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Dealing with Youth Integration in Rural Areas in Europe

Year of publication2005
Author(s)V. Lafond
How to tackle the issue of young people exclusion in rural areas, how to improve interventions and set up adapted policies? That was the starting point of our program with the following report: in France (and other countries too), this exclusion group was ignored (i.e. Rural Local Missions in France). To answer these questions, we set up a comparative research/evaluation experiment (End scheduled June 2005) which gathers micro-rural territories of 5 European countries (France, Hungary, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Spain) about what it is said about rurality and young people in difficulty in rural areas, the local system of intervention (public and associative) for this youth people and the intervention relevance (local achievements, results...). The method is founded on an internal/external assessment, with a confrontation between local practitioners and researchers in the various territories and countries. This evaluation was carried out according to identical grids and procedures, collectively adopted, to allow comparison. Two assumptions were formulated: the interest of a territorial approach in rural areas, related to local development, guarantees of a better efficiency (?) and a practitioner fine territorial knowledge. Right now this experiment stresses the common very weak conscience and knowledge of what are the young people in difficulty, their needs, the evolutions and process in progress, even from the local practitioners. One track for intervention is to solve the observation and knowledge issue. Another relevant aspect is that the intervention is disconnected from the needs analysis, and does not take into account rural specificity, or coordination between the various sectors (social, employment, formation...). The actions relevance is not discussed nor its results for youth integration (they can be positive or not, this question is not put forth): the action is ordered by public policies, and accessible subsidies. Another track of intervention could be to support a local evaluation capacity.
Paper submitted to the XXI ESRS Congress Keszthely, Hungary 22-27 August 2005