Young people are interested in public life, they have opinions and will tell you if you ask them
COHERENT (Circle of youth for the EuRope wE waNT), a two-year project, is coming to an end. Its aim is to help implement youth strategies in the European Union, empower young people, promote cross-border mobility and increase cooperation between young people. The project also aims to find out what kind of Europe young people want.
What is the barrier preventing young people from getting involved in public life was the subject of a workshop organized by environmental NGO Focus Eco Center. Twenty young people and three politicians – Kovács Mihály Levente, vice-president of Mureș County Council, and Kakassy Blanka and Iszlai Tamás, local councillors in Târgu Mureș – discussed a range of topics, revealing the views of young people. Among the questions they discussed were: do you trust local politics? If so, why, and if not, why not? Is politics useful or useless? Who thinks young people should be involved in local politics?
The workshop achieved its objective. During the open national dialogue, young people learned about the objectives of the COHERENT project and the organizers did not lack for feedback either. The conclusions show that basic education lacks political, civic and advocacy education. At the same time, young people note a lack of political vocabulary. They have no theoretical knowledge of state bodies, often do not even know that they exist and do not know the terms used to describe institutions. It was agreed that there should be an advocacy office in every school to protect students in case of need.
And the politicians who attended the workshop were able to identify where there is a gap in their communication with young people and the communication channels to reach them.
Young people asked questions and politicians answered, politicians asked questions and young people answered.
The roles of communicator and receiver alternated during the workshop. Young people felt that they were treated as adults and that their opinions mattered. Another goal would be to maintain such two-way communication on economic, political, environmental and educational issues, broadening the range of topics to include issues of interest to young people.
The COHERENT project has created a toolkit around three major themes: civic engagement, economic participation and the environment. The toolkit helps to identify and overcome obstacles. It also provides young people with online lessons through the COHERENT project.
Dear young people, you can access the toolkit at this link: https://coherent-knowledge-hub.com/moodle/