5.8 Raising political awareness among young people
On this page
On this page
The Youth Information One Stop Shop (YIOSS) is an information centre, housed in Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, that works with young people to enable access to information and advice in a safe and friendly environment. The centre's aim is to help young people find answers to questions about education, work, housing, health, relationships, money, leisure and cultural activities among others. YIOSS intends to provide reliable, accurate and understandable information; give access to different sources and channels of information; give an overview of the options and possibilities available on all relevant topics; help young people sift through the information overload they face today; ensure that young people are aware of all the rights and services available to them and how to access them; provide support in evaluating the obtained information and in identifying its quality; guide young people in reaching their own decisions and in finding the best options open to them; offer different channels of communication and dialogue in order to support young people in their search for information and knowledge; and contribute to the media & information literacy of young people.
YOISS provides a number of services to young people among which:
- Information on the Aġenzija Żgħażagħ’s programmes and services;
- Issuing of youth card (EYCA);
- Information on job, training and further education opportunities;
- Support in drawing up a CV, job application or preparing for an interview;
- Guidance in choosing a career path or in planning for the future;
- Information on opportunities to develop skills and talents;
- Personal support and someone to talk to and referral to specialised support services if required;
- Information on volunteering opportunities in Malta and abroad;
- Information on youth organisations.
Another service offered through YIOSS is the Youth Worker Online. Following a mental health awareness campaign entitled ‘Trust Yourself to Talk – Anxiety is this you?’ as part of the Youth Information initiatives, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ took the campaign a step further and supported the campaign by introducing the service ‘Youth Worker Online’ a free online service that aims to support young people who may wish to know more about anxiety and mental health and how to get help or ask for any other relevant information. This new continuous service has reached many young people from different walks of life, which enabled Aġenzija Żġħażagħ to touch the ground and identify areas of development to improve its services to equip young people and reach their objectives and gratify their needs.
There is no top-level framework existing for youth information and counselling structures, however, YOISS services is a full member of ERYICA and as such, it has the principles of the European Youth Information Charter, formally signed by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ.
Moreover, in 2022 YIOSS was awarded the European Youth Information Quality Label. This recognition is awarded to organisations that provide different youth information services in recognition of their quality service and the respect for the principles of the European Youth Information Charter. By adhering to several professional principles and guidelines for youth information and counselling work outlined in the Charter, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ can provide the youths, their guardians as well as government institutions with reliable information regarding the opportunities in local and European contexts for young people.
In preparation for the extended right to vote, an educational campaign had been raised by the Ministry for Social reforms to inform young people about the right and importance of the right to vote. The campaign targeted the 15–17-year-olds in Malta, through content published on social media and the press, as well as through collaboration with youth NGOs, and political youth groups. Aġenzija Żgħażagħ played an active role in this campaign.
Give a Vote Campaign
In 2019 Aġenzija Żgħażagħ collaborated with 11 other EYCA member organisations to implement the #Giveavote campaign, a pan-European, politically neutral and youth-driven initiative aimed at encouraging young people to vote in the European Parliament elections. In Malta the campaign targeted young people aged 16-25, since 16-year-olds were allowed to vote, reaching over 35,000 young Maltese. Following this campaign, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ was awarded the Excellence Award for the Knowledge of Young People by EYCA.
Human rights Campaign
In 2020, 3 young activists, acting as youth ambassadors together with a youth information worker from YIOSS set up a human rights awareness campaign featuring mainly on Aġenzija Żgħażagħ’s social media channels, and in youth cafes run by Agenzija Zghazagh. The campaign provides space through which young people can share their views and opinions and initiate discussion on the subject. The human rights campaign ran from January to May and each week it feature a different human right and focused on matters related to it.
In an effort to promote intercultural dialogue among young people, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ since 2019 has organised an intercultural dialogue for young people in Malta. The event is set to coincide with World Day for Cultural Diversity and Dialogue and Development.
In 2019, as part of a project called Polifest Aġenżija Żġħazaġħ organised its first Youth Intercultural Dialogue Fair. The objective of this project was to facilitate a structured dialogue between young people from diverse cultural backgrounds living in Malta and policy-makers and Maltese young people. Several communities of foreign young people living in Malta participated in an exchange of ideas that culminated in a recommendation presented to the Parliamentary Secretariat for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations.
In 2020, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ was set to replicate however the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the agency had to readjust. In this regard, the event was shifted online. Aġenżija Żġħazaġħ set up a series of online events to celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The aim of this initiative was to set up a space for conversations between local youth organisations and different foreign communities living in Malta, in an effort to bridge the gap and facilitate social cohesion through dialogue.
Aġenzija Żgħażagħ celebrated the 3rd Youth Intercultural Dialogue Week in 2021 through the Roots and Routes initiative. The agency launched a podcast series that keeps its connection with stories of young migrants, aiming to give a voice to young migrants in Malta. During each day of the week, a conversation with a different young migrant in Malta was shared.
The National Youth Policy: Towards 2030 has 8 strategic goals. The 1st Strategic Goal is To listen to and support the voices of young people and raise awareness among young people of issues that impact on their everyday lives and provide youth information.
Within this strategic goal, there are a number of Actions that intended to promote transparent and youth-tailored public communication including through:
- Supporting and promoting the voices of young people and provide them with opportunities to express their views, concerns and aspirations at local, national and European level through initiatives such as the EU Youth Dialogue.
- Promoting the involvement of youth, including unorganised and young people with fewer opportunities in envisioning national policies, plans and programmes and in decision making.
- Developing and promoting campaigns to raise awareness on important issues and causes.
- Maintaining and further developing Aġenzija Żgħażagħ's social media portals and give quality youth information through the Youth Information One-Stop-Shop (YIOSS).
- Implementing an online design/animation service for youth-led organisations to enable them to develop their own social media portals and promote quality youth information.
- Promoting the principles, standards and quality measures provided for in the European Youth Information Charter.
- Raise awareness among young people of learning mobility opportunities through internships, volunteering and studying abroad promoted by Eurodesk.
- Ensuring that information, services and facilities are accessible to all, including
- young people with disabilities.