YAMAG Focus Group: Examining Youth Participation in Our Community

We recently organized a focus group aimed at understanding the state of youth engagement in our community. The event was held under the YAMAG – Youth and Municipality Act Global project, funded by the Erasmus+ Programme. The session brought together educators, community leaders, and young individuals to provide a comprehensive view of the issue. Here’s a recap of what was discussed and the key findings. 

Successful Initiatives

The conversation kicked off with a look at what’s been working to engage young people over the past year. Skill development workshops, mobility programs, and community events like local competitions and environmental cleanups have seen significant success. Social media platforms, notably Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, along with messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, emerged as efficient channels of communication.

The positive impact was apparent: young participants not only engaged but also started to contribute their own project ideas, showed a heightened interest in volunteering and displayed increased self-confidence.

Obstacles to Participation

The focus group also addressed the challenges young people face when it comes to community involvement. Time constraints due to school pressures and misinformation were among the top barriers, along with family pressures to prioritize other activities. Traditional media and emails for those under 18 were identified as ineffective communication channels.

Ideas for Improvement

The discussion then moved to brainstorm new ways to improve youth participation. The consensus pointed to the importance of social media and technology for communication, as well as aligning community initiatives with subjects like climate change and mental health, which resonate with young people. Simplicity in messaging was also advised to prevent disengagement.

Actionable Steps

Lastly, the group considered what concrete actions could be taken to foster youth participation. Clear identification of problems, effective strategizing, and allocation of resources were agreed upon as initial steps. Monitoring, evaluation, and the sharing of results were also emphasized as essential for improvement.

Immediate Priorities

Going forward, transparent communication and direct consultations with young people emerged as immediate priorities. Other suggestions included the creation of opportunities for volunteering and internships, accessible resources, and avenues for skill development and education. Reward systems to recognize youth participation were also discussed.

Conclusion

The focus group has been a valuable exercise in understanding and strategizing the way forward for youth engagement in our community. We thank all participants for their input and look forward to translating these insights into actionable steps.

Stay around for more updates on the YAMAG project and how we plan to put these findings into action.

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The toolkit “Methodologies and Tools to Boost Youth Participation” aims to offer practical guidance for increasing youth involvement in local governance and community affairs. It is targeted at youth workers, educators, and local administrations who wish to build stronger ties with the youth population.

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