Project-based Ways

Year of production: 2020

Photo is illustrative. Helena Lopes (Unsplash)

A lot of youth participation also happens through projects that are specifically created to further young people’s opportunities to participate. Projects are often a good way to work on a specific topic or area of participation and representation of young people. There are many opportunities to start one’s own participation project.


Advantages of project-based ways of addressing the topic of participation:

  • opportunity to focus on a particular issue or challenge at hand;
  • multiple opportunities for participation-focused projects to be granted funding (Erasmus+ or European Solidarity Corps programmes);
  • learning new skills through managing and implementing the project (project management, time management, budgeting, team work etc);
  • concrete outcomes and deliverables which are measurable;
  • projects can have a flexible duration – they can be short-term or long-term;
  • projects can often be an opportunity to get funding for bigger ideas that otherwise could not be implemented.

Challenges and disadvantages of project-based ways of addressing the topic of participation:

  • projects usually have a start and end date which can make it challenging to create long-term change;
  • sustainability: who is going to carry on the work after the funding has finished?
  • creating an image of youth participation as a one-off thing that can be ticked off but which does not need to happen all the time;
  • projects often have specific objectives and deliverables which may not provide a lot of flexibility to respond to the new and emerging needs of young people.

European Union Erasmus+ programme identifies active participation of young people in the democratic process as a priority which means that project applications that seek to provide opportunities for young people to have a dialogue with decision-makers or to improve participation opportunities for young people in general, are particularly welcomed. Similarly, European Solidarity Corps programme has funding available to support projects that foster the active participation of young people.


Martti Martinson
Martti Martinson

Martti Martinson is an Honorary Fellow at Victoria University, Australia and his research and advocacy work is focused on the enabling environment for youth participation in decision-making processes. He is a strong advocate for the concept of human rights based youth work and legislating youth participation.