Tell us your advice on doing participation activities –
what worked well, what you enjoy, what is inclusive?
LEAP had a huge challenge with reaching young people with fewer opportunities because of the lockdown or restricted mobility situations caused by COVID-19. Our recommendation for others is to take the long mile and invest extra resources and efforts in reaching those young people.
Overall, our experience is that young people feel empowered by being able to speak about their own situations and perspectives. It was also interesting to see how their approach towards issues like the overall role the city/urban area shall have in providing them a high quality of life. Young people put extra effort in thinking on a broader level, exiting their usual mental environment.
Tell us what you found out - what were people's experiences, views or ideas for change?Over 1,000 young people participated in quantitative studies while further over 100 young people participated in focus groups and in creative laboratories for future action working with stakeholders in developing plans for future action. They also participated in the ranking of priorities for action. The whole LEAP dataset (problems, views of young people, systemic gaps, policy proposals and priorities for action) is connected through a list of keywords which provide the opportunity for an interactive data visualisation in order for one to find the best information for action as quickly as possible. The dataset is available to the public in English providing broad access not just at local, but national, European and global level, too. Another innovation of the research is the LEAP quadrant, which provides a framework for defining needs and developing future action for the well-being of young people. Health, Learning, Agency and Enabling Environment are the for pillars which provided a general grouping of issues and proposals. Keywords were also grouped in these four major categories. Based on the outcomes of LEAP Cluj there are already a series of next actions developed by the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca, other municipalities from the metropolitan area, youth organisations and other key stakeholders. Youth also became a key pillar in the 10-year metro development strategy while a dedicated youth metropolitan strategy also started to be developed with an estimated official approval until September 2021. LEAP happened in the context of additional research being conducted on the situation of young people in Cluj-Napoca and the metro area. It is the first instance in history when the city and the metro area have vast evidence based on data about the situation of young people in a context of a crisis which affects this generation the most.
What are your recommendations or calls to action?- Evidence-based decisions are essential for any decision-maker at local, regional, or national level. Research and analysis can be conducted in a participatory way involving young people actively not just as sources of information but agents of understanding, processing and summarising that information. - Young people are open to answer if they are addressed the right way, especially in their own environment, or environments where they do feel safe. - Information and data is not enough by itself, one needs to emphasize the value of the data and needs to provide accessibility to this. Our extra 5% effort in producing creative and easy-to-access data visualisation provided a huge added value in being able to explain what data is there and how young people, service providers and decision makers can take advantage of that data in a fast and easy manner.
What do you try to change?Since the research’s conclusion, there is already specific action taken by various groups of stakeholders, including youth organisations, such as: - Cluj for Youth 2030, the metropolitan youth strategy is under development in the coordination of PONT Group and the active participation of the Cluj Youth Federation, the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca and the Cluj Metropolitan Association. Estimated entry into force in September 2021. - Cluj Youth Rapid Response, a concept being developed aiming to address the disconnect between young people aged 14-24 and the existing services which aim to support them. This is a problem for young people themselves because it leads them to take uninformed and unsupported decisions which negatively impact their life today and into the future. We aim to create a technology-based, collaborative solution that functions at an urban and metropolitan level as an interface between young people who need help/assistance/support and the corresponding, city-wide stakeholders/service providers who can address/assist/provide support to them in solving their problems. - Cluj for Youth cooperation protocols, a platform for cooperation in the field of young enabling a series of tools and methods on monitoring and reporting of collective action in the field of youth by 721 stakeholders identified in the Cluj Metropolitan Area. - Cluj Social Innovation Fund, a platform and support mechanism.