Young people should be able to exercise their role as active citizens without discrimination.

What is the situation?      

Young people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods:

  • Face discrimination, prejudice and isolation that make it harder for them to be active citizens .

Measures, such as youth work, can promote positive relations between people from different backgrounds and address discrimination.


"I think young people and youth organisations should be more close to political systems because young people are getting away from politics because they think that ‘I don’t agree with that, I don’t identify myself with that’, but in fact, to be close to policy is not really sustaining some party, it’s usually a state of mind, because it’s the system we have and if there is something we don’t agree in that system, the only way we could change it or make ourselves part of that system in  a different way is asking for that and not being apart."

What should public authorities do?

  • Actively support young people to develop projects and ideas that improve relationships between people living in their local community. This could be through funding, access to facilities, guidance and advice.
  • Support projects that help to include young people who are excluded.
  • Make information about local opportunities available to young people in different formats.
  • Increase investment in youth work (including mobile youth work ), community facilities and youth organisations that run activities that bring young people from different backgrounds together.
  • Ensure that public buildings are accessible to young people with disabilities. The principle for Universal Design[JM3]  should be used as the accepted standard.
  • Recognise the vulnerabilities and needs of specific groups of young people who experience discrimination and stigmatisation . Develop measures to address this problem.

Examples from the Enter! Project

In Estonia, Eesti Erinoorsootöö Ühing noOR developed a national and local level training course for youth workers and trainers to increase their knowledge about active citizenship. The training focussed on local, national, European and international citizenship. Amongst its objectives, the training provided opportunities for participants to present, share and exchange models of practice, examine concepts of citizenship, enhance their understanding of citizenship, explore concepts and models of participation and support the participants to promote active citizenship amongst within their communities.

In France, Association Migration Solidarité et Échanges pour le Développement ran the project ‘Take the chance and overcome the gap’ to raise awareness about social rights amongst young people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Strasbourg. The project promoted active citizenship by increasing the skills and knowledge of participants. A group of 17-30 year olds participated in non-formal education activities, meetings with representatives from local authorities, social workers and youth workers, and workshops. These activities enabled the young people to develop transferable skills such as social and professional competencies, and to learn about national policies, programmes that promote access to social rights, and international opportunities for learning and volunteering.

In Ukraine, International Charity Partnership for Every Child worked with two groups of young people, one aged 15-18 that were brought up in child-care institutions, and another aged 18-23 who were transitioning from institutional care into independent life. The project supported these groups to establish a social network, which could provide support to a wider group of young people in the local community. During the project, four participants were selected to work as peer-to-peer trainers and participated in a youth work practice exchange to develop facilitation and training skills, which were later used to lead a meeting with 25 young people living in child-care institutions. A number of the project participants were selected to participate in the European Conference of the International Foster Care Organisation.