The Active Citizenship: Enhancing Political Participation of Migrant Youth (ACCESS) project is a European Commission-funded project that aims to help enhance political participation among young people. The project was developed on the assumption that young people who are politically active at the local level are more likely to have a sense of European citizenship and identity and thereby contribute to the development of their societies. This project has been developed and piloted in five cities: Helsinki - Finland, Barcelona - Spain, Marseille - France, Cluj Napoca - Romania and Prague - Czech Republic.
ACCESS views young people as a positive force for transformative social change. The project has provided equal opportunities for migrant youth to participate in society, and raise awareness and recognition through non-traditional channels such as music, art, sports, movements and political statements as a means of engaging. During the project, a total of more than 125 migrant young people and political actors were brought together to discuss elements needed to foster and encourage third country national youth political participation.
During the 18-month period, the project has invited young adults to brainstorm and actively participate in influencing those areas most important to them. In all partner cities, ACCESS Youth Teams implemented various activities which connected like-minded young people together to make an impact on policies and address the challenges faced by their communities. The teams organised consultative meetings with EU parliamentarians and national authorities, where they raised issues such as youth social exclusion and marginalisation, youth unemployment and migrant youth challenges in the school environment.
The aim of the ACCESS peer review was to increase partnering municipalities’ awareness of the benefits and limitations of their practices, programmes and policies for involving migrant youth in decision-making processes, and as a result, enable municipalities to work towards more profound ways of engaging migrant young people. Through the peer review process, the project has created new ways of generating dialogue between generations and building networks between young people and decision-makers across partner countries. Peers evaluated the current policies and practices in all partner municipalities and provided concrete advice and tools for the authorities in involving young people in the planning, implementing and monitoring of questions concerning them. The findings of the review are presented in this report.
The project has also developed an online self-assessment tool, which serves the purpose of sharing information on the innovative ways for migrant young people to engage in local policy-making. The self-assessment tool allows the user to evaluate their own practices and gain valuable feedback on them, as identified by the peers.