European societies face many societal challenges – think of growing inequalities, a crisis of democracy, a political shift to the right, an unfolding climate and environmental crisis, and shrinking civic spaces. Many young people, especially from marginalized groups, are and will be particularly affected by these challenges1. Their views and voices should therefore play an important role in the decisions on how to address these issues. Yet thus far, there remains a limited representation of young people’s views and voices in Europe’s2 societal and political processes.3
The reasons for this phenomenon are multidimensional and can by no means be reduced to a lack of interest in politics amongst the younger generations themselves.4 Rather, research has identified a disconnect between young people and the political system5, a growing distrust of political institutions and decision-makers6, feelings of low political self-efficacy7, and structural and institutional barriers8, as some prominent factors that limit participation and exclude young people9.
We have identified peer-driven democratic citizenship education as a means to address the lack of representation of young people’s views and voices in (European) political processes. It is through both, courses in schools and in-depth engagement with our network-members that we aim to achieve a long-term societal impact.
The following graphic illustrates our impact logic: it schows, how our vision and mission relate to our activities, and how they in turn feed into societal change.
Central to our impact logic are regular evaluations of our work. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, we evaluate our activities on all impact-levels. This allows us to continuously check the quality of our activities, see whether we can identify an impact of our activities on a personal- and societal level, and if necessary adapt our work accordingly.
- Declaration of the 3rd European Youth Work Convention.
- When speaking of Europe, we do not limit itself to the existing institutional setting of the European Union. Rather, we refer to the framework, values and vision of the European Convention of Human Rights by the Council of Europe and its 47 member states, whose stated aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and rule of law in Europe.
- Sloam & Henn (2017), Rejuvenating Politics: Young Political Participation in a Changing World. Youthquake 2017. Palgrave Studies in Young People and Politics. Shell-Jugendstudie (2019), retrieved from: www.shell.de/ueber-uns/shell-jugendstudie.html
- Grasso (2018), Young People’s Political Participation in Europe in Times of Crisis, in Pickard & Bessant (eds.), Young People Re-Generating Politics in Times of Crisis, Palgrave Studies in Young People and Politics.
Studie der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung „Sprichst du Politik?“ (2011), retrieved from: www.sprichst-du-politik.de
- Sloam & Henn (2017).
- Jugendstudie der TUI-Stiftung – „Junges Europa“ (2018), retrieved from: www.tui-stiftung.de/media/junges-europa-2018-die-jugendstudie-der-tui-stiftung
- Studie der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung „Sprichst du Politik?“ (2011), retrieved from: www.sprichst-du-politik.de
- At this point, it is important to note that barriers to participation do not affect all young people the same, as they intersect with discrimination based on race, ethnicity, class, religion, belief, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, health, ability, and/or other social status. See also our DOOD mission statement.
- Sloam & Henn (2017).