The importance of civic and political participation and the place of youth in this process

The act of civic engagement refers to “working to make a difference in the civic life of one’s community and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes” (Elrich, 2000). On the other hand, political participation is more specific in its approach as it refers to the citizens’ activities that can influence political decisions (Barta and Lavizzari 2021). While not entirely the same, both approaches aim at intervening in certain situations to produce a better outcome either that is more politically oriented or societal.

At times of political and societal uncertainty, it is vital for local communities to focus on cultivating the right habits and ethic of engagement with younger generations. Communities and democracies to a larger extent can become more equitable and just when citizens get involved and take action at both an individual and a collective level (Circle 2022).  Civic and political engagement initiatives are a vital tool for communities as the participation of youth in these initiatives is like any other habit in life, if it is formed early, then it can last a lifetime. Youth is a unique and powerful civic actor that can bring in fresh perspectives and ideas on local issues as well as enhance any initiative with their energy and passion for seeing social change.


  • Centre for information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. (2022). Why is Youth Civic Engagement Important? Available at:
  • Elrich, T. (2000). Civic Responsibility and Higher Education. The American Council on Education and The Oryx Press.
  • Barta, O and Laviazzari, L. P. (2021). Insights – Meaningful Youth Political Participation in Europe. Council of Europe and European Commission.