Young people play a crucial role in the development of their communities and can bring new ideas, perspectives, and solutions to the table. Yet, their participation in local democratic processes is often limited, especially when compared to older generations.
One of the main challenges facing youth in local democracies is the lack of representation. Many local councils and decision-making bodies are dominated by older generations, and young people often feel that their opinions and needs are not being heard.
Another challenge is the lack of engagement. Many young people are not aware of the local democratic processes and feel that their participation would not make a difference. This can be due to a lack of political education and a lack of information about how local decision-making works.
To address these challenges, there are several initiatives being taken to increase youth participation in local democracies. For example, many local councils have established youth councils or youth participation programs to provide a platform for young people to have their say.
In addition, schools can play an important role in educating young people about local democracy and the importance of their participation. By providing students with opportunities to participate in local decision-making processes, they can gain the skills and confidence they need to become active citizens.
Furthermore, it is important to provide young people with opportunities to engage with local councils and decision-makers. This could include regular consultations, public meetings, and open forums.
In conclusion, youth participation in local democracy is crucial for the future of communities. By addressing the challenges facing young people and providing them with opportunities to participate and engage, local councils can ensure that the voices and perspectives of the next generation are heard.
We truly believe that the initiatives that we designed in our NEUEYT project are great contribution towards higher youth participation on local level in the partner countries (Italy, Greece, Cyprus, N.Macedonia, France and Norway), where young people trough various events and activities had a chance to participate and meet policy makers to whom they directly address problems, but also proposed solutions and ideas for improvement of the youth policies or for their local communities in different areas, culture, education, etc.