Project “Strengthening civil society rights by information access for European youth (SIA4Y)”
In December 2018 we started the new project co-founded by Europe for Citizens programme – “Strengthening civil society rights by information access for European youth” or SIA4Y. The idea of this project was born after official Europe for Citizens “Making the Waves” seminar in Riga 2017 and includes mainly Baltic Sea region countries, but due to a high level of competence in the specific field partner from Belgium is also part of consortia.
The Lead Partner is Polish Economic Society, branch in Gdansk, from Poland.
As the basis of a strong, properly functioning democratic state is transparency, it is very important to educate youth regarding this issue and provide tools and methods for monitoring and accessing public information. The societal activity that this project aims to achieve serves as an important tool for building accountability of public institutions and civic engagement in the decision-making processes of states and the European Union.
The main objective of this project is to increase the level of awareness, knowledge, and ability to use the right of access to public information and support freedom of information among youth. The project will contribute to increasing the level of understanding and activity of young citizens regarding public monitoring of state institutions and local government. The aim of the project activities is to enhance civic engagement on various levels – methods used in this project will raise awareness and develop youth’s abilities for accessing and monitoring public information on local (municipal), national and also international (EU) level.
Project activities will include 5 local events in each of the partner countries and 2 international conventions. The focus of the local activities will be on access to public information, stimulation of youth e-participation, participatory budgeting, media involvement and tools for the monitoring of public institutions.
Events will include the format of round-table discussion and workshops to exchange youth’s views about democratic participation, freedom of information, and access to public information. The participants will have a chance to take leadership roles, to be active and challenge others to do the same. The two international conventions – organized in Riga and Brussels – will put emphasis on best-practice sharing and benchmarking, as well as presenting two important documents that will be created after the local activities – Code of Good Practice containing guidelines on how to ensure innovative and non-formal civic education of youth in the context of access to public information and report of prioritized transparency needs at EU level which will help to plan future work and possibly new initiatives in this field.
- Polish Economic Society, branch in Gdańsk – Poland
- Social Innovation Centre – Latvia
- WeCitizens – WijBurgers – NousCitoyens – Belgium
- Aktiivinen Eurooppalainen Kansalainen Suomi Ry – Finland
- Association of Polish Communes to Euroregion Baltic – Poland
- Eesti Naisuurimus- ja Teabekeskus – Estonia
Associated Partner – Transparencia.be, Belgium
Project “Social capital development as a tool of youth civic participation in eastern Europe countries (SOCAP)”
International Civic and Citizenship Study (2009) states that differences in civic engagement and participation exist between Western and Eastern Europe countries. Other studies (Coffé, 2009) have shown that former East Bloc countries have lower levels of participation. Research “Youth Future Civic Participation in Europe(..)” (2009) states that comparing countries within the group of new democracies observed that students from Eastern Europe have lower levels of expected future participation than the established democracies.
The theme of the project reflects the general objective of the programme “To foster European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level”
Promotion of knowledge about social capital – as the civic participation form, training about European citizen’s initiative and new forms of civic engagement to be presented during the conferences and other events.
Since social capital is seen derived from the cooperation between individuals and groups then ”Roundtable discussion” can stimulate cooperation, concentrating on annual priorities of the program in 2013:
- EU: values, rights and opportunities for Citizens;
- Citizens participation in the democratic life of the EU.
The social capital is one of the first steps of trust building activities, those leading to the wider EU related civic engagement activities. We amuse that social capital is one of the major tools to foster EU values, rights and opportunities for citizens. Therefore the purpose of the project is execute program of carefully selected activities to promote development and accumulation of social capital leading to citizens participation in the democratic life. The special stress of the project are “round table discussions” – those to be held within national and international contexts and different new and existing forms/tools of civic engagement, not well known by youth.
It is important to stress youth as a target group. Young people like to have their own experience that foster commitment and skill development in chosen topic. Proposed activities in Eastern Europe countries will supply target group with opportunities to learn, engage and finally impact EU processes through discussions, learnings, trainings, workshop and common work, resulting in the development of guide developed by “youth for youth”. The participants will have chance to take leadership roles, to be active and challenge others to do the same. Hence they involvement in the project activities will support their interests and provide further input in democratic engagement.
Overall objective: Contribute to the development of civic participation at EU countries with transition economies by promotion of the social capital and European citizen’s initiative within youth sector.
Conferences, round table discussions and trainings in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Romania are going to be main forms of activities.