Over the course of 21 months, the YourEP project will train youngsters in order to prepare them to design, and later on implement, their very own political simulation of the European Parliament.
The YourEP project started from a shared observation: Citizenship has become yet another area of exclusion, especially for youngsters with fewer opportunities. Active citizenship, EU and political awareness, and Social inclusion are indeed closely intertwined issues in the field of youth.
But while these issues can only be tackled altogether, youngsters with fewer opportunities are still underrepresented in initiatives promoting political participation and political awareness. This is why the YES Forum, together with its partners, designed the YourEP project.
More about the context
Citizenship has become yet another area of exclusion, especially for youngsters with fewer opportunities. And as highlighted in the recent past, the lack of social inclusion among youth has tragic consequences: the low turnout of young people in elections, experienced at both the EU and national levels, has for instance played a key role in the Brexit referendum outcome.
Active citizenship, Political awareness, and Social inclusion are closely intertwined issues in the field of youth: as shown by European data, the older a youngster is when leaving education, the more likely he is to be active in politics and the civil society as a whole. And what goes for educational inequalities is also valid for geographical disparities, ethnical background or other exclusion factors.
While these issues can only be tackled altogether, youngsters with fewer opportunities are still underrepresented in initiatives promoting political participation and political awareness. In that context, working toward the inclusion of youth in all its diversity appears more urgent than ever.
Why a political simulation?
The underrepresentation of youngsters with fewer opportunities is even more striking in the specific case of political simulations, a powerful tool designed to involve youngsters in “make-believe” politics to teach them how political institutions work while promoting their civic participation.
A lot of public and private initiatives offer young people such opportunities, but numerous obstacles make it difficult – if not impossible – for youngsters with fewer opportunities to participate:
- Youngsters with fewer opportunities lack information and awareness about such opportunities;
- Most events are designed for students, de facto excluding young people out of higher education;
- Participating fees – and very often, travel expenses as well – prevent youngsters with financial difficulties to participate;
- The required level of English to take part in such events is systematically too high for youngsters with fewer opportunities;
- The organisation itself of these events, its complexity, and the level of knowledge required to take part, also make them inaccessible to many youngsters.
By involving youngsters with fewer opportunities to design their own simulation of the European Parliament, the YourEP project will provide an new, innovative and inclusive political simulation method and, in the long-run, inspire new organisations to make it their own.
To contribute to open political simulations to a more diverse audience, YourEP will consist of 3 Transnational Project Meetings and 2 Blended Mobility activities aimed at developing and implementing a political simulation of the European Parliament specifically designed for youngsters with fewer opportunities.
To better suit their needs, the EP simulation method will be designed with the active involvement of 24 youngsters with fewer opportunities from 7 different EU countries. They will be accompanied by experienced youth workers from the partners, while the whole process will be supported by the European expertise of JEF Europe.
The YourEP project will unfold into three phases.
- Phase 1 will be focused on the preparation of the youngsters, thus giving them the relevant skills and knowledge to design a simulation method of the EP specifically adapted to their needs. Online activities and local meetings will empower them to fully engage in a 5-days Blended Mobility meeting in Brussels, where they will get in-depth training on the EU and the European Parliament, and eventually design their very own EP simulation method.
- Phase 2 will afterward prepare and carry out the test of the EP simulation itself. After online preparations, the young participants will gather during a week in Strasbourg to implement the EP simulation they will have developed. During a week, they will act as MEPs to get a real political European experience.
- Phase 3 will then build upon the EP simulation method and its implementation to advocate for more inclusive political simulations in Europe in the future. The YourEP project results will be promoted as living proof that it is possible to organise qualitative political simulations while better representing the youth diversity.
To follow the project's progress and latest activities, please have a look at the dedicated webpage.
Through their participation to the YourEP project, the young participants will improve transversal skills such as:
- Social, civic, intercultural, interpersonal and communicational competences;
- Leadership and entrepreneurial skills thanks to their active role in the project;
- Improved EU and general political awareness.
Moreover, the project results will enable the partners to achieve a greater impact in youth formal and non-formal education:
- The EP simulation method specifically designed for youngsters with fewer opportunities will be spread to other youth organisations to help them promoting the Active citizenship of youngsters with fewer opportunities.
- Dissemination will also include advocacy work targeting organisations carrying out such simulations on a regular basis in order to advocate for a better inclusion of disadvantaged youngsters by providing a concrete, successful example.
Coordinated by the YES Forum, the YourEP project brings together a total of 10 European partners, bringing their own, complementary experiences in youth and social work, as well as in the promotion of Active citizenship, Social Inclusion and European awareness
For more details, please check the following page.