Youth and COVID-19: make the voice heard
- 6. July 2020
- Posted by: Ingrida Jotkaite
- Category: News
Europe and the rest of the world faced an unprecedented crisis which created a new health crisis, hit the world economies and aggravated the climate and environmental crises. It has disrupted all aspects of life for all groups in society. The governments need to anticipate the impact of mitigation and recovery measures across different age groups, by applying effective governance mechanisms.
Based on OECD survey findings from 90 youth organisations from 48 countries, the policy brief outlines practical measures governments can take to design inclusive and fair recovery measures that leave no one behind. E-participation can help to build back better for all generations applying a youth and intergenerational lens in crisis response and recovery measures across the public administration.
E-participation initiatives during the pandemic
As the policy brief shows, making different voices in society heard, both younger and older, is critical to delivering a more inclusive response. For example, several OECD countries, including Estonia, Germany, Poland and Switzerland, have launched e-participation initiatives to engage citizens in the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, while Italy established a multi-stakeholder task force to address the spread of disinformation linked to the pandemic. Some of these initiatives used open government data to inform, engage and innovate in collaboration with citizens.
Involving youth stakeholders from diverse backgrounds can rebuild trust, generate their interest in politics and integrate long-term considerations in crisis response and recovery strategies. The COVID-19 crisis has proven that youth workers, youth organisations as well as non-organised youth can be partners in providing support to people’s well-being, especially for vulnerable groups and for people that are unlikely to be aware of relevant government services and support.
The global initiative “Youth Speak” (AIESEC Portugal) and the Appeal Paper (National Youth Council of Ukraine) in Ukraine, provide online platforms that enable youth to inform decision-making in matters that concern them and to ensure that organisations and centres within their communities, which provide activities and programmes to the public, are supported by governments.
Young people can act as a “connective tissue” in public institutions, decision-making processes and public consultations to bridge short-term concerns and long-term objectives and build more fair and inclusive policy outcomes and societal resilience.
Positive effects require skills
It is critical for governments to capture, retain and build on current youth mobilisation to strengthen society’s resilience and readiness for future shocks. There is no doubt that digital youth participation can empower young people to become active citizens from the local to the European level. However, the positive effects come when the participation process is run professionally – just to use digital tools is not enough to inspire administrations, young people and youth organizations to collaborate. Potential initiators may lack the experience, human and financial resources needed to plan and conduct a successful e-participation process.
The Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project “DIGY – Digital youth participation made easy” tackles this problem by delivering qualification and capacity building for initiators of digital youth participation projects. The e-learning materials designed will be integrated into the OPIN platform, a professional online toolbox for digital youth participation that is already available in 10 European languages. OPIN itself will be improved in its user navigation. Thus, the European-wide infrastructure for digital youth participation is strengthened and enriched by modules which increase the know-how on how to run a successful digital youth participation project.
Everyone can follow DIGY’s progress and results, which can definitely be used for building resilience and anti-fragility of public institutions and empowering young people.
You can find the full policy brief HERE.
Source: OECD, DIGY