Youth participation in civil society: How important is it?

There is no doubt that participation is a fundamental right, and it should be addressed under this spectrum. Participation is one of the main principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, therefore, it needs to be considered as a social norm and not as an exception to the rule.

As the United Nations have stated in the past, young people belong to a social group which can promote social change, economic growth, and technological innovation to a great extent. For this reason, the UN agenda on youth is highly focused on how to boost the participation of young people in decision-making.

By empowering the role that young people acquire in the civil society, a numerous amount of benefits can be generated, not only for them but also for their communities. More specifically, community participation reinforces the leadership skills of young people, makes them comprehend better the value of corporate social responsibility while gaining work experience. Further, it boosts their empathy towards vulnerable social groups and challenges that their community might face. All these are key points for the development of young people into responsible and worthy adults given that youth, who have been active members in community talks, have more potential to grow into decisive persons in the future.

What’s also of great importance is the fact that youth engagement in civic issues can support the growth of community nonprofit organizations, volunteer programs, and NGOs in the following ways:

  • Young people constitute a valuable group which can support the community, as they are prone and willing to engage with it in the long-term.
  • They see themselves as part of their social environment and they feel the need to protect and boost it.
  • The active involvement of young people in the community helps nonprofit organizations identify the emerging social problems that concern the youth and focus on how to minimize or solve them.
  • The impact of organizations, where young people are actively involved, becomes higher and higher thanks to the direct interconnection that exists between the youth and their communities.

Nevertheless, to participate in a holistic and effective way, young people should be armed with the necessary tools to boost their understanding of civic action and access their civil rights.

For this reason, the #UcomE project equips youth with the Guidebook which includes contemporary methodologies and tools on community engagement. Follow our website and Facebook page to be the first one to learn about the release of this new tool.