The European Youth Empowerment Research Project (EYERP)
Lead partner: Plattform e.V., Germany
Project period: 2013-2014
- aha – Tipps & Infos für junge Leute (Austria);
- invo – Service für Kinder- und Jugendbeteiligung – Service for Children and Youth Participation (Austria);
- KERIC (Slovakia);
- YUPI – Youth Union of People with Initiative (Portugal)
The European Youth Empowerment Research Project (EYERP) is funded by the “Youth in Action” programme of the European Union and aimed at carrying out the research on empirical methods and approaches on Empowerment, and Entrepreneurial Thinking and Acting that could improve and enrich youth work practice in Europe, as well as to support and involve youngsters to become more active and independent.
In addition to this, another aim of the EYERP project is to contribute to European competitiveness and to accelerate regional economic growth through promoting the social entrepreneurial mindset in the next generation.
Thus, the project aims at integrating an entrepreneurial perspective in the youth work and empowerment systems, and increase the number of young entrepreneurs in the future. The project originates from the need to absorb new knowledge and inspiration on youth empowerment strategies and entrepreneurship.
EYERP seeks to work with new methods on empowerment and entrepreneurship development in order to review current situation concerning youth empowerment and to spread lessons learned, and good practice gained. For example, EYERP is developing a questionnaire for the evaluation of competencies and empowerment effects on youth, as well as testing several youth empowerment methods and evaluating their compatibility and effectiveness in youth work.
The Questionnaire will become an instrument of quality management and measurement for youth work and education, and will be developed in cooperation with all the project partners. The idea behind this questionnaire is to serve practitioners with systematic information by evaluation of youngsters’ mindset, which can identify and indicate the most effective methods and their shortcomings.
The results of the research project and tested methods were be presented at the international conference in Weimar, Germany, on 10 and 11 September 2014. It was a great opportunity to share and present the results to a wider audience of practitioners, youngsters, policy makers, students and academia, as well as an opportunity to create a groundwork for future partnerships and cooperation.
The project is organised into several main components, as follow:
Component 1: First research phase.
Component 2: Selection and preparation of tools and methods
Component 3: Implementation of the research and evaluation
Component 4: Review and revision of research results
Component 5: Final selection of the most effective tools and methods
Component 6: Presentation of research results
Component 7: Publication of research results
In our perception, it is quite common that youngsters are treated in a way that they do not have equal rights, that their needs and ideas are denied, and that you cannot trust their personality. It is true, youngsters are not just soon-to-be-adults. Adolescence is a unique phase within the development process. As a matter of fact, participation structures are provided in adult manner or otherwise simply not accessible. This is also true for many other structures and levels in youth work, for instance in community levels. Usually, youngsters can only choose among the given offers. It is very rare when youngsters can decide on what activities should be offered. And youngsters almost never offer the youth work activities themselves or participate in the decisions on how youth should be supported, educated and involved. In our opinion, we as people who work with youth, people who work on youth participation and other practitioners, feel the need to change the approach towards youngsters. Despite any assistance and offers we give, it would be useful to provide resources and coaching, which the youngsters demand, so that they can flourish and find their own ways in the future.