The emerging digital divides: Covid-19 and European youth work


This study provides a glimpse into the situation and cannot be used as representative of the whole of the European youth sector. The limitations include a small sample size and data collected only during the first year of the pandemic. In 2020, many youth organisations began learning how to shift their activities into online spaces. The results presented in this report offer insights into youth workers' experiences of that particular period.The problem of the digital divide in youth work provides a way to contextualise existing digital inequalities and start conversations about how to dig deeper into possible solutions. The distinction between digitally excluded and digitally included youth workers does not aim simply to label, categorise, or divide. Youth workers’ digital competences, confidence, and motivations shift and evolve - and so does digital transformation. The term digital divide is used in this report as a metaphor to explore these complex dynamics. In no way does one's digital inclusion (or lack thereof) reflect one’s youth work expertise and this study should not be interpreted on this basis. Regardless of the skill level of digital engagement, all youth workers participating in this study showed incredible amounts of commitment, passion, and resilience to their work at the time of the crisis. 



 Towards a better understanding of COVID-19 impact on young people and on the youth sector in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus

EU-Council of Europe youth partnership, Pantea, M.C, Makharadze, T. (2021) 

This study was initiated as part of the monitoring process of the EU-Council of Europe Youth Partnership on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people and the youth sector in Europe. It aims to analyse the implications of the pandemic on the young people and the youth sector in the six countries of the Eastern Partnership cooperation, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to map the main responses, outline the policy gaps and to propose recommendations towards a post-COVID recovery. To avoid any confusion on the countries covered, the study will refer to Eastern Europe and South Caucasus region.




RAY Network (2021)

The report presents key findings from the multilingual survey on main effects on youth work, estimating impact on current youth work, structural and budgetary impact on youth work, impact on youth work teams, as well as response of (European) youth work, support of (European) youth work and support of young people.



 The impact of Covid-19 on England’s youth organisations

UK Youth

The report presents the financial impact of Covid-19 on youth organisations in England. The report finds that the pandemic is having a substantial, negative impact on young people, particularly regarding their wellbeing and mental health. In turn, youth organisations are seeing an increase in demand for their services. Youth organisations are simply unable to meet the substantial demand for their services, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. This is due to COVID-19 restrictions and the financial implications of the pandemic including reduced income, increased costs as youth organisations strive to adapt their services, and efforts to reduce expenditure leading to a loss in workforce.



 “Glocal” and Transversal Engagement in Youth Social Movements: A Twitter-Based Case Study of Fridays For Future-Barcelona

Frontiers in Political Science, Ludovic Terren, Roger Soler-i-Martí

Based on a social network and a content analysis of Fridays For Future-Barcelona’s Twitter account since its creation, this article explores the organization’s “glocal” and transversal dynamics, the relationship that might exist between these two, and the potential influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on these processes.



 Online political behaviour and ideological production by young people

DigiGen project

This report showcases online observation and 65 interviews, conducted between September 2020 and April 2021 in Estonia, Greece and the United Kingdom, comparing the reasons and the means by which youth engaged in online civic participation, focusing on online movements mobilising for racial, social and environmental justice. Overall, participants who are active members of civic society organisations which are robustly organised (decentralised or hierarchical) utilise specialised types of platforms for different activities and are mindful of internet safety and surveillance issues, while those that are members of less organised movements rely on more commercial and general platforms to organise, communicate, coordinate, and publicise their activities.



 Study on Youth work in the EU

European Commission

This study constitutes the second European-wide comparison on youth work published by the European Commission. This study inevitably covers the needs which have emerged since the COVID-19 pandemic. It also analyses longer-term needs which are expressed independently of the COVID-19 pandemic.



 Education and youth in post-COVID-19 Europe – crisis effects and policy recommendations

European Parliament

The pandemic has had a range of implications and consequences for youth work and non- formal learning in Europe presenting significant threats to the predominant methodologies of youth work that involve physical proximity, group work and sometimes transnational travel.  The emergence of “digital youth work” over the past decade has enabled youth work to accelerate, extend and diversify their activities.  The crisis also revealed the key persisting challenges in the youth work sector (e.g., in terms of recognition, strategy, outreach, funding and available tools) that need to be tackled for it to be able to contribute to re-imagining European education and youth spaces.



 Impact of Covid-19 on the voluntary youth work sector in Wales


The voluntary youth sector in Wales has responded and risen to the challenge of Covid-19 swiftly and admirably, less than 8% of Members surveyed reported no operational change. While it is clear the sector has serious concerns about the future post lockdown, many have quickly adapted their services, repurposed resources and continued to support the communities they work within. The respot is based on a survey of CWVYS members. CWVYS is the representative body for the voluntary youth sector in Wales.



 Survey on the impact of the corona pandemic on youth work in Europe - in the European Youth Programmes and beyond.

RAY Network 

This literature review summarises a curated selection of currently available results of research on young people and youth work in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of this literature review is to help un- derstand the diversity of the ways young people are uniquely affected by pandemics, identify key recommendations for youth policy and provide a glimpse into the methods and practices youth work has adopted to help young people navigate these uncertain times.



 Youth work and the corona pandemic in Europe. Policy brief

RAY Network

This policy brief presents key findings from the research project on the impact of the corona pandemic on youth work in Europe (RAY-COR)



 The European Youth Blueprint To Recovery    

The European Youth Forum (YFJ)

Since the beginning of the crisis, the European Youth Forum has worked to ensure that no young person was left behind and that youth organisations were supported in their solidarity actions. With this European Youth Blueprint to Recovery, YFJ presents a series of policy recommendations aiming at influencing the institutional response to the crisis. Our solutions are built around three pillars for the reconstruction of our societies in the wake of the crisis: Social & economic inclusion - preventing the lockdown generation; Human rights, civic space and participation - maintaining and strengthening our democracies; Beyond recovery - sustainable alternatives to build back better. 



 A Comprehensive Plan To Innovate Democracy In Europe, Civil society vision for the European Democracy Action Plan

European Partnership For Democracy    

It is no secret that democracies around the world have been faced with a series of interrelated challenges in recent years and European democracies are no different. Amidst the immense socio-economic and political fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU commitment to and support of democracy is more important than ever. In 2019, the European Commission set out plans for a new push for European democracy which included a European Democracy Action Plan. This paper underlines how the Action Plan can provide a comprehensive framework and vision to guide the EU and its Member States to strengthen and protect democracy in Europe.  



  Safeguarding Civic Space for Young People in Europe

The European Youth Forum

Over the years, we have, unfortunately, witnessed a crackdown against civil society, including youth organisations, in various European countries. This trend is continuing in 2020, with extremely worrying signs that the COVID-19 health crisis is being used to gain political control, putting many dimensions of civic space under threat. With the new study, Safeguarding Civic Space for Young People in Europe, the European Youth Forum aims to put the spotlight on challenges faced by youth organisations in Europe



 Initiatives during the COVID-19 outbreak by EYCA member organisations    

European Youth Card Association EYCA    

The European Youth Card Association presents some of the dozens of great initiatives implemented by the different EYCA member organisations to support young people during the Covid-19 outbreak.  



 Meet 10 young people leading the COVID-19 response in their communities    

United Nations Africa Renewal    

Most people alive know that the coronavirus disease has infected nearly every continent, forced countries into states of emergency, sent individuals into varying levels of quarantine and isolation, and shuttered businesses and schools. But there’s a lesser-known story that also deserves attention: of youth rising up to meet the challenge of this pandemic.    



  #Solidaction Campaign    

Intercultural dialogue - North-South Centre - Council of Europe    

The campaign promotes a global vision engaging countries from all over the world with a particular interest in the topic of international solidarity against Covid-19. The aim is to foster an open dialogue at global level, in which representatives from all countries in the world, as well as citizens worldwide, will be able to engage. Good practices in solidarity to tackle Covid-19 are identified around the world to inspire and raise awareness.



 In distance but not apart: COVID-19 crisis management in youth field in Estonia    

European Youth Information and Counselling Agency (ERYICA)    

The ERYICA systematises in this publication all the work done by Estonian youth organisations to support young people during the pandemic. It would clearly be a mission impossible to try to compile a complete list of all the support activities undertaken by diverse community of youth field partners in Estonia on local and national levels. Nevertheless, this publication highlights some of the most importante approaches.  



 Good practices database, Sharing examples of good practice of youth policy and youth work responses   

Council of Europe    

A list of Council of Europe examples of good practice from the member states and partners offer guidance and serve as an inspiration for youth workers, trainers, youth organisations and young people themselves to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictive measures.  



 Survey on the impact of the corona pandemic on youth work in Europe - in the European Youth Programmes and beyond

RAY Network

RAY ran a first initial survey on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on youth work in Europe in June/July 2020. The survey had 938 responses from youth workers and youth leaders and young people involved in youth work



 Effects of Covid-19 across youth work and youth activities

Pool of European Youth Researchers (EU-COE youth partnership)

This paper provides a summary of the survey launched by the CMJ working group on responses to Covid-19. The survey was complete by 48 youth organisations across Council of Europe member states. The survey details the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on youth organisations in terms of funding, youth mobility, national and international volunteering programmes and digitalisation of youth organisations’ activities. It also outlines some specific measures the European institutions could implement to support the work of youth organisations and their capacity to handle the pandemic.



 Youth sport in the time of COVID-19: considerations for researchers and practitioners

Adam L. Kelly , Karl Erickson & Jennifer Turnnidge (2020)

COVID-19 represents an unprecedented challenge for the youth sport sector. Due to public health policies designed to slow down the transmission of this highly infectious disease and mitigate secondary impacts, youth sport programs around the world have experienced sudden interruptions to their activities. This article examines tools that can be used to explore the implication of COVID-19 on youth sports development. It also explores how sport is adapting to the pandemic and what are the consequences of these changes. Finally, it offers guidance to researchers in the area of youth sport in terms of contextual, methodological and practical considerations.