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Youth Rebuilds a Brave New Europe

 

As a result of COVID-19, the world is going through an unexpected social and economic crisis with long-term consequences for young people. In 2021, as we reimagine our societies after the COVID-19 crisis, we will need young people to show decision-makers what better inclusion and participation look like.

Young people are ready to organise but are asking for capacity- and skills-building. In order to empower young people to advocate for, implement and disseminate the social and economic solutions we have been developing, while ensuring their participation in decision-making processes, FYEG is organising a one-year project which aims to:

  1. Explore the role of the youth and youth-led organisations in building and sharing the social and economic solutions needed to transition towards a just, fair and sustainable Europe;
  2. Explore and pursue methods of democratisation and inclusive decision-making processes among youth organisations and youth-led movements in Europe today;
  3. Build upon our tools and publications created in past years, by further disseminating them through creative mediums, and by feeding content into the Activist Handbook, a Wikipedia-like site for knowledge on activism (a result of the Work Plan 2019)

 

Project background

It is the young people across our planet who were most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Many of them are losing their jobs without any welfare, cannot afford private housing or are cut off from online education. Pandemic is not only physical danger but also burdens our mental health. The crisis is a fertile ground for authoritarian regimes endangering freedom and shrinking the space for civil society.

Young Greens are well aware of these challenges compound by the pandemics and already have the solutions. To implement them, we now more than ever better inclusion systems and active youth participation. The European Union and other EU institutions recognise its value. The planned Conference on the Future of Europe or Climate Pact Citizens’ Dialogue are some examples. But when the dialogue initiatives are top-down, we cannot ensure that participation goes beyond answering questions in a survey.

Therefore, the project plan involves a wide range of actions, both in digital form and IRL intending to pursue more inclusive and democratic interactions, processes and structures among youth-led groups and organisations. It will allow young activists from Young Greens and other progressive movements to learn about the different online and offline tools to advocate for better youth participation in civil society.

 

Project activities

1. Online training

A series of 3 training (May, June and July) will be organised online to create space for youth organisations to reflect on the current status of their groups after one year of virtual organising and support one another through the exchange of best practices and tools for building resilience and invest in participation in difficult times. It will introduce topics and methods that will be analysed in more depth in the next activities.

This series of webinars will be led by people from Member Organizations, not in the traditional top-down approach, which means it will be rather facilitated than created by FYEG. It aims to build the skills of MOs and increase international networking between them.

We will (1) explore how youth organisations take decisions and mature politically, (2) reflect on what it means for youth organisations to build and sustain an organisational culture, including the barriers, (3) exchange successful online and offline tools for decision-making and participation.

Dates: May-July 2021Duration: 3x 1.5h-long webinarsLocation: Online Working language: English Number of people: N/A

 

2. Young Greens Summer Festival

In August 2021 it will be almost two years since Young Greens have gathered IRL internationally. This year, our traditional Summer Camp transforms! FYEG will organise a 6-day long community-managed and self-sufficient outdoor festival gathering 300 Young Greens and representatives of other progressive movements. This will be the occasion to look back at the challenges and learnings of one year of digital organising, as well as undertaking a journey of introspective reflection of our groups and movements to imagine a way forward for more resiliency.

The aim of this activity is to pursue more inclusive and democratic interactions, processes and structures among youth-led groups and organisations, as well as learning about the different online and offline tools to advocate for better youth participation in civil society.

We will (1) explore the struggles with active participation for youth-led organisations, movements and informal groups in different parts of Europe, (2) create space to reflect on the common culture of green youth organisations and movements - including elements of supremacy culture, patriarchal structures and canceling culture - as well as undergoing a process of collective imagination to envision how a society free of these elements looks like, (3) equip young people with the tools to analyse and transform the organisational structures, participation methods and decision-making processes of their group, (4) promote and develop skills of community organising.

Dates: August 2021 Duration: 6 working days Location: TBD Working language: English Number of people: 300 CALL FOR HOST ORGANIZATION (OPEN UNTIL 10 APRIL 2021)

CALL FOR PREP-TEAM MEMBERS (LINK)

 

3. Write-a-thon

With the experiences gained through the first two events, young people from all the movements presented at the summer festival will take part in an online write-a-thon hosted in collaboration with Activist Handbook (Wikipedia-like site for knowledge on activism, the product of AWP2019). It will ensure FYEG’s support and collaboration with other progressive youth movements.

A write-a-thon aims to collect all the tools and advice for better democratic participation and make it accessible to more movements. Through this exercise implemented together with them, we want to transform the conversations held during the sessions at the summer camp into a comprehensive and accessible guide/toolkit. We will (1) experiment with an online exercise of collective imagination and co-creation, (2) reach out to a greater number of people to educate them about the tools and methods explored during the previous two phases of the work plan.

The project is supported by the European Youth Foundation of Council of Europe and organised in collaboration with the European Greens. One of the seminar workshops is organised by the Green European Foundation with the support of the FYEG and with the financial support of the European Parliament to the GEF.