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Empowering Youth Participation: Insights from Slovakia's Up 2 You(th)! Focus Groups

The Blueprint for Youth Workers in Slovakia, North Macedonia, and Armenia

Welcome to the Up 2 You(th)! Focus Group report from Slovakia. Here, we delve into the engaging discussions held with enthusiastic high school students, the brilliant minds and future changemakers of Slovakia. Their insights are helping us to understand better and support youth engagement in local communities.

Focus groups: Key Findings

In June 2022, we gathered 30 high school students from Rožňava and Michalovce, aged 16-19, into a series of focus groups in their regions to get their perspectives on youth participation in local communities. The students' enthusiasm to shape their communities was evident, yet they acknowledged the limitations of disinterest and lack of motivation among their peers. Often unheard by authorities and struggling with issues like mental health problems, our participants proposed practical suggestions to enhance engagement, ranging from incentives to educational workshops that will make a visible impact. Discover the Full Report

 

The local partners: 

Three distinct types of high schools became the foundation for these focus groups, each bringing its unique perspective to the conversation:

  • Obchodná Akadémia Rožňava
  • Stredná Zdravotnícka Škola Rožňava
  • Gymnázium P. J. Šafárika Rožňava
  • Obchodná akadémia Kapušianska 2 Michalovce
  • Gymnázium Ľ. Štúra, Michalovce
  • Stredná Zdravotnícka Škola Masarykova 27 Michalovce

The schools assisted with selecting the participants and provided the venues for the sessions. 

The inclusive selection across these diverse educational institutions ensured a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, with a notable inclusion of 14 students facing socioeconomic challenges. 

Crafting the Conversation: Participant Selection

The focus groups weren't formed by chance. It was a result of a careful selection procedure aimed at capturing diverse experiences and views among young people:

  1. Target Group Identification: We focused on high school students (16-19) - as the majority of our youth activities target this age group of young people. Also, our associated partners, the Regional government and the Regional youth council, operate mainly with high school students. 
  2. Geographical Diversity: Rožňava and Michalovce were chosen for their active student parliaments and interest in youth engagement. With our associated partners, we have assessed that these regions would benefit from more youth activities and opportunities for non-formal education.
  3. Diverse Representation: A deliberate mix of academic institutions ensured that no single narrative dominated the conversation. We included participants from grammar schools as well as VET schools.
  4. Interest and Relevance: Participants were not just chosen; they were motivated and connected to the cause, identified through a supportive network of schools and local partners.

Preparation was key, with participants receiving comprehensive briefs and background material, ensuring informed and reflective contributions. Learn About Our Selection Process

Reflecting and Learning: The Role of Facilitators

Led by Ivan Rosa, a seasoned facilitator trained in conducting focus groups during LTT in Armenia (September 2021), the sessions were structured to enable constructive discussions and a safe space for expressing personal opinions. 

 

Duration and Evaluation: Impactful Engagement

The 4-hour sessions not only boosted the participants' understanding of community engagement but also increased their motivation to be more involved and collaborate together for this cause. The satisfaction scores, ranging from 3.42 to 3.79 out of 4, reflected the resonance and impact of the focus groups. Read Our Evaluation

 

Conclusion: Voices Heard, Paths Forged

Youth from the Košice region have spoken: their community spirit is alive and well but needs encouragement through tangible incidents and visible results. They call for inclusive educational activities and clear communication channels with authorities. And they're not just talking – they're ready to lead by example, engage on social media, and reach out to those in power.

Access the Detailed Focus Group Report



The Project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. 2020-2-SK02-KA205-002569

                 

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