Learning for Participatory Democracy

Call for proposals: Medium projects
Priority area: Increased support for civic education and human rights

Project duration: 1 June 2023–30 April 2024
Project budget: EUR 48,791.50 

Research indicates that young people are not interested in politics and participation in political processes. They lack political know-how and do not trust democratic procedures or politicians in society, believing that any political engagement on their part will be ineffective. Young people also feel powerless because they believe that politicians are not interested in their wishes and views. Consequently, they believe that they cannot affect the existing political system, so they isolate themselves from it. However, this does not mean they are disinterested in involvement in politics – they are willing to participate in civil society organizations. We can conclude that the lack young people's involvement in political processes can largely be attributed to the lack of space and specific mechanisms that young people could trust and consider as an opportunity for pursuing their interests.

To address the above problem, the Association Organization for Participatory Society is launching a project dubbed Learning for Participatory Democracy. The project will encourage active citizenship among young people by providing a learning module for active citizenship classes in secondary schools. The main objective of the project is creating space within the educational systems where young people can educate themselves on active citizenships, participation, and participatory democracy – moreover, they will also have a chance for active participation. The module will be based on educating young people about various processes of co-decision making. In active citizenship classes, students will learn about the difference between representative and participatory democracy, about the concepts of political participation and active citizenship. They will also be encouraged to consider the power relations in society. The learning module will also include an empirical part – the implementation of an educational participatory budget model.

What is more, the planned project activities are aimed at establishing support among headteachers for the introduction of the active citizenship module in schools across Slovenia, and at drawing up proposals for legislative amendments that would include such activities in our legislation.

The project will be effective as it will introduce a new model of teaching active citizenship to Slovene schools, which will have a significant impact on encouraging active citizenship, strengthening democracy, and increasing the integration of young people in political processes

Contact person: Matevž Hrženjak
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Project promoter: Association Organization for Participatory Society (DOPD)

Project partner from donor countries: Citizens Foundation Iceland (Íbúa Samráðslýðræði ses)
Project partner: Institute for the Support of Civil Society Initiatives and Multicultural Cooperation Pekarna Magdalenske mreže