“EUth – Tools and Tips for Mobile and Digital Youth Participation in and across Europe”
The EUth project aims at increasing young people’s trust in European political institutions by fostering youth eParticipation as a democratic innovation which enables new communication patterns between politics or administrations and young people. This leads to the operative goal to develop digital solutions for youth participation.
The solution has been created within the EUth project: OPIN, an all-in-one proven digital and mobile participation toolbox. The youth eParticipation toolbox OPIN combines a multilingual online-platform with a mobile application. It offers a wide range of assistance for initiators of participation processes. The features of OPIN help consulting young people during agenda-setting or idea collection and enable to collectively draft, comment and vote on proposals or position papers.
Additionally, the platform offers a mapping tool and is connected to a mobile polling tool that facilitates reaching youngsters within a certain geographical area. And the best: Online and offline phases can be combined into a multi-tier participation process.
Based on experience
Throughout the project, the experiences in the field of youth eParticipation have been collected, researched and transformed into practical tips and guidelines, which are now available on the platform.
The project follows a “design by participation” approach: pilot programmes in different contexts have been testing OPIN and providing feedback for improvements. This has been done in three cycles – iterations, which led to even better versions of the toolbox. 10 new pilots have started using OPIN in 2017 and are striving to enrich good practices in digital youth engagement.
Five reasons why OPIN serves best for your eParticipation projects
OPIN is a safe place
Unlike WhatsApp, Facebook and others OPIN is not commercial. It has been developed with funds from the European Union and is run by a non-profit business. Making money with personal data or with placing individualized advertisement is not an option for us. On the contrary privacy and data protection have been fundamental principles from the very beginning. Thanks to the support of data protection officers and professional consultancy from law experts, OPIN does actually over-achieve regulations such as the European data protection legislation or the German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG). Thus by using OPIN you can stop worrying about the complex topic and avoid discussions with your local data protection officer.
Easy to use
OPIN is easy to use in several ways:
Privacy and data protection have been fundamental principles from the very beginning.
It has proven to be more effective to combine online and offline elements
Combination of online and offline participation activities
OPIN offers all main participation features that you will find in other tools and even more. You can combine these online participation activities with other project activities – such as offline events. This is anyway mostly the case. For a good reason only few participation projects happen solely online. It has proven to be more effective to combine online and offline elements in your participation project to increase participants’ motivation.
Available in 10 languages
OPIN is made to be used in whole Europe. The platform is currently available in 10 European languages: English, German, French, Italian, Slovenian, Danish, Russian, Swedish, Greek and Ukrainian.
OPIN guidelines: Practical support for successful youth eParticipation
Actually youth eParticipation is not difficult. It’s project management with some special extra. But still many projects fail. Often only few take part, participation results are never implemented and the main outcome is frustration. How is this possible? The answer is: There are indeed some things to know about youth eParticipation. The OPIN guidelines provide exactly this information.
A whole lot of participation experts compiled information on how to set up successful youth eParticipation projects. The very comprehensive and practical tips address all stages and topics of youth eParticipation.
From 2018 the software will be fully available and ready to help you to involve youngsters in eParticipation projects.
Developing youth eParticipation field in Europe
The first European Open summit on digital youth participation “The Future is Now” with over 140 participants from different fields was held in December 2017 in Berlin. An important result of this event are 12 recommendations for further development of the field.
Internet Society – the biggest global organization fighting for neutrality of the net – is still not known for most of the youth workers. ISOC has produced a report on futures of the internet. This has been presented for discussions of the future of eParticipation in the field of youth and established a new synergy with ISOC. Sharing session results can inspire you for new cooperation and projects.
Find all outcomes of the event with live stream recordings, presentations and articles here: www.euth.net/summit/outcomes
The project “EUth – Tools and Tips for Mobile and Digital Youth Participation in and across Europe” has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and was carried out by a diverse and intersectoral partnership. Learn more about the partners, the project and future developments here : http://www.euthproject.eu and http://www.opin.me
by Evaldas Rupkus (2018)
Evaldas Rupkus – markets EUth at IJAB (International Youth Service of Germany), innovates youth information and contributes to development of youth work European wide.
Photos: author, group © Vytautas Vaiceliunas, flyers © Juha Kiviniemi, all other and video © EUth/IJAB