Youth Included - A European project to increase migrants' participation in youth activities
Athens, Kayseri and Sofia
Type of Information
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Contact Person Function
Structures aiming to establish bonds of friendship are instrumental for the inclusion of young nationals of third countries. Youth Included is a project implemented by a European consortium of 3 organisations (Civis Plus in Greece, Uluslararasi Genclik Aktiviteleri Merkezi Dernegi in Turkey and Centre for Immigration and Integration in Bulgaria) that supports participation of young third country national groups in youth activities across Europe.
Therefore, it strengthens the capacity of both youth and migrant organisations through joint activities and promotes the cooperation between the 2 types of organisations.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
Youth organisations can contribute and play a key role in offering opportunities for personal development, as well as for dialogue and mutual understanding between locals and immigrants. However, the majority of organisations which include young nationals of third countries describe their participation levels as very low. Those surveyed in the framework of this project expressed the wish to increase their involvement. In this context, Youth Included aims to increase the participation of third country nationals in youth activities and ultimately enhance their smooth integration into the host societies.
How does it work
To reach this goal, project partners have organised a series of events - from meetings to workshops - in all 3 participating countries.
Two questionnaires were submitted to youth workers and a selection of immigrant and refugee community organisations, with the aim of gaining insights specific issues these organisations may have encountered when managing culturally diverse groups, understanding the state of the cooperation between youth organisations and immigrant community organisations, as well as the dynamics in the participation of immigrants in youth activities.
Results showed that youth workers believed third country nationals were indifferent to their activities. A belief in sharp contrast with responses from immigrant communities, as those revealed that an overwhelming majority of immigrants and refugees were very interested in either participating in youth activities or, if they were already doing so, to further increase their participation.
Migrant communities seemed to know the potential benefits of youth activities and to particularly value the opportunity to foster youngsters' ability to socialise with the native population. They therefore expressed a great interest in increasing their collaboration with youth organisations in order to exchange practices, ideas and resources.
The main objective of the focus groups was to identify principles, practices and practical tools for the successful management of culturally mixed groups. Participants for example stressed that young nationals of third countries face specific structural, social, political and economic challenges, as well as psychological, mental and emotional difficulties that hinder their participation in the host society but can be addressed through youth work.
They were attended by practitioners active in the youth field, immigrant and refugee groups, as well as representatives of relevant NGOs and institutions. They covered three main focus points:
- continuous dialogue and information exchange
- collaborative learning
- active participation of the target groups
New ideas for good practices and practical tools were conceptualised during these workshops.
The main result is the improvement of youth workers' and (migrant communities') skills in reaching their target groups, networking, organising joint activities and managing culturally mixed groups. In addition, 2 documents were published to continue to support youth and migrant organisations in their efforts with regards to youth participation.
1. Guide for Youth Workers
The guide attempts to bring under the spotlight different elements of this multifaceted issue. It includes a mapping of demographics, practical exercise as as well good practices. A special emphasis is also put on ways to improve the cooperation between native and immigrant youth within a group or an organisation. The guide
2. Toolkit for Immigrant Communities/Organisations
The Toolkit is an attempt to comprehend and to tackle some critical issues related to including young nationals of third countries in their new social environment. The idea is to offer support on how to address issues stemming from managing culturally mixed groups. The toolkit
In addition to the questionnaires, the focus groups and the workshops, information contained in these documents also originates from an extended bibliographic research on issues relating to youth in general or immigrant and refugee youth in particular. Both are published online in four languages: English, Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish.
The project evaluated the work of both migrant and youth organisations in facilitating the inclusion of young third country nationals in European societies by increasing their participation in youth activities. Main recommendations are:
- The most pivotal factor that an immigrant community needs to take into consideration when encouraging its members to participate in youth organisations is to include parents and caregivers in the conversation.
- Youth organisations need to carefully determine a target group in order to better define the type of services to offer and the type of guidance their are equipped to provide. Therefore, youth organisations need to understand the limits of services they can provide efficiently and to identify their aims accordingly to the means available to them.
- Youth organisations have to respect the duality - between their obligations to their families and communities and their desire to become include with their native peers - young immigrants and refugees may be experiencing and support them in their attempt to reconcile values that appear to be mutually exclusive.
- Youth organisations should also seek to establish relations with community leaders.
Who will benefit?
Migrant and youth organisations are the direct beneficiaries of the Youth Included project but the main beneficiaries are expected to be the young people from third countries living in Europe, as the increase of their participation in youth activities is to help them combat marginalisation and facilitate their smooth integration into the host societies.
Furthermore, European native youngsters participating in youth activities are also potential beneficiaries, as they will gain intercultural skills.
Source of funding and Resources used
The project was funded by the European Union's Erasmus+ Programme.