Supporting young people's political participation through distributed discussion - lessons obtained from an EU pilot
Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P. (2012, July 2012). Supporting young people's political participation through distributed discussion - lessons obtained from an EU pilot. Paper presented at IPSA World Congress, Madrid, Spain.
Several studies recently identified risks and advantages to young people in using the Internet and explicitly recognise the importance of young people’s informed involvement in tackling these issues. This paper presents the approach, implementation and lessons learned from a recently finished European eParticipation pilot: HUWY. The aim of HUWY (Hub Websites for Youth Participation) was to involve young people in discussions about Internet governance and policy-making. It was carried out by research partners in four countries: Estonia, Germany, Ireland and the UK. The project piloted a novel approach: a distributed discussion model was designed, adapted and implemented. This combined distributed and centralised actions at local, national, and international level, both online and offline. The evaluation assessed participants’ perspectives and engagement during different phases of the project. A final impact assessment of the distributed discussion model combined a normative approach of assessing intended impacts, using evaluation data and an impact logic schema. Results of the assessment suggest that a distributed discussion model should integrate online and offline activities more fully and increase specific support for facilitation of the discussions. The evaluation indicated importance of the participation of policy-makers, in order to motivate young people to get engaged, but also the difficulties of securing and supporting that participation. This paper concentrates on two aspects of the trial: involvement of policy-makers and using social media.
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