“Walk the talk” – Mapping of Direct Youth Involvement in the Work of National Agencies

Year of production: 2022

Cover illustration of the report on Direct Involvement in the Work of National Agencies.

How to involve young people in organisational decision-making? How and why is it already being done by National Agencies for Erasmus+ Youth and European Solidarity Corps? „I believe that if we are encouraging organisations to really practise youth participation, we should do it ourselves too,” says a participant in this report.

This report presents the findings of mapping direct youth involvement in the work of selected National Agencies (NAs) for Erasmus+ Youth and European Solidarity Corps and SALTO Resource centres (SALTOs). It discusses some of the existing practices of involving young people, challenges faced in the process, and potential solutions and suggestions for future improvement of the process and results.

Some of the forms of youth involvement discussed in the report are youth representatives in existing Steering boards and groups to diversify the membership, temporary steering groups of young people, permanent Youth Advisory Boards, empowering and contracting local youth associations, and involving young people in regular focus groups. Check out more practices, suggestions, and opinions in the report!

How to get there? One of the good practices that the report suggests is to start with a workshop/discussion among the NA colleagues and consider these questions:

  • What is the influence that we’ve already had on young people as an NA? What else would we like to achieve? How could involving young people directly help us to achieve this?
  • What are the possibilities in our structure that allow for involving young people? Or – how would we like to involve young people? And then – how could we find ways to integrate the involvement method into our structure?

This Report should not be regarded as a scientific study. Youth participation, including direct involvement in the work of National Agencies, is continually evolving and is based on various factors, such as context, needs and aims of everyone involved. While this analysis provides some insights into potential developments in this topic, it is important to note that it is mainly intended as a “conversation starter” to be used for inspiration, reflection on why and how young people might be involved in the decision-making of your organisation.

This mapping was conducted in April-November 2022, as part of the “New Power in Youth” Strategic Partnership between National Agencies for Erasmus+ Youth & European Solidarity Corps, contributing to one of its aims “Supporting the strategic development of youth participation in democratic life on local, national and European level”. It aligns with Aim 5 of the Youth Participation Strategy – to encourage National Agencies and other actors to involve young people when making decisions about the management and implementation in the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes and to take a quality approach to youth participation when doing so.

This publication was co-founded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. The European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained in this publication.


Jaan Aps headshot
Jaan Aps

Jaan leads Stories For Impact, a social impact research and consulting company focused on increasing organisational effectiveness in improving human well-being. He enjoys blending analytical and creative thinking, which he has applied in researching for SALTO flagship projects and crafting concise, interview-style stories. In 2019 and 2023, non-formal education programs initiated with Jaan´s participation received the "Deed of the Year" award from the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and the Education and Youth Board. A renowned public speaker and trainer, Jaan has addressed thousands in Estonia and internationally, including at a TEDx event. He co-founded and led the Estonian Social Enterprise Network from 2012 to 2019.Additionally, Jaan evaluates for the Estonian Responsible Business Forum's Responsible Business Index and teaches in the ESG Manager Development Programme at the Estonian Business School's Executive Education branch.

New Power in Youth Strategic Partnership (NPiY)

New Power in Youth is a Strategic Partnership between National Agencies for Erasmus+ & European Solidarity Corps and SALTO Resource Centres. Its main aim is to foster youth participation in democratic life and it contributes to three specific objectives: 1)Introducing Erasmus+ & ESC Youth Participation Strategy and supporting youth participation projects through E+ & ESC programmes; 2) Supporting the strategic development of youth participation in democratic life on local, national and European levels; 3) Enhancing the partnership between the non-formal and formal education sectors in order to better support youth participation in democratic life.