The main aim spearheaded by the 40 youths involved in this youth democracy project to pave the way for the development of a better understanding of the role of young people in the democratic processes and active citizenship. Ultimately the goal is to learn from each other's experience in this context and promote the fact that young people have always been the pioneers of the democratic process in every country and they must continue fulfilling this role in the years to come.
The youths involved (10 from each promoter) are commonly concerned with the fact that the political participation of young people within their respective communities leaves a lot to be desired. For instance they are aware that a substantial percentage of people in their social reality do not see the need for voting and elections. This clearly indicates a very low faith and interest in the democratic mechanisms. Therefore this project aims at finding creative ways to change this. Through this project they want to raise awareness with their counterparts to help young people learn about the workings of democracy and further build their trust in such institutions.
We truly believe that education plays a vital role in teaching a new generation about democracy, political participation and civic engagement. It is a known fact that in most schools, democracy lessons have a very standard focus which is simply base on memorizing facts, understanding political structures and so on. However, learning about what it means to be a politically active citizen and to take responsibility for your environment, requires a different type of 'lesson'. One that is about experiencing democracy and allowing young people to apply skills and competencies in practice. To this end we came up with the idea to experience democracy in a fun and creative way through a pre-planned research project in the respective communities involved on how democracy is perceived and what is the definition given to it and eventually culminating during implementation phase in a role-play and democracy simulation exercise, therefore literally placing democracy at the centre-stage, giving the young people involved a true glimpse of what democracy is about. Everything in a fun, innovative and creative method by youths for youths.
The estimated time-length of the project will be of approximately 11 months. The project will commence with a detailed examination and research by all youths involved through questionnaires, interviews, voxpop and video footage, focusing on what is the definition people in the countries involved give to democracy and how does it reflect its true meaning.
Consequently, the groups will meet during 2 implementation phases, one in Valletta, Malta and another one in Scala, Italy. These visits will include ice-breakers, team-building sessions, an introduction to the countries' political and governing system, workshops on the analyisis of the research done prior to the visits, relevant institutional site-visits, and of course the preparation, planning and pro-active participation in the role plays or democracy simulation exercises.
In between the visits both groups will be constantly in contact via e-mail and also through a Facebook group which will be created purposely for the brainstorming, sharing of ideas and to make the necessary preparations for the project to actually take place like for example sharing of questionnaire templates and the sharing of resources and best practices during the first 4 months constituting the Preparation phase.
The 4 promoters involved have 2 youth workers each which will be directly involved in the project. All these have had some king of experience in European Youth Projects.
The youth workers involved in this project are also young people who will help the development and success of the project, plan ice-breakers and energizers for the integration of the youths in this project and act as facilitators all through the project's programme which has been devised by the youths themselves. However the presence of youth workers was deemed necessary especially for the safeguarding of time-frames involved and guidance on project management and relevant logistical arrangements needed in the various phases of this project.