Given the youth’s potential to contribute significantly to national development, they must be afforded appropriate recognition and must, therefore, be involved in national development by governments and other stakeholders.
The youth represent key drivers of our today’s and tomorrow’s societies. Despite the formal recognition given to youth as a source of societal development, the challenges they face worldwide in terms of sociocultural, economic, and political participation are still considerable.
At EFEY we believe in the tremendous value of the youth’s potential and in the need for the young generation to be involved by all the relevant stakeholders in tackling poverty, limited access to education and training, scarce employment opportunities and reduced political participation, all problems affecting the youth and the society as a whole. This is why EFEY aims to serve as a vehicle for empowering the youth for national development and for engaging them and other stakeholders in meaningful partnerships with the purpose of advancing appropriate interventions and services for youth empowerment. In doing so, we departed from several assumptions acknowledged both at a national and international level:
With over 3 billion people being under the age of 25, today’s generation of young people is the largest in history. Engaging today the young decision makers of tomorrow is crucial for the balanced democratic development of our society.
Considering the large number of young people who are not in employment, education or training across the European Union (14 million), the economic cost of not integrating youth proves to be a definite burden on the national and EU budgets (over €150 billion, or 1.2% of GDP, in 2011 figures). National and European policies must address the needs of the youth in a coherent manner.
Despite the short-term costs entailed by youth participation, in the long run, the process of engaging youth in all the governmental and non-governmental socio-economic development efforts will result in policies and activities which better respond to youth problems and which will, therefore, be more relevant to the needs of their generation. Increased youth participation will not only lead to better targeted policies and specific actions, but it will also help secure the sustainability of any entity’s activities as youth, as primary stakeholders, will be more invested in their momentum. Through consulting, consensus building, partnership, evaluation and management, youth should be engaged in all the stages of the policymaking process.
An engaged youth leads to a better future. Youth development experiences can have positive effects on behaviors and skills including self-efficacy, self-determination, communication, and problem-solving. Provided that each of these skills is linked to higher student achievement, lower dropout rates, and better post-school outcomes, engaging youth in activities impacting on their personal development is a necessary present action for the development of a healthy future society.
Honesty and integrity
Participation and collaboration
Innovation and creativity