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70 experts from 30 different countries met in Tallinn Creative Hub from 18 till 20 June 2018 to discuss how digital solutions can be used to increase the involvement of young people in decision-making processes.
From January this year Estonia was awarded the right to host a Europe-wide SALTO-YOUTH Participation and Information Resource Centre (SALTO PI). Last week the Centre brought 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 was to identify challenges that hinder greater and more meaningful involvement of young peole in democratic processes and to connect developers of eParticipation platforms with 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. “This event was also quite unique as never before have developers of so many different platforms, practitioners and policy makers had the opportunity to meet at the same forum,” said Martinson.
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 were among the e-participation platforms represented at the seminar. An English version of a Massive Open Online Course jbjMOOC! on initiating and facilitating youth e-participation projects was also launched at 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 was organised by SALTO PI in cooperation with IJAB and the National Youth Agencies of Estonia, Latvia and Germany.