By : Wael Elhosany
The EU4Youth Youth Engagement Roadmaps project has launched a new improved cycle of Youth Policy Labs in the Eastern partner countries. Based on the successful implementation of the Policy Labs in 2020 and 2021, five new Policy Labs, one for each EaP country – with the notable and understandable exception of Ukraine – have started their operations in a renewed version.
Previously, the project completed 12 Policy Labs with a total of 48 meetings over a period of 9 months, where young people, decision makers and other interested stakeholders developed recommendations to strengthen youth policies in a co-creative approach, such as youth employment, green and sustainable development, or how to further develop youth social entrepreneurships.
Based on the evaluation of the 2021 Policy Labs, the team of implementors, i.e. the Youth Policy Lab Facilitators (PLFs), the project team and participants, identified the main challenges to an even more meaningful policy lab approach for young people:
A stronger presence of policy makers in the choice of the policy area;
A more structured approach to the experimentation phase of freshly proposed changed action;
Strengthened Policy Lab Facilitators team, with some new PLFs trained and a closer collaboration among the country teams;
A long-term orientation, consisting in strengthening competence building for PLFs, and engaging policy agencies in the co-ownership of the lab, while respecting their bottom-up approach.
These efforts aim to create the conditions for a sustainable Youth Policy Labs Hub for the EaP in the future, which would be well connected with similar Hubs in other Neighbourhood countries and in the EU.
Themes selected for the New Policy Labs are diverse, while youth participation is a common pattern: social entrepreneurship, youth work and digitalisation, inclusion through cultural activities, career guidance and transition paths from education to work.