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Up 2 You(th)! Local Workshop: "Values of Democracy"

In Eastern Slovakia, an exciting experience evolved for the young minds of Michalovce and Rožňava. The "Values of Democracy" workshop, a part of the Up 2 You(th)! initiative, was hosted at the Gymnázium Pavla Jozefa Šafárika and Gymnázium Ľ. Štúra. These events took place on the 13th and 20th of June 2023, making another small step towards encouraging democratic values among youth.

Who Participated?

Targeting high school students aged 16-19, the workshop provided an inclusive platform, especially for those facing economic challenges and limited access to educational opportunities. A total of 51 aspiring young individuals participated in two local workshops, bringing diverse perspectives on the topic of democracy and social rights.

 

Objectives and Outcomes

Led by Mgr. Roland Bánhegyi, a senior youth worker from the Regional Youth Center RCM, the workshop aimed to deepen young people's understanding of democratic principles and the parliamentary system. 

The objectives were: 

  1. To enhance young people's knowledge of how the parliamentary system functions and the basics of democratic processes.
  2. To enable participants to comprehend the advantages of a democratic system over an autocratic one.
  3. To deepen understanding of the foundational principles and values that democracy is built upon.
  4. To familiarize participants with social rights and their significance in a democratic context.

Increase young people's knowledge about the enforcement and importance of human rights.



Learning Outcomes Achieved by Participants:

  • Participants developed an increased awareness about the indivisibility, interconnection, and universality of human rights through the "Enter Dignityland!" game.
  • Improved their perception of social law and policies and increased their ability to understand and critique these societal aspects.
  • Enhanced ability to critically analyze real-life situations, political decisions, and developments in the field of human rights.
  • Gained insights into the role young people can play in the development and shaping of social policies, highlighting the impact of youth involvement in democratic processes.

 

Interactive Learning: A Core Approach

The use of the Dignityland card game set the stage for an engaging and participatory learning experience. Participants, divided into groups, simulated parliamentary roles, debating and formulating social policies. This approach not only made the concept of democracy tangible but also highlighted the importance of collaborative decision-making.

 

Revelations and Achievements

The workshop's success was evident through both qualitative and quantitative feedback. Participants demonstrated a substantial increase in their understanding of democratic processes and expressed a boosted interest in participating in elections. The most important recognition came from enhancing knowledge about the benefits of democratic systems.

 

Recommendations for Local Authorities

As we reflect on the success of the "Values of Democracy" workshops, several recommendations emerge for local authorities:

  1. Enhance Civic Education: Local authorities should invest in educational programs similar to the "Values of Democracy" workshop to deepen young people's understanding of democracy, social rights, and the parliamentary system. This approach could be integrated into school curricula or as part of extracurricular activities.
  2. Facilitate Youth Engagement in Policy-Making: Encourage and facilitate the active participation of young people in local decision-making processes. Create platforms where young voices can be heard and considered in the formulation of local policies, especially those impacting youth.
  3. Promote Access to Educational Opportunities: Address socio-economic barriers that hinder access to educational opportunities. Develop scholarships, grants, and support programs for youth from low-income families and rural areas to ensure equal access to educational resources.
  4. Support Youth-Led Initiatives: Encourage and financially support initiatives led by young people or youth organizations that promote democratic values and active citizenship. This could include funding for projects, providing spaces for activities, or offering mentorship and guidance.
  5. Develop Collaborative Programs with Schools and Youth Centers: Partner with schools and regional youth centers to develop and implement programs that focus on democratic education and active participation. Utilize the expertise of experienced youth workers like Mgr. Roland Bánhegyi for program development and facilitation.
  6. Implement Inclusive Policy-Making Workshops: Regularly conduct workshops and simulation games that enable young people to experience and understand the complexities of policy-making, governance, and social rights.
  7. Provide Platforms for Critical Discussion: Organize forums, debates, and discussion groups where young people can critically engage with current political issues, express their opinions, and debate solutions.
  8. Encourage Participation in Elections: Launch campaigns and informational sessions to motivate young people to participate in elections and understand the importance of their vote in shaping democratic processes.

The "Values of Democracy" workshop increased the understanding of democracy and its principles among young individuals and also set a benchmark for future similar educational endeavours. 

Click here to access the full "Values of Democracy" workshop report and recommendations.



 



 

 

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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