Students and young decision-makers gathered on 12th April in Tallinn to learn about information access and gender budgeting. The event “Who wins from budgets?” was part of the project “Strengthening civil society rights by information access for European youth”.
To begin the day with, we tried to break the notion of typical political and civic engagement by asking whether the participants can name one actively or passively made political act from that morning. The answers were creative: from using a canvas bag with a call to action message to bringing their own water bottle to reduce waste.
That discussion helped to create a feeling that it even small steps have an impact and that it is relatively fun and easy to be engaged in society.
The first half of the day continued with a kahoot.com quiz on freedom to access information. The quiz helped to introduce the topic in a fun and interactive way.
After the introduction to the principles and tools of information access, it was time to listen to young decision-makers. Laura Danilas describes herself as “the voice of youth” in Tartu city council as she was elected just after graduating from high school. She talked about what motivates her as a young person to be actively involved. Laura also introduced her job and explained a civic involvement mechanism, participatory budgeting, that is being used in Tartu.
This was followed by open discussion about barriers to involvement, motivation to be engaged and how knowledge about information access could improve active involvement.
The second half of the day was dedicated to gender budgeting. Former Estonian Commissioner of Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Mari-Liis Sepper introduced the methodology of gender budgeting tying it well together with the necessity to have access to information. After the introduction to the methodology, the participants had a chance to apply the fresh knowledge by analysing two fictional local government budgets from a gender perspective.