The Campaign Coordination Meeting of the 18 months-long project “Youth Democracy Academy” took place from the 20th to the 25th of November in Portimão (Portugal).
The project focuses on engaging young people aged 17-21, from 12 different EU countries, in moving towards a Europe that is closer to its citizens. In light of the upcoming European elections in May 2019, “Youth Democracy Academy” will raise awareness amongst young people about the importance of being involved in policy-making at European level and will prioritize the engagement of first-time voters in a dialogue about the future of Europe and their role therein.
The Campaign Coordination Meeting gathered all project coordinators from partner organisations to discuss the project implementation, activities and responsibilities. It also gathered 24 youth representatives from all the participating countries: Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden.
During the 6-days event, participants had the chance to discuss the main strategies to create effective Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) campaigns, they explored examples from different European countries, and even from the United States, and they discussed about the main sociological reasons for youth absenteeism. Through a series of experiential and interesting activities, youth representatives had the chance to create different examples of GOTV campaigns to eventually implement them in their own countries, while the project coordinators discussed the project activities and the general timeline. Many different and interesting outcomes were discussed during the different sessions: if young people are their own cause for their lack of political participation; if the European project is really including all of the citizens; how education can help spread information on the European institutions.
By the end of the YDA project, participants will develop local GOTV campaigns to encourage young people to be politically active in their different contexts and communities, and they will be involving first-time voters in activities that focus on the importance of voting in the next European Elections 2019.
During the event, the group also had the chance to encounter Teresa Filipa Mendes, Councilwoman for Sports and Youth in the Municipality of Portimão, at Casa Manuel Teixeira Gomes, house of the 7th President of Portugal. In this occasion, Ms. Mendes discussed with the participants about the different opportunities for youth in Portimão and the importance of events like this one to revive the city, apart from tourism.
The activity was organized by DYPALL Network, with the support of Erasmus+ European Youth Together programme.