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Youth participation – but how?

Jul 04, 2018
More youth participation in the Alps is the aim – but the process is often slow to take shape in cities and towns. The “Toolbox for Youth Participation”, produced by the GaYA project, offers help in starting up.
Image caption:
A new Toolbox helps to stimulate youth participation. © CIPRA International

Existing approaches to youth participation frequently try to force young people into existing bureaucratic processes. Young people are often not involved in party politics, however: they are instead politically active on social media or in various cultural, sports and social organisations.

The project partners in the INTERREG Alpine Space Project Gaya (Governance and Youth in the Alps) have developed a toolbox for youth participation: the GaYA Toolbox for Youth Participation demonstrates new ways and approaches to participation to meet the needs of both young people and politicians. For GaYA project partner Matevž Straus, an adviser to the Slovenian town of Idrija, there is no one-size-fits-all solution: “Young people are not a homogeneous group and this should be reflected in how we approach youth participation." The objective should rather be to stimulate bespoke participatory processes at local level.

The Toolbox contains selected case studies from throughout the Alps that show the diversity of participation processes, from simple steps such as listening to young people, to more complex and comprehensive activities aimed at involving youth in sharing power and responsibilities. Templates make it easier to create individual participation processes, while cards suggest solutions to common problems, such as the alleged lack of interest or unrealistic demands.

The Toolbox and its contents are available for download in all the Alpine languages at


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