10.4 Quality and innovation in youth work
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The main criteria used to evaluate the quality of projects’ proposals submitted for funding under the “Youth Initiatives” Funding Scheme, described in section 5.6, are the quality of the design and implementation, the relevance of the proposed activity with the priorities of the specific action, the expected impact and the level of participation of young people in the design and implementation phases of the project.
According to the Programme’s Guide, the Youth Board reserves the right to carry out on-the-spot checks verifying that the activities are being carried out according to the approved proposal and request a refund of the entire funding or part of it, if the project does not meet the established criteria.
In order to support better knowledge and understanding of current situation and needs of young people, the Youth Board of Cyprus established in 2020 the large-scale quantitative survey Youth-Barometer, described as well in section 1.6. The Youth- Barometer collects, among others, the needs of young people and their satisfaction regarding specific aspects of their life. However, the first two editions of the Youth-Barometer, conducted within 2020, haven’t looked at issues related to youth work per se.
There is no specific budget line in Youth Board’s budget dedicated to youth work. The overall budget of research can be used for any kind of research in the field of youth, including youth work.
As described in section 5.4, in the framework of the National Youth Strategy, the Youth Board organises consultations with young people, in which young people can take part and express their views and suggestions on several policy initiatives and youth work programmes.
A concrete example of young people’s contribution to youth work design, is the consultation/survey run by the Youth Information Centres of the Youth Board, inviting young people to submit their needs and preferences regarding actions that they would like to be implemented by the Centres, involving them thus in the design process.
Some of the top-level policies and measures enabling and fostering the application of digital technologies to youth work in Cyprus are:
- Help Line 1410 offered by the Youth Board of Cyprus. This is the first Help Line which has operated in Cyprus since 1990. It is dialled by people in search for responsible answers on daily life matters, but also on more complex issues such as addictive substances, family relationships, peer relationships, school bullying, stress, depression, grief etc.
- E-Counselling offered by the Youth Board of Cyprus. E-Counselling is the web-site of 1410 Service. It handles the same issues and follows the same principles and professional deontology. What differs is the counselling process. Instead of talking on the phone, youth can chat with a counsellor through their pc or smart phone. E-Counselling counsellors handle all the cases with confidentiality and professionalism, regardless of gender, origin, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation, as done on 1410 Help Line. The conversation with the counsellor through the software is confidential and no one else has access to it.
- Youth Information Centres: The Youth Information Centres (YIC) operate along the standards of Youth Information Centres of Europe and the guidelines of the European Youth and Information Counselling Agency (ERYICA). The main purpose of the centres is to provide general information on a wide range of youth related issues in a comfortable, modern and friendly environment. YIC offer information and guidance on the Youth Board of Cyprus’ programmes and services, information about workshops and other recreational, social and sports events and about European opportunities for young people. This information sharing takes the shape of an offline counselling which then leads to further online research and communication.
- Eurodesk Cyprus: Eurodesk’s main purpose is to provide information on European policies and opportunities that interest young people or youth workers, such as mobility, volunteering, exchanges, work, internships, non-formal learning and much more. Eurodesk, is the main source of youth information on European policies, mobility information and opportunities in the country. It answers enquiries and provides guidance for mobile young people across Europe. Eurodesk updates and manages digital content and also answers enquiries coming from youth.
- In addition to these, the top-level initiative to make digital infrastructure available to youth work projects is OPIN. OPIN is an online tool which is used by the Youth Board of Cyprus in order to engage young people into a consultation.
As a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for digitalization of youth work, the Youth Information Centres organized online youth counselling for career issues and a series of workshops “Let’s go digital”.
There are no top-level initiatives aiming at facilitating cooperation and partnerships between youth work providers and actors in the fields of education, innovation, research and development, and business, in order to support the transmission of digital practices and technology to youth work.