Network of youth organizations from the Western Balkan and Turkey have created Youth Participation Index 2020, unique method for measuring the level of opportunity of young people to be involved in decision making process.
Youth Participation Index (YPI) provides insight into the young people’s opportunity to get involved in society. It captures their involvement in decision-making processes, their access to the labor market and their participation in social life. It comprises of 22 political, economic and social participation indicators and spans over a 5-year long data series, with data from 2016 to 2020 collected in five countries.
Youth Participation Index was developed by the Youth Banks Hub for the Western Balkans and Turkey Network of youth organizations (YBH4WBT Network) in 2016. The network was established through the project Youth Banks Hub for Western Balkans and Turkey, coordinated by Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation from Serbia and implemented in partnership with Partners Albania for Change and Development from Albania, Youth Alliance - Krusevo from North Macedonia, NGO Prima from Montenegro and Community Volunteers Foundation from Turkey (TOG).
The idea was to create a concrete tool that can be used by public authorities and civil society organizations to systematically identify and address the most pressing challenges related to youth participation in Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Specifically, through regularly publishing, the Youth Participation Index goals have been to:
- Improve the practice of using data as a reliable base for any decision concerning youth;
- Compare countries according to key indicators of youth participation in all three dimensions: political, economic and social;
Monitor progress related to youth participation throughout the years in respective countries.
The YPI was presented at the regional youth conference in Tirana on December 16, 2021. The conference brought together partner organizations, but also young people and youth representatives from the region.
During the last five years of monitoring the position of young people, the YPI has indicated that although there has been some evidence of progress, there are significant challenges concerning the participation of young people in the political, economic and social domain in the Western Balkans and Turkey, such as the underrepresentation of youth in political life, exclusion from employment and education, as well as high risk of poverty.
Nevertheless, some significant advances have been made both in terms of greater availability of youth-specific data and advocacy efforts based on conducted analysis. Thanks to the effort of the Youth Banks Hub it is now possible to obtain previously unavailable data related to youth participation in some countries (such as data on youth in prisons and youth receiving financial support provided by the social welfare system). Moreover, youth organizations in the Western Balkans and Turkey have successfully advocated for changes in policy frameworks in line with the recommendations based on YPI data.
Given that even before the onset of the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, participation of youth in social, economic and political processes was an ongoing challenge, the progress registered in the previous five years of monitoring YPI is likely will likely lose its momentum. Consequently, public authorities must step up their efforts to collect youth-sensitive data and address the low levels of youth participation. Unless urgent action is taken, young people are likely to suffer severe and long-lasting impacts as a result of the pandemic. In this process, YBH4WBT Network hopes that YPI could provide guidelines for advocacy efforts by civil society organizations and evidence-informed youth policy.
The aim of the “WB&T for EmploYouth” project is to contribute to strengthened regional collaboration, participatory democracies and the EU approximation process in the Western Balkans and Turkey (WB&T).