Training participatory youth policy
Dariusz: Welcome to this episode of UNDER 30 podcast, brought to you by the EU - Council of Europe youth partnership.
The new T-kit is out, T-kit number 15 on participatory youth policy.
The training kits - T-kits - are publications for trainers, facilitators, educators, working with young people.
They are easy to use.
They are very practical.
They are thematic educational material designed for training and facilitating learning with groups of young people.
My name is Dariusz Grzemny and in this episode, we are talking about this new
publication with Tanya Basarab from the youth partnership, Ajša Hadžibegović who is one
of the authors of the ticket and Miriam Teuma, one of the contributors to the T-kit.
So let's start.
Today we are discussing the newest publication of the partnership, which is the next, T-kit.
So it's the T-kit number 15.
So there are already 15 publications.
T-kits are very popular publications of the youth partnership.
They are popular because they are very practical.
They are introducing the topic and they are also very practical in terms of providing guidance and
also even practical activities that can be used with different stakeholders, whoever is using the T-kit.
So, T-kit number 15 on participatory youth policy.
Why this T-kit, Tanya, in the partnership on youth policy?
Tanya: So, youth policy has been a topic, one of the three areas that the
partnership has been working on, which is common between the partner institutions.
They approach it differently.
And for many years the partnership was mostly supporting with knowledge gathering.
So, through the European Knowledge Center for Youth Policy with their members, researchers, we were doing analysis.
We had published a first manual on developing a youth policy strategy.
And then we published a second manual, from a European perspective, how to develop
youth policy, which, kind of moved from linear to cyclical approaches to youth policy
and introduced several of the most debated aspects of youth policy in European context.
And for several years, the partnership ran a couple of rounds of a project called Shaping Youth Policy in Practice.
And through that project, usually five or six countries were setting up and trying very concrete implementation
of youth policy actions, plans, and then they would meet again at the end and evaluate how that went.
So it was really trying to share the knowledge and to help people adapt it into practice.
All of this is also organized and structured in the Essentials of Youth Policy MOOC.
So, there were all these different approaches, but when we developed the new youth
policy manual, we realized it becomes very complex and we needed to help people to
have some hands on guidance and templates to try educational activities on this topic.
And this was the idea that the T-kit in fact, helps people implement what is in the manual in very practical approaches.
Dariusz: Thank you, Tanya.
So, practical manually, as I said before, T-kits are usually very practical.
This topic is very new in terms of T-kit and it's not very new in terms of what you are doing in the partnership.
But yeah, usually youth policy and youth organizations, especially the smaller youth
organizations, sometimes they might be very afraid of tackling the issue of youth policy?
They sometimes distance themselves a little bit from youth policy.
This T-kit is on participatory youth policy.
Can we explain what is this actually this participatory youth policy?
Just to start out with discussion.
Ajsa: It's basically what we were attempting to do in distinguishing why
youth policies are, let's say different than any other public policy.
From one side, you can argue that it's public policy as any, but actually there is this difference in...
by nature of youth participation in it and being it in the heart of how the policy should be shaped.
And that's what we were trying also to put in the heart of the T kit, in a sense of making sure that every
aspect, every step of public policy making, but then also of implementation and monitoring and evaluation of
the public policy, is somehow coupled with the principles of youth participation and with the principles of,
what has been a mantra in the youth sector of, you know, nothing about us without us, said by young people
and for that, you definitely cannot leave it, to the young people on their own to figure out how to work out
the policy context because it can be very, complex and very confusing, even for youth workers, I would say,
and then that's the idea of why the educational aspect of, how to understand the policies, how to understand
principles of policymaking, how to figure out what could be the vision of, you know, what you want to change
with the policy, how to engage with different actors in the policy field, and then also how to monitor and
evaluate it and have your voice present everywhere, would make sense for the educational activities, being
it in youth work or non formal education or elsewhere for young people and those working with young people.
Dariusz: Thanks Aisha.
Miriam, you are a policymaker.
You contributed to the T-kit.
It's really important that young people are involved in youth
policy development and also implementation, so on every step.
The T-kit is a training kit.
It's about training people.
Do you think policymakers could be trained with this T-kit?
And if yes, on what and how?
Miriam: Thank you for inviting me.
I think this T-kit is the beginning.
I see it as the beginning of how we can educate people and
engaging people in the learning process of how to develop policy.
I mean, both the policy makers and the young people, I mean, many times, we
think that it's very easy to develop policy and also implement policy.
It's because we think that, it's something that comes just naturally, but in a way, we
felt that you need an education on how to develop policy and how to implement it.
So, if we look at the exercises of this T-kit, it's a way on how to introduce both young people and
administrators into the policy cycle, into, ways on how to start thinking on how to develop policy.
We always complain that young people are not so participative sometimes.
I mean, that not all young people are interested in policy making.
And it's true, not all young people are interested in policy making.
But there is also a step.
Sometimes it's not because they're interested, but sometimes it's because they don't have the confidence to do this.
So educating them into how they should participate, educating them into what are
the elements of youth policy and what their contribution is, is very important.
So the idea over here is to educate to participate.
I mean, it's not just to participate, but I'm educating you on how you should participate.
Dariusz: Thank you, Miriam.
And probably also motivate young people as well.
I mean, motivation comes from getting self confidence and also
education, especially on the complex issue like youth policy.
So maybe let's start with Talking about what's inside.
What can we find there?
How supportive this material can be to different stakeholders.
Ajsa: I think the T-kit is massive.
Not to say that it's scary, no, but this huge resource really has a potential of
supporting engagement of young people and I would say, all those working with young people
and supporting young people engagement, because it provides several entry points, no?
And with that, what I mean is that there are five sections in the T kit, and each of the section
is kind of thematically rounded, and each of the section has not just the educational activities
there that are proposed but kind of theoretical input that is necessary to understand that section.
And I mean, this is also something that is very much summarized, no?
There are still links to resources where you could learn more and get
more in depth understanding or get more information about a specific topic.
But, you know, it provides enough for an educator to understand the area in which the activity then could be realized.
And these five sections, if you allow me, I think it's worth sharing what they are, because they are kind of following
the public policy cycles in general, but then with this specific seasoning of what makes it participatory there, no?
And then the first section is about understanding youth policy.
And then, the second one looks more into the principles of policy making.
And I would say, the third one, which is kind of in the middle, you would say, and some people would argue this
is where we need to start, is the one on visioning what kind of change we want to bring in with youth policy.
But actually we thought, if you look at this sequencing, it needs to be in the middle because you
need first to understand, what Miriam was referring to before, you need to first understand what
we are talking about, what is the whole ecosystem of the public policies before we can see then
what could be the role of youth policy and what could be, what we could engage with changing.
So, that's three, no?
Understanding the public policy principles and then visioning of the change.
And the fourth one was more about looking even more into details, looking into the ecosystem
and identifying or mapping how we call the section, who are the actors and how to engage with them.
And this is what we are also finding that's crucial, or, you know, I keep saying that every
of these sections is crucial, but this is also one of the very important elements of how then
you can make any engagement of young people actually worthwhile because they're engaging
with the right actors or spending their energy discussing or bringing the issues to them.
And final section or the fifth one is on monitoring and evaluation, which again in its own is very important one
because even if we create the greatest youth policy, if its implementation is not monitored by participation of young
people and if it's not evaluated with the experiences and voices of young people, again, you know, we could miss a lot.
So with these five sections, I mean, there are 32 activities, again, really huge resource.
But I would say that those activities are built in such a way that they could be
created, recreated or, you know, implemented in a solely educational environment.
But I think what this T-kit is bringing, kind of as a step further, is that those activities could be supportive
also in the educational environment that could result in actual youth participation in youth policy making.
Which is really making this additional step and a kind of additional effort of supporting young
people to actually then participate so that we don't, let's say, finish with this was educational
purpose, this was simulation, this was exercise and now let's leave it to what might come next.
But actually those activities are designed for youth workers or educators who
are looking to support young people to actually engage with some policy processes,
being it at local or European level that they could do it by using those activities.
Maybe just one more feature that I think it's interesting there is that we are proposing with
different activities, of course, as in different T-kits before, this one, different variations
and kind of, you know, what to look at and what to be sensitive about and attentive about.
But then we are proposing which of those activities is kind of connected or what could be the next step with
some other activity in that or one of the other sections in this five section T-kit that I was explaining.
So it really provides, let's say, even a path, if you want, of navigation from
wherever you start with the T-kit, you don't need to start linearly, but from
wherever you start, what are the needs of the young people who are there as learners.
You could kind of be directed or find some of the pointers where to continue with
or what could be the next step to offer to the young people as learners there.
And I think that's supportive to the educational design for this topic, which, you know, one
could argue is complex and not necessarily something that's, as you were saying at the beginning,
not necessarily something that's coming so naturally to a lot of us in the field, but it should be.
That's, that's my opinion.
Dariusz: I think that's the issue that a lot of youth organizations are faced with that they would like to do that.
They would like to make young people aware of the impact of youth policy, or they would like to even involve
young people in policymaking, but they don't know how, dealing with the resistance, also debunking a lot
of myths about youth policy that is actually nothing that it doesn't have impact on their lives and so on.
And I think that's important to devise this kind of path on what is the entry point for young people to actually
understand the value of participation in policymaking and where it will lead us, what we are going to end up with.
It's a very big resource.
It's a huge book.
I can imagine if you are a youth worker and you are already quite knowledgeable about the youth policy making and
also the landscape of youth policy in Europe, then you may look at the activities, actually, how they can support
you in your work as the youth worker or educator to actually introduce it to the young people and get them involved.
But yeah, but there are a lot of other organizations that would
like to do it, and they maybe don't have so much experience.
Do they have to read the whole manual to actually get started and get prepared?
How do you actually involve youth organizations?
And how do you make sure that they are involved?
Or how you convince them that this is a good tool they can use
to introduce this and support the participation of young people?
Ajsa: If I can attempt to answer first, let's say again, let's repeat again.
It's not scary.
It's a big, rich potential of resources there.
And I would say, I mean, it really depends on the personal style
of any educator, you know, or anyone who engages with young people.
There are youth workers and educators who, you know, read from beginning to the end, any manual that is there
and then decide what's important for them and how to adapt it to the youth groups that they're working with.
And then there are those who are just looking for specific activity for this specific thing.
And, you know, by, by keyword searching, finding their way.
I would recommend for this T-kit to really discuss it with young people.
In the nature of participatory policymaking I think that's the only way to go about it, to
really discuss with young people and clarify what they want to learn, what they want to explore,
what they want to engage with, with an emphasis also what they want to engage with, because
then from there, there is this entry point, in the T kit that could be taken as a first.
I would recommend, I mean, this is what we were discussing as authors of the T kit of, you know, how
to make it more, useful to anyone who is engaging with these texts and with these educational activities.
And we decided against having a big theoretical chunk at the beginning and then activities
somewhere, you know, towards the end, because then you really skip the opportunity to easily
find this connection between theoretical and educational practical application of that theory.
So that's why each section is starting with this short, theoretical input, which
is few pages, and it shouldn't be too much to read and kind of get the idea.
And even through this, let's say, theoretical part, there is reference to, you know, if there is a
little theory describing, for instance, a principle of policymaking that is talking about inclusiveness,
then there is immediately at the end of that little paragraph a reference to which activity actually is
tackling that principle and could be helpful if you want to discuss this with the youth group, you know.
So in that sense, I would say that there was attempt to make it connected, you know, that
there is connection between theoretical discussion and then practical educational activity.
And with that said, maybe just to say, I mean, the main focus is on young people and youth organizations,
of course, but I would also encourage everyone to look at it as a resource that could be used by youth
organizations to engage in discussions with the policymakers or to engage in discussions with, you know,
other actors in the field because every activity has this possibility that the groups or learners that are
engaging with it is not necessarily just young people, but it could be multi stakeholder groups, which again
is bringing an additional value when different opinions and different discussions, different experiences
are being shared in the learners group and kind of being discussed, and people getting awareness of it.
And I think in that way T-KIT is really offering multiple choices of how could it be used and how could it be useful
with the end idea of, or the resulting idea of really supporting more youth engagement in shaping youth policies.
Dariusz: Thank you for this.
Okay, this is a resource.
We already said that it can be used by many people, by many stakeholders just
to make sure that young people are involved in policy making, but how this manual
can support the implementation and development of youth policy on different levels.
Because I can understand that it can be used on national level, local level, young people can create local
youth policies or on European level if you are international organization, not necessarily national as well.
So, how this manual can actually contribute to youth policy implementation and development.
Miriam: In reality, when we look at the T-kits, I mean, first of all,
it's true it's a big T-kit, but it's written in very simple language.
Let's start off with this, and many times when we look even at the previous publications
that we have as, Tanya was explaining at the beginning, this is made in a more simple way.
So for those who are really starting off, and it's not only the young people.
I mean there are administrators, there are sometimes, politicians and
stakeholders who are involved in policy making and, and are still new.
And I think that this T-kit would be a good read, especially the first two chapters, like I mean
of course on how to stick it and then the second chapter, is a good read to make you understand
what youth policy is all about, why are we doing it, and what's happening at a European level,
which you in a way can adopt if you're using it at regional, national level or local level.
So, so in a way, I suggest that this would be your first attempt to try and understand youth policy.
And in a way, as I was saying, since it's going to be your first attempt, it allows you to
understand what your policy is about, and also gives you an idea on how you can continue increasing
your competencies, like reading further, and doing other things, you know, informing yourself.
The next level, then, is...
Can I continue learning about it and the fact that we believe in the developmental aspect of young people.
You know, I see this as a way on how to develop the skills of young people and also those who are not young, I mean
through the educational activities and to increase their competence and develop their knowledge on how to start
developing policy, or if I end up in a place where youth policy has already been developed, but I'm in the place where
I have to start implementing the policy, I can also go through some educational process to start implementing it.
So, so this is the way I see and this T-kit can be used and I see it as the first simple way to start using it.
Tanya: Maybe I can add a few points.
We've had for many years the Have Your Say manual, which was based on
the Charter for Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life.
At European level the Council of Europe has its statutory bodies, and co management.
The EU is running regularly these very large consultations through the EU Youth Dialogue.
But in the T-kit we wanted to help even those consultative structures that might exist at local level, youth
councils, to give them some support for practical activities, practical initiatives they might want to do.
So, it's not always when we talk about youth policy, we don't mean that there has to be a document designed
in this very classical way with two rounds of research and consultation and participation and input.
And then we have a document.
But it's rather to say, Okay, so in my community, we want to improve the free time spaces for young people.
Let me look in here and see what we can do together.
So, I find that the authors, we had quite a good input first through, through a wide expert group, but the
authors have really worked very, very hard at designing this very concrete activities that are immediately
explained, as both Ajsa and Miriam were talking about this conceptual and activity are connected in this T-kit.
They even co opted experts who wrote activities that involve a digital aspect, a digital dimension,
so trying to really think of designing activities or adapting what used to be activities in offline
mode, to do it in an interactive mode where young people feel comfortable and more confident to engage.
So, I think that's really an added value of the way this T-kit has shaped and from the
experience of the participating countries in shaping youth policy in practice, it's
always surprising to see that the most obvious is the most challenging sometimes.
For example, even setting up these mixed expertise delegations.
When you say, please bring youth organizations, policy makers, researchers and experts from other fields.
And that is even another dimension that this cross sectoral or bringing this youth perspective to other fields.
It's something that is growing as in interest at European level, but it's a challenge for local level even.
Who do I involve and how do I convince them that the value of what I try to do with the young people is important?
So we hope that this T-kit also helps people gain this competence and this confidence
to be able to run these processes with some good outcome, with some purpose.
Miriam: In a way, to continue on what Tania is saying, I see this T-kit even to be used in a youth club, you know.
I mean, youth policy is not just European, at European level or at national level or, you know, it's something,
but I might also need, want to do a policy in my youth club, and there are some activities in there, which
I can do with young people first to engage them to participate and then develop a policy for our youth club.
I mean, we always think that youth policy is something huge or something to be done at national or or European level.
But in a way, if we really want the young people to start participating and interesting themselves
in policy, which is beyond their community, it has to start within the community first.
And this is a way, using this T-kit, is a way on how to start engaging young people in
policy at, at a very grassroots level, and which then can move on, a few of them can move
on, and to involve themselves and participate at other levels outside their community.
Dariusz: Thank you.
I think that now it's very clear that this can be used basically by everybody who is
interested in developing policy, youth policy or policies related to young people, like you
said, Miriam, even in the youth club or in the youth organization, not only on the big level.
But we all also know that the success of any publication actually depends on how we are going to reach people with it..
People need to be maybe sometimes trained even how to use the publication, what to do with it.
It also depends on how it's promoted, and who is addressed with it and so on.
Tanya, what the partnership is going to do to make people aware that this publication exists and, it's
a valuable resource they can use in actually implementing or developing policy, a youth policy and,
thinking about even from the youth club perspective, going on the bigger level, you know, sometimes
young people want to be involved, but as we said several times in this episode, they don't know how.
So what the partnership is planning to do.
You already mentioned the MOOC on youth policy.
What else is planned?
Tanya: Maybe just to clarify that the processes of the layout and the visual design for
the T-kit was parallel to the update of the content of the MOOC on youth policy essentials.
And we, of course, used this as an occasion to transfer quite a lot of the
activities and actions developed for the T-kit into the design of the MOOC.
The MOOC remains a broad outreach, and very generic outreach channel.
But apart from podcasts, we will have to see also with the authors
how we could maybe record a few very short videos about its purpose.
So, continue to use the audio visual dimension.
We are still finalizing some illustrations, some posters that
try to organize some parts of the manual on youth policy.
So that is something that will help to disseminate the TKIT as well.
And, we are proposing to run dissemination, at least one concrete dissemination activity,
also as part of the shaping youth policy in practice in the next biannual program.
And there will be many occasions where we will have meetings with practitioners on the ground.
And for all those meetings, we hope that we will have a space to introduce the T-kit.
Actually, I think that this particular T-kit, there has been a call for such a tool for a long time.
Of course we will disseminate it through the statutory bodies, so
the youth organizations and the government representatives.
And we have a few networks of practitioners connected to us on the implementation of the youth work agenda.
And of course, this is part of youth policy implementation.
And, we hope also to do the outreach through our partners, because
we have a network of partners that also reaches out to other groups.
Dariusz: Thank you all for being here today in our podcast.
The new T-kit on participatory youth policy is available for download now from the partnership website.
And you will find the link to it in the notes to this episode.