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Youth workers need…

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to see the need for, and seek ways to support young people to self-organise.

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An important part of the learning that takes place within youth work is related to organisational skills such as the ability to cooperate, take responsibility and solve conflicts. This is why youth work is not about organizing young people, but about supporting them to self-organise. The ability to self-organise is also important in order to gain autonomy and promoting it is also vital in order to develop and maintain a strong civil society.


  • Youth workers should be able to “Support young people to identify goals, develop strategies and organise individual and collective action for social change.”
    Council of Europe Youth Work portfolio

Guiding questions

To what degree does our local youth work meet this bullet point?

Are there sides/aspects of it that are not reached?
Are there differences related to different activities?
Are there differences related to different groups of young people?
Are there differences related to different youth work providers?
Are there other differences? Related to what?

Specific questions
  • How do we work with stimulating and supporting young people to self-organise?
    • What kinds of trainings might support young people’s ability to self-organise?
  • How we choose to organise is based on values (regarding for example learning vs efficiency). How do we promote discussions on democracy, inclusiveness and other organisational values?
  • Are we supporting young people to self-organise?
    • If not, why is this the case?
  • Are we offering fixed formats and structures for young people to organise within instead of promoting discussions on which values that should guide their organisation?
    • What consequences might this have for young people’s way of acting within the organisation?


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Good practices & tools

  • Rural youth and municipalities vs. youth and rural community

Learn more 

  • Ruuti participation framework for young people of Helsinki

Learn more 

Future steps

What different steps do we need to take in order to meet this bullet point?

Do we miss any knowledge that we need?
Do we need to take contact with stakeholders not present in our discussions?
Do we need to develop new competences, methods, work processes or organisational structures?
Can we find good practices or tools that might help us to improve this?
Do we have positive experiences from other areas of youth work that we can use also in this case?
Are there other organisations that we can contact and learn from regarding this?
Do we need to take other measures?
Do we have to revise our perspectives and/or priorities regarding youth work?

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