The webspace and social media enable a interactive media consumption and a low-threshold for participation initiatives. E-participation projects thus offer a direct and creative method for youth participation.
Guidelines and support for online youth participation projects
The e-Participation BarCamp (2012) constituted the beginning of a more intense examination of the subject of online youth participation. The project was an activity within the framework of the Youth Strategy by the Department for Families and Youth at the Federal Chancellery. In cooperation with the International Youthpart project, relevant standards were developed.
90 participants developed the Austrian status quo of e-participation and made proposals for further improvements:
- Contents of participation projects should be generated in a way for participants to get a broad range of information
- Making use of creative web tools such as video platforms in order to include young people with articulation problems
- Existing quality criteria for participation for offline projects must be adapted and/or extended for the requirements of the Internet
- A better link between online and offline participation projects should be implemented to reach diverse target groups
Participation platform (Beteiligungsplattform)
The platform was a joint venture project by the Department for Families and Youth at the Federal Chancellery and the Austrian National Youth Council. Via this platform different online consultation processes were accomplished. Beyong voting, young people could discuss ideas and requests together. This allowed for better and improved answers.
Further Guidelines and support for young people's successful e-participation
Peer-Learning is a strong instrument for a mutual exchange. The multilateral co-operation project ‘youthpart’ has been initiated by IJAB - International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany (IJAB-Fachstelle für Internationale Jugendarbeit der Bundesrepublik Deutschland). The aim of the project was to start an international dialogue about how to motivate more young people to participate in decisions in this prevalent digital society. The Department for Families and Youth at the Federal Chancellery was one of the co-operation partners developing these guidelines.
On jugendbeteiligung.at (German only) the Austrian Participation Working Group (ARGE Partizipation) provides further material and guidelines on how to conduct and evaluated different forms of youth participation, e.g. for cities and municipalities.
Selected e-participation projects
Online Surveys on the Austrian Youth Portal (Österreichisches Jugendportal)
On the Austrian Youth Portal, online surveys are regularly conducted on a wide variety of youth policy topics. Around 300 to 500 young people take part in each of these surveys. The results are published on the Youth Portal. These surveys are part of the structured dialogue, the results of which influence the further development of the Youth Strategy and the Austrian position on youth policy issues in Europe. Topics include work, education and health.
On a regional, national, and European level, the EU Youth Dialogue asks young people for their views, interests and needs in order to integrate them into politics. It combines on- and offline participation methods and has resulted in the EU Youth Goals. New rounds, related to specific youth goals, are continously organised by different EU Member States in a rotating system. The participation of Austrian youth is encouraged by jugenddialog.at.
The Coronabusters (in German only) project enables youths to play an active part in tackling the pandemic and allows them to be listened to. In sharing their knowledge and experiences with their peers, they can become personal messengers. The conducted projects and elaborated messages are disseminated on different social media channels, making use of the shared hashtag #zusammendiekurvekriegen ('turning the corner together'). This shall spread the projects and their outcomes to as many young people as possible. With 'Coronabusters' young people in open youth work get the opportunity to develop ideas and to make their own contributions in fighting the pandemic. All activities and measures are developed by young people for young people.