From Participation to Meaningful Participation, Pt. 1
Updated: Jan 1, 2020
Hopefully you are all convinced of the importance of youth participation. Now I often make a distinction between youth participation and meaningful
A huge misconception is that you can simply put a young person at the table and have youth participation. That you can consult with a student association and have incorporated the voice of young people. That it is sufficient to sit down and listen to youth. In these series I will give a few concrete conditions in order to go from participation to meaningful participation.
You need to give young people the tools in order to be an equal discussion partner. And this basically goes for any minority group in society. I have had many occasions in which I had to come with certain recommendations on a policy proposition. The person representing business life said: ''great we will put three interns on it''. Government representatives said: ''we will hire two people to research how effective the implementation will be''. Being bombarded with words like implementation strategies, roadmaps, research groups, the only thing I could think about is, it's just me myself and I. When young people do not have the time (usually study full time), money and resources like other engagement groups, you cannot expect them to come up with equally as good recommendations. Therefore you still cannot speak of meaningful engagement.