechanism.
4.Feedback and recommendations. Advocacy actions will ensure that beneficiaries' needs are truly met through evidence-based programmes, organizations policies, and shared decision-making processes. A further environmental approach would ask YC to focus on changes to promote environmental sustainability of activities/programs.
5.DEMO Guide will contain relevant information and tools to apply the DEMO Model to promote youth participation through the creation of YC in NGOs and guarantee transferability and sustainability of the project’s actions.
The following results are foreseen and will be disseminated to be applied with other youth/vulnerable groups:
-Research Report to assess the main competences or key thematic areas to favour their decision-making processes in organizations and programmes
-DEMO Model to promote the democratic participation of users of third sector programmes
-DEMO Guide to transfer good practices to different NGOs in the third sector.
-Collaboration Agreements on policies and programmes among third sector entities.
-Youth Committee created within Eveho Foundation to test and adjust the model and for future participatory initiatives.
-Vulnerable groups of youngsters trained on issues related to social and political participation, strengthening decision-making processes in their communities.
Our DEMO idea aims to actively involve young people in all phases of the project. The beneficiaries will create the YC themselves, and they will have their own space and voice in the decision-making processes in Eveho. Thanks to this process of empowerment, and the creation of this space, the beneficiaries will acquire the necessary skills to participate in their communities, Eveho’s Juveniles Centre, Assisted Living Facilities, or other third sector’s facilities. The aim is to encourage their initiative and to transfer their participatory experience to local, regional and national levels. The DEMO initiative will also favour their sense of belonging to the Community and to the European Union, by facilitating a greater understanding of participation at different levels.
Our team is composed of members from the three organizations since we really want to cover all the needs of the target group and provide great multidisciplinary results. EVEHO workers are people in their 30s who were formerly involved in Youth Council, International Organizations, MEU. UJEC would mainly feature young people experienced in youth participation and peer trainings with non-formal education, mostly formerly tutored. This is going to create a peer-to-peer role-modeling throughout the project. Furthermore, researchers from the Observatori will support them in the action-research method which would be adapted to youth, while experienced social workers would motivate tutored youth to actively participate in all the phases of the project.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
NEEDS ASSESSMENT & MODEL DEVELOPMENT - Personnel costs and Office costs (researchers, spaces and materials for action-research methods) 20000€ + Cofunding: 2000€
TRAINING & PILOTING YC - Personnel costs, Office costs, local travel costs (spaces and materials for workshops) 10000 € + cof: 1000€
COMMUNICATION - Public relations, Personnel and Office costs (graphic design, guide development, gadgets, dissemination event) 5000 € + cof: 500€
MANAGEMENT - Personnel costs 0 € cof: 6500 €
- Constructive criticism about how to improve our idea
- Comments about cooperation and transferability of the idea in other countries/communities
- Exchange of ideas on youth participation in other EU countries
- Inspiration from existing practices