The EU Youth Strategy 2010-2018 has as one of its main objectives to encourage young people to actively participate in society.
To achieve this and the other objectives a dual approach is proposed, which includes:
• Specific youth initiatives, targeted at young people to encourage non-formal learning, participation, voluntary activities, youth work, mobility and information.
• ‘Mainstreaming’ cross-sector initiatives that ensure youth issues are taken into account when formulating, implementing and evaluating policies and actions in other fields with a significant impact on young people, such as education, employment or health and well-being.
The strategy proposes that these initiatives be developed in eight areas, and one of them is the participation initiatives.
This project aims to analyze, in three countries of the EU’s Mediterranean axis, specific and cross-sector initiatives that have focused on the participation, in order to identify those that have been good practice and can be replicated in other countries.
THEORETICAL APPROACH: WHAT DO WE MEAN BY PARTICIPATION?
This project starts from a sociological concept of participation in which it is defended that in order for the human being to develop fully, it is fundamental that he finds ways of participation in the environment to which he belongs.
From this assertion, it is derived that participating in the life of the community, will make the groups with more risks of social exclusion (young, immigrants, refugee etc.) feel more fulfilled and therefore, more integrated in their environment.
Assuming this theoretical approach, it is necessary to make clear what we mean by the concept of participation and from what point of view we are going to approach it.
The point of view is that the concept of participation is not unique and is not only identified with political participation. Participation, as many authors point out, is a dynamic process in which citizens engage voluntarily and consciously in the various aspects related to their daily lives.
From this point of view, two approaches emerge that will structure the way to identify good practices on the participation of young immigrants:
1- There are many areas of participation.
2- We participate in what we have close and affects our daily life. In other words, we participate primarily at the local or regional level.
The main objective of the project is to identify and exchange at the transnational level, good practices in promoting the social integration of young immigrants through participation.
These good practices will be identified, at local and regional level in three countries on the EU’s Mediterranean axis.
The project also aims to generate a guide to disseminate the good practices identified, so that they can be replicated in other regions of other EU member countries.
The expected result is that the process of identifying and disseminating good practices to promote the social integration of young people through participation helps to prevent, in the EU, social conflicts associated with the exclusion and / or radicalization of this group.
The work methodology is best suited to meet the two approaches to identify good practices:
1- There are many areas of participation.
2- We participate primarily at the local or regional level.
Areas of participation
Actions to promote the participation of young immigrants in the following areas will be analyzed:
– Actions to promote political participation.
– Actions to promote participation through associationism and volunteering.
– Actions to promote participation through training and access to employment.
– Actions to promote participation through culture and sport.
– Actions to promote participation through the family.
Participation at the local or regional level
It is very important that partners and associate partners who work and collaborate in the project are:
– Regional and local administrations.
– NGOs working with immigrant youth.
– NGOs and other social institutions that collaborate with regional and local governments in actions to promote the participation of young immigrants.
Collaboration between all these agents is the key for being able to identify good practices and consequently, to exchange and disseminate them.
Direct beneficiaries of the project are:
– The project partners and their associate partners who will participate in an exchange of good practices at the transnational level.
Indirect beneficiaries of the project are:
– Local and regional governments of the EU that can replicate good practices presented in the final manual.
– Young immigrants from the EU who will benefit from the exchange of knowledge among the agents involved in developing actions to promote their social inclusion.