The European Union has always set out policies and actions aimed at supporting and strengthening youth participation and social inclusion. Such actions are deemed essential so as to ensure the integrity of Europe’s democratic processes and promote active citizenship. In this view, LEAP – Learning to Participate, a project co-funded by the ERASMUS + programme (KA2 Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices – Strategic Partnerships for youth) emerges from the need to offer a new perspective on youth participation.
The first partner meeting was hosted by the Department of Civic Education, University of Hanover in Germany. On this occasion, partners started working on project activities and decided to strategically make use of all the different competences offered by non-formal education centres (Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci, Italy; Sapere Aude, Austria; Udruga Mladi u Eu, Croatia) and academic institutions (University of Vienna, University of Hanover).
The aim is to enhance participation in youth organisations, to promote European citizenship and to strengthen the skills of young people and youth workers, to whom the project is targeted. Thanks to its new participatory dynamics, LEAP will develop a mix of activities involving the aforementioned target groups by using Project-Based Learning (PBL). This non-formal educational and working practice puts forward a model allowing youth organisations to increase and encourage youth participation and active citizenship. PBL organises learning around a constructive and multidisciplinary basis by stimulating participants’ interests. The results are collectively achieved and presented with innovative tools. CSC will involve young people in the following actions: PBL training for youth workers and educators, experimental mobility experience for young people and new projects inspired by PBL.
The implementation phase has already begun with a research concerning the methodology set up building on the experiences of partner organisations. A multiplier event will be scheduled in order to disseminate the project results to a wider audience of users: a pedagogical booklet, the PBL methodology, and an infographic featuring guidelines on youth participation. Beside its specific target groups, the project will also have an impact on policy makers, so as to influence and boost their youth policies.