#GEOYOUTH2020 & 2021
Fostering Youth Participation in Politics in Georgia, Germany & beyond
“‘Meaningful’ opportunities for adolescent participation
require strategic and practical efforts that ensure space,
voice, audience and influence!” L. Lundi
Through the first year of the joint project #GEOYOUTH2020, the common challenges which hinder young people in Georgia to actively become involved in politics were identified and tackled. The grassroots approach clearly helped to demonstrate that the topic of the project struck a chord, while also exposing a danger to democratic pluralism in Georgia: If young people are not involved in politics, important negotiation processes towards a pluralistic society are inhibited. Therefore, it is essential that this generation – the first one to grow up in a democratic system – is prepared for the constituent discourse that defines a democratic society.
Building on the lessons learned from 2020, we developed #GEOYOUTH2021 in the framework of the local elections in Georgia and supported youth groups – especially those in rural areas – in implementing their ideas in their communities. By supporting young people in empowering themselves and each other, the participants were encouraged to take part in a forum to continue cooperating beyond the project’s duration. The goal was for them to realize their potential as political subjects and thereby strengthen pluralistic democratic structures in the long-term.
This review process aims at evaluating the activities of both project years. The focus is on the meaningfulness of youth participation in the framework of our project, measured throughout the scoping and implementation phases on the basis of diverse feedback from the participants of both project years and a facilitated evaluation workshop in November 2021. The result is a list of recommendations and key learnings for our own and other non-profit organizations engaging in international youth projects, as well as for young activists and donor organizations.
Some of our learnings are distinctly context-specific, corresponding to the political crisis in Georgia or the challenges during the Covid19 pandemic. However, just as the obstacles to political youth participation identified in the Youth Manifesto exceed the Georgian context, this detailed and structured assessment provides recommendations for civil society actors across democracies worldwide.
We hope that this report is a helpful resource for organizations and activists aiming at the fostering of youth engagement in democratic contexts. Our hands-on recommendations are based on two years of close collaboration between Polis180 and GIP, as well as the respective organisations’ extensive experiences in local and international youth engagement.
We look forward to your feedback and continuing this conversation!
01 March – 31 December 2020
01 March – 31 December 2021
#GEOYOUTH2020 and #GEOYOUTH2021 were funded by the German Federal Foreign Office in the framework of the programme Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia.