How does a Youth Parliament work? What do young people need to make a concrete difference in their community? What does participation mean for politics and administration? Youth participation is a political mandate – and a keystone in sustainable development. After all, sustainability means that future generations have the same opportunities as the previous generations. Municipalities that attach great importance to a policy that is suitable for their grandchildren therefore plan and decide together with young people wherever possible. The YSAM project aims to give young people in the Alps a voice.
Overcoming borders, sharing experiences
Between May 2014 and October 2015, the YSAM project – “Youth Shaping Alpine Municipalities” – brought together seven youth workers and politicians and just over two dozen young people from the Alps. Their communities have had very different experiences with participation processes to date and are separated by linguistic and geographical boundaries.
Strengthening youth participation in the Alps
The project partners therefore visited each other – the best way to learn is from the experiences, stumbling blocks and stories of others. They presented why their hometowns are part of the Alps, how young people participate in decision-making and where this involvement becomes visible. Because participation only succeeds when young people and politicians get involved, YSAM also created an exchange between young people, mayors and youth representatives. Towards the end of the project, young people in their respective communities took responsibility for their own concerns and adults gave up power. After all, youth participation needs not only networking and support, but also, and above all, testbeds.