5.4 Young people's participation in policy-making
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According to the principles and policies set down in the policy area of “Democratic Participation and Civic Consciousness”, to ensure youth consultation, the Ministry receives the ideas and demands of young people via written forms, meetings, workshops, questionnaires when planning a project or activity. Written demands of young people are evaluated in the Ministry. For bigger projects, a survey service is bought from a research company to find out the demands and expectations of young people about the issue which is intended to be tackled in the planned project. After the project implementation, to get a reliable feedback from young people an impact analysis is carried out by using satisfaction surveys and other methods, subsequent to this analysis, results are transformed into statistics and the statistics are evaluated for future projects. In the activities requiring decision-making such as updating National Youth and Sports Policy Document, developing new strategies etc. the workshops turn out to be most used consultation mechanisms.
In this context; The production of effective policies in the field of youth and sports will be possible with a healthy analysis of the current situation. Field studies and research projects are carried out and supported in order to monitor individual, social and cultural changes related to young people and to evaluate the problems and expectations in sports and similar fields. New research, policy and application proposals developed as a result of the researches are shared with relevant institutions and organizations, and studies are carried out to strengthen institutional cooperation in the field of youth and sports research.
Research and Development strategy of Ministry of Youth and Sports is structured in three main areas: Youth and Sports Research, Institutional Monitoring Research and Strengthening Research Capacity.
Youth and Sports Research
Ministry of Youth and Sports plans and carries out periodic field studies to regularly determine the psychological and social development and changes of young population and to monitor the youth profile. With these field studies carried out with scientific methods, it is aimed to provide extensive data to all official and non-governmental institutions and organizations working on youth. The Youth Atlas of Turkey is prepared by monitoring the change of youth every year in the themes determined in this context.
Themes of The Youth Atlas of Turkey:
- Family, Kinship, Neighborhood and Friendship Relations
- Daily Life Habits
- Social Belonging, Trust and Solidarity
- Public Support and Social Ties
- Social Capital
- Life Satisfaction and Gladness
- Sports Culture
- Youth Welfare
- Digital Skills
With this; Scientific studies on the following thematic topics are planned and carried out by Ministry of Youth and Sports.
- Youth Profile Studies
- Education and Employment of Youth
- Youth and Volunteering
- Cyprus Youth
- Immigrant Youth
- Disadvantaged Youth
- European Turkish Youth
- Addiction, Health and Sports
- E-Sports and Youth
- Sports Culture in Young People
Social impact analyzes are carried out in order to evaluate the social impacts of activities, projects and programs carried out by Ministry of Youth and Sports for young people in a multifaceted manner. These evaluation studies, using scientific research methods, aim to evaluate the level of public resources to serve the purposes for which they are used.
In line with this structure of consultation, National Youth and Sports Policy Document is drawn up with a democratic and participative method in accordance with the opinions and suggestions of the public organisations and institutions related to youth, universities, nongovernmental organisations, educators and especially the young people. For this purpose, comprehensive workshops and evaluation meetings were held in and outside the country in which the young people participated, written opinions were received and online environments were created on which the opinions and suggestions of the young people are taken.
In addition, Youth Centres in the provinces and districts operate as formal consultation mechanisms on the local level to receive the opinions and demands of young people about the activities of youth centres. Young people can submit their demands in writing or verbally. Youth centres after sharing general expectations and demands with the Ministry of Youth and Sports can act upon the expectations received from young people.
City Council Youth Assemblies within the City Councils on local level takes part in the administration by presenting their opinions to the Municipality in the process of determining, implementing and monitoring the basic strategies and action plans in relation to the city.
Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of National Education are the most important public authorities in relation to youth participation and youth consultation, also nongovernmental organisations operating in the field of youth provide significant contributions in relation to youth participation and youth consultation by being organised in the forms of federations and confederations.
The youth NGOs have a key role to ensure that youngsters’ thoughts and demands are consulted in policy making processes. Within the framework of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Youth Project Support Programme which is a grant programme for youth projects, before and after the call for proposals the meetings and workshops with a broad participation from youth NGOs are held and in these meetings youth representatives and young people are consulted over the themes and priorities of grant programme and over the implementation of the projects granted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. In this way, a strong link has been established between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and non-governemental youth actors in respect of youth consultation.
In addition, youth representation bodies explained in the chapter 5.3, Youth Assemblies, Youth Councils, Turkish Student Council and Students Assembly of Turkey are the well-functioning units of youth consultation.
In the preparation and updating processes of National Youth and Sports Policy Document, when treating the policy areas and chapters concerning disadvantageous youngsters such as “Social Inclusion” and "Fight Against Addiction” the young people who are or have been in these disadvantageous conditions were invited to workshops and consulted.
Each public authority by itself takes inventory of the participants in its consultation processes with young people, these inventories primarily include numbers of participants and in some cases the details of participants. However, since each public authority keeps a list of participants on its own, there is no an overall integrated number of young people interviewed or consulted. In the body of Ministry of Youth and Sports, an inventory is created by way of the number of members in the Youth Centres which can be considered as youth consultation centres on common level. In youth centres, the educational programmes are mostly adapted to the needs and expectations of local young people in the result of consultation, particularly in the regions mostly populated by young immigrants and disadvantageous youngsters special training programmes such as language courses, activities of social inclusion and integration are offered as a consequence of consultation with local youngsters.
Approach and Discourse Study of the Ministry of Youth and Sports
The "Approach and Discourse Study" was conducted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in order to reorganize the current studies by understanding the dynamics in the lives of young people and the changing needs of young people, and to create an approach and discourse that will reach young people with a participatory method.
The work process started in February 2019. A series of consultation meetings with the personnel of the Ministry's central and provincial organization, face-to-face interviews with external experts and academics, semi-structured surveys conducted one-on-one with young people, examination of documents published in the field of youth at the national and international level, as well as the data collected through the previous studies of the Ministry analyzed and completed in June 2020.
As a result of the study, the basic approach to be adopted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports for youth has been defined as follows:
“Empowering a youth who makes independent decisions, takes care of their responsibilities, realizes their talents, dreams, touches differences, produces and is ready to shape the future and concerned with human and environmental issues”
The elements that cut this basic approach horizontally are the opportunities that will enable them to do sports regularly, as well as ensuring their participation. While doing this, existing collaborations within the public administration should be expanded and new collaborations should be established in line with the determined approach.
Within the scope of this approach, it has been proposed to revise the ongoing work of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in a way that will ensure the empowerment and participation of young people. In order to empower young people and to become a more youth-friendly Ministry, it has been found beneficial to implement new studies in the program areas determined by considering the following principles. In the studies to be planned, it has been determined as a priority to develop young people's life skills and to ensure that they have skills that will increase their employability. However, in order to support young people's holistic well-being, It is important to support the development of young people through protecting their mental health, taking into account their relationship with digital platforms, supporting them to produce useful content for these platforms, increasing their awareness in the field of cyberbullying, contributing to the development of sports habits of young people, diversifying awareness-raising activities on environmental quality and volunteering activities. "The Policy, Approach and Discourse Coordination Board" was established in order to monitor the implementation of the recommendations made in this context by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Program Areas and Basic Principles Determined within the Scope of the Study:
Program areas that will form the basis of activities of Ministry of Youth and Sport have been built on the needs of the youth as a result of the "Approach and Discourse Study", and one of them is "supporting participation in all areas".
- PA1: Developing young people's professional, personal and social skills
- PA2: Empowering young people in the digital world and raising awareness on cyberbullying
- PA3: Ensuring young people spend quality time by developing sports habits
- PA4: Ensuring the mental well-being of young people
- PA5: Ensuring the development and strengthening of environmental awareness of young people
- PA6: Ensuring the development of young people through volunteering activities
- PA7: Supporting participation in all fields
Again, one of the 5 principles determined to be used in the studies to be carried out in these program areas is “Take participation as a basis".
1. Emphasizing on equality of opportunity, inclusiveness and accessibility
2. Being needs-based and data-driven
3. Adopting innovative and youth-addressing methods
4. Giving importance to international experiences
5. Take participation as a basis
PA7. Supporting Participation in All Fields
Young people's participation refers to the process of being involved in and influencing decisions related to their public life and is the principle underlying all youth policies. Young people's participation is not only about taking into account their new and creative ideas, but also having a concrete say in decisions made. It is of great importance for their active citizenship that young people are accepted as the subject, not the object, of the decision-making processes and that their participation in all areas of social life is taken as a basis.
The participation of young people is generally handled with its political, social and economic dimensions, and it appears as the only way for them to take an active role in almost every aspect of life. For this reason, it is essential for their personal, social and economic development to produce egalitarian, inclusive, accessible and sustainable mechanisms in which unorganized youth can express themselves as well as those who take an active role in NGOs or political parties, where they can take an active role in decision-making processes at local, national and international levels. In this context, no matter how difficult and long the participation processes are, they should be encouraged in all aspects and participation should never be given up.
Purpose of the Program:
It is aimed to increase the political, cultural, social and economic participation of young people by supporting them to take an active role in the shaping and implementation of services and policies that affect their own lives, and to contribute to the development of the governance culture in the society.
1. To reveal the participation problems, expectations and demands of young people from all parts of life with different needs and characteristics through research, to develop appropriate participation methods and to take these into account while planning the studies,
2. Establishing a participatory, transparent and responsible understanding among young people and youth workers, in which all kinds of discrimination are prevented, tolerant, democratic culture is adopted,
3. Developing social participation mechanisms that will cover not only disadvantaged young people who benefit from the services of various institutions, but also all disadvantaged young individuals,
4. Increasing the confidence of young people in participation mechanisms,
5. Providing efficient and effective youth information,
6. Establishing effective feedback mechanisms that will encourage the participation of young people, establishing sustainable youth participation mechanisms,
7. Making public services accessible in accordance with the different characteristics of young people,
8. Establishing structures that will increase youth participation in cooperation with non-governmental organizations, universities, local governments, etc.
Suggestions for Activities within the Scope of the Program Area:
1. Developing a digital participation system where comments and suggestions regarding all the services of the Ministry of Youth and Sports can be received,
2. Establishing an E-Voting System that will enable young people between the ages of 14-29 to have a say in public policies that will affect them,
3. Information activities regarding the rights and responsibilities of young people,
4. Developing youth-friendly service tools,
5. Establishing working groups with the relevant ministries, institutions and organizations that have activities for young people, making consultations, involving civil society representatives and youth workers in this process,
6. Establishing monitoring and evaluation platforms for the implementation of the youth-related parts of international agreements to which Turkey is a party,
7. Conducting regular trainings and studies by creating a youth-friendly discourse module,
8. Increasing the level of knowledge and awareness of young people on universal values, ethics, rights, duties and labor market conditions through effective career counseling and guidance services,
9. Establishment of youth advisory boards
10. Carrying out studies to raise awareness of families in order to encourage the participation of young people in social / artistic / cultural / sports activities,
11. Creating environments for young people to make their own choices through guidance/mentoring/life coaching activities by experts with relevant training,
12. Conducting in-service trainings to ensure that those working with young people have a youth-friendly approach,
13. Preparation of Booklet “Guidelines for Working with Disadvantaged Young Individuals”,
14. Ensuring that all service buildings affiliated to our Ministry receive an "Accessibility Certificate",
15. Giving “Youth Friendly” certificate to institutions and cities,
16. Carrying out studies to increase the representation of young people in national and local assemblies and to increase communication between local governments and youth,
17. Encouraging young people to take part in non-governmental organizations as founders, managers and members.
Taking Participation as a basis as one of the 5 basic principles of Approach and Discourse Study:
Youth participation means that young people have the rights, means, places, opportunities and supports to participate in and influence initiatives that will enable them to contribute to building a better society on issues that directly concern them. It is necessary to take the views of young people on services and policies that affect their lives, and to ensure that they play an active role in shaping and implementing services and policies. It will also contribute to the empowerment and resilience of the young people involved in this process, by ensuring that they take up of their responsibilities arising from participation.
Matters to be considered for the implementation of the principle:
⮚ Methods in which young people are active rather than passive should be given priority.
⮚ Mechanisms should be established where young people can present their ideas on all activities and services of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
⮚ Feedback should be provided to ideas, suggestions and complaints from young people.
⮚ Not only just conventional participation methods, but more flexible, subject-oriented and innovative practices should be brought into action,
⮚ Since it is clear that not all ideas from young people can be implemented, an effective evaluation and classification system should be established.
⮚ It should be ensured that the young people involved in the accession process, take up of their responsibilities arising from this matter.
Performance indicators regarding the principle of taking participation as a basis have been determined as follows:
⮚ Statistics on the social, cultural and economic diversity of young people participating in the activities of Ministry of Youth and Sports,
⮚ Statistics of time for volunteering activities,
⮚ Number of young people participating in projects, activities and organizations,
⮚ Proportion of disadvantaged youth actively participating in the activities of Ministry of Youth and Sports,
⮚ Number of active participation mechanisms provided for young people,
⮚ Satisfaction surveys regarding participation services and opportunities,
⮚ Evaluation report showing the active influence levels of young people on studies,
⮚ Project statistics proposed and applied by young people,
⮚ Suggestions and application statistics made to the Ministry Departments by young people
⮚ Youth statistics providing access to the social media accounts of the Ministry of Youth and Sports,
⮚ Number of feedback given to young people's suggestions regarding the Ministry's work,
⮚ Number of young people involved in decision-making mechanisms at the planning stage of the study.
In the preparation stage of the National Youth and Sports Policy Document, opinions and suggestions of the young people presented at the workshops as well as the opinions submitted on the internet were evaluated and reflected to the Document. The whole document can be considered as a product of consultation process encompassing ideas of younsters and youth organisations from all sections, the Ministry of Youth and Sports had only put together the separate ideas following from the consultation workshops and formulate the ideas and suggestions in a language proper to a legal document. Since the proposals had emerged and developped anonymously during the consultations and discussions in the workshops, no feedback could have been returned to discussants and collocutors, however every participant could see the contribution created in the workshops included in the Policy Document. The 13 policy area listed below have been created with the direct contribution of young people and youth organisations.
- Education and Lifelong Learning
- Family Ethics and Humanitarian Values
- Employment, Entrepreneurship and Vocational Training
- Disadvantaged Young People and Social Inclusion
- Health and Environment
- Democratic Participation and Civic Consciousness
- Culture And Art Science and Technology
- Youth In The International Arena and Intercultural Dialogue.
- Utilizing Free Time Informing Young People
- Voluntary Work and Mobility
Within the scope of Ministry of Youth and Sports Youth Project Support Programme, several thematic calls for proposals have been created to meet the needs of young people as a result of consultations with youth organisations. To be specific, II. Call for Proposals in 2013 had been dedicated to social inclusion projects in accordance with the needs identified for socially inclusive measures based on the consultations with youth organisations and evidences adduced by them for such a need.
In addition, in 2016 the Special Call for Proposals dedicated to the projects in the Eastern and Southeastern Turkey has been launched with a view to priority of developement and demands coming from young people living in these regions.
Article 19: Youth and Sports Councils of the Decree Law No 638 on Organisation and Duties of the Ministry of Youth and Sports includes the provision; “Separate youth and sports councils are held in every four years with the purpose of determining needs and problems in relation to activities regarding youth and sports services and developing suggestions in that direction”.
In this framework, 2nd Youth Council on Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Disadvantaged Young People and Participation in Social Life, Youth in International Level, Healthy Life, Sports and Environment, Internet and Media, Democracy Consciousness and Participation, Culture, Arts and Leisure Time Activities, Ethics and Humanitarian Values assembled in 2012 and the decisions made in this council were directly reflected to the National Youth and Sports Policy Document. Some examples of the policy goals under various policy areas introduced into the Policy Document are as follows :
- Ensuring the social inclusion of young people who have migrated to the city and have social adaptation problems.
- To improve the representation of young people in national and local assemblies and to remove the communication gap between the local authorities and young people.
- Increasing the competing power of young people in the international arena.
- Increasing the number of centres, activities, and places young people can spend their free time, and extend such services to more people.