Back Contribution to the Erasmus + strategic partnership project “Ignite the Spark”

Under the impact of the actual challenges facing Europe there seems to be various perspectives on how participation, a sense of citizenship and democratic values need to be further developed today. Current research shows that young people tend to participate rather in non-traditional forms and different examples can be found all over Europe where young people do get involved if their interests and needs are directly addressed.

Across Europe the understanding of what participation actually is differs – mainly at the divide between social, civic and political participation. In the framework of this project stands the assumption that all three forms are interrelated, leading to a greater democratic participation and active citizenship. This reflective process is at the core of this project.

The long-term project “Ignite the spark” is the result of a long-term co-operation between different National Agencies of the Erasmus + Youth programme, the partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of youth and SALTO Participation.

The project aims at:

  • contributing to a better understanding of alternative and diverse forms of participation in democratic life;
  • promoting their value for a vivid and contentious democracy under development;
  • bridging the ability to articulate an individual interest to an ability to articulate a common interest with others;
  • reflecting on the learning of participation as a way to inspire critical citizens;
  • enabling multipliers to empower young people to take an active role in democratic society.

The project has a core interest to strengthen participation for groups and in fields which are normally underrepresented and having less access to forms of influencing their living environment, such as young refugees and migrants, people of black and ethnic minority background (BME), NEETs, young apprentices, trainees and workers, young people in vocational training centers, schools or non-formal settings such as youth initiatives.

3 Participation Labs bringing together experts to explore a current challenge, find out what the burning questions are, existing knowledge and models of practice are foreseen in 2016 and 2017 on the following themes: