Skip to main content


EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.9 Enhancing social inclusion through culture

Last update: 7 January 2021
On this page
  1. Fostering equality and young people involvement through cultural activities
  2. Combating discrimination and poverty through cultural activities

Fostering equality and young people involvement through cultural activities

The main new initiative to foster equality and young people involvement through participation in cultural activities (including youth work) is the Additional financing for hobby education and activities since 2017. The programme is described in chapter 8.5. This programme is specifically designed to target young people.

According to the programme "Culture 2020", the involvement of young people in cultural activities is a recurring topic in different cultural fields. The responsible body for this is the Ministry of Culture. This programme is not targetted to young people only, but young people as one possible target group.

However, many of the initiatives described in the next section directly support this aim as well. 


Combating discrimination and poverty through cultural activities


Integrating Estonia 2020

“Integrating Estonia 2020” is a strategy of the Government to ensure integration and social cohesion in Estonia in the period 2014-2020. The Ministry of Culture is in charge of the coordination of the strategy.

The general objective of the development plan “Integrating Estonia 2020” is a socially cohesive society where individuals with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds actively participate in society and share democratic values. The new development plan serves as the basis for integration policy that is carried out during 2014–2020, and it aims at:

  • increasing the cohesion of society;
  • increasing the competitiveness of the Republic of Estonia;
  • ensuring security;
  • preserving the Estonian language and culture;
  • preserving the culture and language of the ethnic minorities;
  • ensuring increasing tolerance towards different groups of society;
  • ensuring a stronger civic identity.

In the framework of the strategy, several objectives are defined relevant to social inclusion of young people and intercultural awareness. The youth-specific objective of the strategy is “Students with a native language different from Estonian actively participate in youth work and have close contacts with Estonian-speaking peers“. The objective shall be achieved through increasing opportunities for initiatives, joint activities and increasing the involvement of young people in youth work.

The report about the implementation of the strategy in 2019 states the following outcomes under the indicators concerned with young people:

  • The participation of young people in youth work in municipalities, where the majority of the population has not Estonian ethnic origin has risen from 44.3% in 2018 to 44.8% in 2019.
  • The percentage of young people, who are not in employment, education or training (the NEET) is 10.2% in 2019 and the difference between Estonians and young people with other ethnic origin has decreased from 1.0% in 2018 to 1.2% in 2019.

The youth specific target groups addressed in this document are young people in general (i.e. 7-26 years old) and young people with an ethnic minority background.

The estimated total cost of the development plan from 2014–2020 is 73,52 million euros.


National minorities’ Sunday schools

The Integration Foundation provided up to 2018 annual funding for national minorities’ Sunday schools and their development, including training leaders and teachers of Sunday schools. National minorities’ Sunday schools are a form of hobby schools that provide children aged 3-18 opportunity to develop their National language and culture studies. The aim is to support National and cultural identity of young people.

The annual funding was available to Sunday schools, which offered to learn at least 100 academic hours per year in which at least 10 children or young people participate.



Caring Values

In 2016, Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency (since 01.01.2021 the Department of Youth Programs of the Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps of the Education and Youth Board) started to implement the Activity Plan for Caring Values, aimed at the field of youth in Estonia.

The aim of the Activity Plan for Caring Values is to highlight positive values, such as compassion, respect, kindness, diversity, in the field of youth. The aim is to advance understanding and deepening of these values among youth in Estonia, as well as in the larger society, through the means of youth work.  The basis of the Activity Plan has been developed and stipulated from November 2015 under the framework of a joint think tank ’The Role of Youth Work in Shaping Friendly Estonia’, co-organised by the Youth Agency alongside with the Estonian Youth Work Centre (both are a part of the Education and Youth Board in 2021).

Main Activities for 2016 and 2017 included:

  • Organising youth workers' basic training on human rights education, cultural diversity, marginalized and vulnerable target groups, prevention of hate speech, and enhancing value-based youth work. Basic training is provided in Estonian and in Russian. A Value Forum of Youth Work will be organised, based on the outcomes of the training
  • Organising Value campaign for youth that comprises of cultural cooking action ’Culture to the Jar’ in youth centres and in schools all over Estonia; a social media campaign advancing media critical competence in youth; idea competition for artistic gifts, and various workshops for youth
  • Translation and mapping of human rights education study material

The main target group of the activity plan are young people (7-26) and youth workers.

The Activity Plan is financed by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.


"I dare to think, to do, to stand up, to understand"

The Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency (since 01.01.2021 the Department of Youth Programs of the Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps of the Education and Youth Board) established a central theme "I dare to think, to do, to stand up, to understand” for all the youth projects in 2017.  The central theme highlights the range of topics that are important in society today. The Youth Agency had established this theme in order to encourage people to write projects that significantly add to the relevant debates. The central theme focuses on socially critical projects on the following issues (the list is not final):

  • Migration and refugees
  • Human rights, including gender equality and LGBT projects
  • Intercultural dialogue, including challenging cultural stereotypes
  • Dialogue between youth and their peers in socially vulnerable positions
  • Creative projects (art as a medium for social messages)
  • Advancing media literacy and critical analysis (skills) in youth

Under the central theme, focus consultations are provided for applicants. During the consultation, there is an opportunity to obtain thorough feedback on the quality of the project. Applicants pondering how to set the focus of the project are offered the opportunity to register for a consultation on issues concerning the content of the project.

The central theme was valid until the end of 2017, after that the theme ended.


Youth Meetings

Youth Meetings is a programme established to increase interactions between young people from a different ethnic background and thus increase their mutual understanding and development but also to enhance their cultural awareness, openness and tolerance. Through the programme, organisers promote positive contacts between young people (11 to 16 years-of-age) living in Estonia but speaking different mother tongues (mainly Estonian and Russian) by giving them an opportunity to carry out projects together. These projects detail the goals and targets they expect to achieve.

“Youth Meetings” has been very popular since its creation in 2015 with approximately 1,700 Estonian and Russian speaking young people participating annually in the project. Altogether, “Youth Meetings” has brought together more than 7,600 young people to cooperate in youth meetings and trainings since the project started.

The “Youth Meetings” programme is financed through the Ministry of Education and Research. The budget for the programme in 2021 is 234,022 euros. The programme is being implemented by the Education and Youth Board.

In addition, Estonian Youth Work magazine MIHUS has focused on issues such as inclusion and solidarity among young people:

Additionally, a manual for inclusive youth work has been created and published in Estonian and Russian languages: “Inclusive youth work” (2012).