From January this year Estonia was awarded the right to host a Europe-wide SALTO-YOUTH Participation and Information Resource Centre (SALTO PI). This week the Centre is bringing together developers of e-democracy and youth e-participation platforms, youth policy makers, as well as youth workers and youth leaders for an international seminar „eXploring Youth eParticipation“. The aim of the seminar is to identify the challenges that hinder greater and more meaningful involvement of young peole in democratic processes. This event will connect and create synergies between digital solutions and their developers, youth policy makers, youth workers and youth leaders.
„Despite the fact that young people are often the initiators of innovative solutions, in most European countries the concepts of e-participation and smart youth work are not yet a common part of everyday youth work practice,“ said Martti Martinson, coordinator of SALTO PI. According to Martinson the main factor contributing to the status quo is the lack of knowledge about existing digital platforms and applications created specifically for the involvement of young people in democracy.
E-participation projects can be very diverse in their scope and focus: “For example OPIN platform has been used in Cremona, Italy by over 1000 school students to decide on the budget for student-led projects. In Malta, iParticipate team has used OPIN for brainstorming and moved the discussion on vote@16 which surely contributed to the recent decision by Maltese Parliament to lower the voting age to 16,” outlined Evaldas Rupkus, project manager at IJAB.
CitizenOS, BiPart, Brabbl, OPIN, STEP, WEchange, and YouthMetre are among the e-participation platforms that are represented at the seminar. An English version of a Massive Open Online Course jbjMOOC! on initiating and facilitating youth e-participation projects will also be launched and made freely available after the seminar.
SALTO PI is one of the six Europe-wide resource centres in the youth field which provides advice, training and resources on youth participation and information for the National Agencies of Erasmus+:Youth in Action as well as to the European Commission, youth workers and youth leaders. SALTO PI is located within Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency in Estonia and is funded through the EU Erasmus+ programme. This seminar is organised by SALTO PI in cooperation with IJAB and the National Youth Agencies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.