This sub-Action supports projects where young people participate actively and directly in activities of their own devising in which they play the key roles, in order to develop their initiative, enterprise and creativity.
Youth initiatives enable a large number of young people to become inventive and creative in their daily life and to speak out on their local needs and interests but also on the main world issues. Young people can try out ideas by initiating, setting up and carrying out an own project affecting various areas of life. Youth Initiatives can also lead to the setting up of associations, NGOs or other bodies active in the area of social economy, no-profit and youth sectors.
What is a Youth Initiative?
A Youth Initiative is a project initiated, set up and carried out by young people themselves. It gives young people the chance to try out ideas through initiatives, which give them an opportunity to be directly and actively involved in planning and carrying out projects. Participation in a Youth Initiative is an important non-formal learning experience. It also provides young people with an opportunity to consider themselves as European citizens and to feel that they are contributing to the construction of Europe.
A Youth Initiative project has three phases:
- planning and preparation
- implementation of the Activity
- evaluation (including reflection on a possible follow-up).
Non-formal learning principles and practice are reflected throughout the project.
A Youth Initiative can be:
- national: designed at local, regional or national level and developed by a single group in its country of residence
- trans-national: a networking of youth initiatives jointly carried out by two or more groups from different countries.
What else should you know about a Youth Initiative?
What is a coach?
A coach is a resource person who has youth work and/or Youth Initiatives experience to accompany groups of young people and support their participation. S/he plays different roles depending on the needs of a given group of young people. The coach remains outside the Youth Initiative but supports the group of young people in the implementation of their project or following their learning process as a group or as individuals. S/he works with the young people from time to time performing specific tasks based on the needs of the group. Coaches can be volunteers or professionals, youth leaders or leaders of youth organisations, workers of youth clubs or youth services, etc. Young people who have already participated in a Youth Initiative project can also be encouraged to use the competences gained during the process to support other groups of young people; they can therefore act as resource persons by taking over a peer coaching role. Peer coaching, that is, supporting peers or fellows of the same age, is an important tool to be used in a Youth Initiative in order to develop effective coaching systems at local level.
Coaches can also be advisers provided by the National Agencies who meet the group of young people several times during the development of the project, generally at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the process.
The National Agencies may arrange meetings between potential and ex-beneficiaries of Youth Initiatives, to facilitate the development of peer coaching systems. For information on coaching within Youth Initiatives, please consult your National Agency.
What a coach is not:
- A project leader
- A member of the group carrying out the project
- A professional trainer providing only a technical support in a specific field. This support can be supported through financing for Activity costs
- The legal representative of an informal group of young people.
Multi-Measure projects - Action 1
Youth Initiatives can be part of a Multi-Measure project under Action 1. For further information, please consult section 'Multi-Measure projects' of this Action. Youthpass Every person who has taken part in a Youth in Action project under this Action is entitled to receive a Youthpass Certificate, which describes and validates the non-formal and informal learning experience and outcomes acquired during the project (learning outcomes). Furthermore, Youthpass is to be considered as a process of becoming aware, reflecting on and documenting the learning within the different phases of the project. For more information on Youthpass, please consult Part A of the Guide as well as the Youthpass guide and further relevant material presented at www.youthpass.eu.
Example of a Youth Initiative
12 Young people from Turkey developed a project aimed at giving basic computer skills to children who are obliged to work in the streets. The group cooperated with a local NGO that works regularly with these children. Based on discussion with the children, the group learned about their situation and asked them what they would like to do; the idea of the computer training was born there. The training in computers lasted three months and the project reached some 70 children. "Well, the most important thing at personal level was that the project enabled me to do what I wanted! You know, I felt moved by the situation of these street children. I wanted to do something! You can approach them and get to have an idea of their reality, but you need a frame to really work with them, and this is what the Youth Initiative project allowed us to achieve! The contact with the Youth Centre in the local area and the NGO cooperating with us were very helpful and important for the project. We organised different social activities, which gave the children the chance to feel less excluded. We had the impression that we succeeded in helping them, that they learnt something useful and enjoyed the experience too". (Turkish member of the group)