From here you can download all ACCESS project materials. ACCESS Peer Review report is accessible in English and French. All other materials are in English only. You can download material in a single download or download compressed zip-file which contains all materials.
ACCESS Self-Assessment Tool is an online questionnaire enabling youth workers and decision makers, in a range of contexts, to reflect upon their practices against the results collected during the ACCESS peer reviews. The tool may be used for formal purposes such as identification of strengths and areas for further development and for assessing organisations own resources and structures that enhance or prevents youth political participation.
The statements used in the Self-Assessment Tool imply ideals contributing to the participation of migrant youth in the society and are summarised under five key factors: participation; impact; motivation, trust and belonging; capability and knowledge and strategy. The statements are based on numerous recommendations and research results made by the Council of Europe, Commission of the European Communities, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Institutes for Social Research and Analysis and Youth Research Network.
After completing the questionnaire the user has possibility to download a report that enables the user to see where they are positioned within the selected reference groups. The report contains also a summation of strengths and good practices collected during the ACCESS project
Using of SAT –tool doesn’t require registration or collect any personal data. Data collected by ACCESS SAT –tool, such as responses to questions, are entirely anonymous. Such data is only used for analyses purposes in an anonymous manner.
Before starting the self-assessment the user is asked to select a comparison city. Selection has an influence on which city strengths and good practices user will receive after completing the questionnaire. The user has also a possibility to compare and see other cities results during the assessment.
The Peer Review is a methodology which gives an opportunity for shared learning and multi-methodological assessment on practices and evaluates policies based on a set of objectives. This multi-methodological approach allows peers to distinguish individual qualities and shortcomings, and provide comprehensive recommendations for improvement.
The Peer Review allows for a deepening of the learning experience and enhanced knowledge-sharing, and an opportunity for self-improvement and self-evaluation. It also offers a platform for discussions between practitioners and other relevant stakeholders who partake in the reviews. The review process opens up new perspectives and ways of working, and creates discussion. Furthermore, involved peers will reflect the practises to those in their own working environment, thus increasing knowledge across countries. The reviewing peers evaluate practises and policies as an external authority, which enables a critical and valid evaluation for the host organisation.
The reviewed organization gets comprehensive feedback on practises and policies. It will provide them with realistic and practical measures that can serve as foundation for future improvement on areas which need to be developed.
ACCESS Peer Review
The Peer Review was developed and tailored for ACCESS project objectives and partner countries need. The aim of the peer review was to increase partnering municipalities’ awareness of the benefits and limitations of their practices, programmes and policies of involving migrant youth in decision-making processes, and as a result, enable municipalities to work towards more profound ways of engaging migrant youth.
The peer review methodology covers five key factors, complying broad set of ideals concerning active participation of migrant youth.
The five key factors are:
3. Motivation, trust and belonging
4. Capability and knowledge
Ideals in this instant reflect to the objectives of the project and serve as indicators in the analysis. The peer review teams consist of municipal partners and migrant youth involved in each project countries. The combination of peers was selected based on their familiarity on youth participation and thus brought their own perspective and expertise into the discussion. The methodology included a large variety of interviews with 20 internal and external stakeholders from the partner country. The teams of 8 peers in the three day review visit conducted the interviews, produced analyses based of each interview, and analysed and discussed their findings to draw a joint conclusion about the reviewed municipality. In addition, the project thematic youth groups analyzed and commented on the findings, and provided further suggestions on how take actions on the suggested recommendation in their cities.
Building upon the peer review findings ACCESS developed an online Self-Assessment Tool.
The aim of this tool is to provide youth workers and decision makers, in a range of context, to reflect upon their practices against the results collected during the reviews. The tool may be used for formal purposes such as identification of strengths and areas for further development and for assessing organisations own resources and structures that enhance or prevents youth political participation.
In the context of the ACCESS project, political participation of young migrants is per se understood more comprehensively than simply participation in electoral processes. When only traditional forms of participation, such as voting or joining a political party, are considered, young people appear to be passive. With young people in particular, political engagement should be understood as a multifaceted process, recognising the wide scope of political life beyond the narrow concept of representative democracy and institutionalised forms of political engagement.
Why, then, should the municipality be interested in the opinions of young people? There are many good reasons for that. Firstly, the young people are residents and have the right to participation. Secondly, participatory democracy requires early education, leading to active participation in adult age. Thirdly, they are experts on their own life circumstances and listening to them results in better services for them.
Participation can be seen and talked about from two interconnected but different angles. One meaning of it is to have a part and be integrated in society, play an active role, work or study, and have access to public services, all of which are contrary to becoming marginalised. When advocating the participation of young people and the migrant population, these elements of participation are often used. The other meaning of participation is more political, referring to action aimed at having an impact on decisions, taking one’s own initiative and fighting for certain objectives. In the ACCESS review, the latter meaning of participation was focused on.
The development of the framework for conducting the ACCESS peer review started with the inclusive mapping of possible forms of political participation. Firstly, it was important to have a clear understanding of the various dimensions of participation.
Dimensions of participation
Political participation can take place in formal or informal arenas.
There are multiple forums and channels for participation.
The rules for participatory forums can be based on law, agreement or practice.
Some forums are open to anybody who is interested; while some are restricted for most residents or citizens.
Some forums are general; some specifically for young people.
Political action takes collective and individual forms.
Participation can happen by invitation (from the top down) or on one’s own initiative (from the bottom up).
Political action can happen reactively or proactively.
Political agents can act independently or depend on other initiators or decision-makers.
Apart from the dimensions of participation, multiple forms of participation exist, and it is important to keep the whole variety in mind when examining participation of young people.
Forms of participation
Representative participation: Representative participation is realised through various decision-making bodies, whereby members are elected. In this context, the possible ways of participating are voting, standing as a candidate, or campaigning for a certain candidate or party. Youth councils can also be examples of representative participation.
Participation through attendance: Young people’s participation through attendance means their presence in adult decision-making bodies, such as youth council representatives being entitled to participate, passively or actively, in municipal councils or committee meetings.
Advocacy-based participation: Advocacy-based participation means adults who represent young people, such as the Ombudsman for Children and the Advisory Council for Youth Affairs.
Project-based participation: Project-based participation means that young people are consulted or involved in planning or implementing a time-limited project, e.g. designing schoolyards. Their participation is structured by the relevant authority.
Open participation: Open participation means that all stakeholders or anybody interested are consulted via the internet, in forums, roundtables, hearings, and so on.
Deliberative participation: By deliberative participation we refer to structured dialogues between decision-makers and young people, which aim at better decisions through broad debate and consideration; or more broadly, on collective formation of the decision.
Activism: By activism, we refer to self-organised direct action outside formal institutions, e.g. Occupy camps, theatre, music, graffiti. Other forms of activism include mobilising protests, responsible consumerism and expert activism.
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.
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. 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 these peer reviews can be found under the Self-Assessment Tool. The aim of this tool is to provide non-project municipalities an opportunity to compare and assess their resources and structures against the results collected during the ACCESS peer reviews.
ABOUT THE ACCESS PROJECT
A considerable proportion of migrants to the European Union are young people. While they are often involved in informal yet politically relevant processes such as activism or civic engagement, they are less often formally represented in national political institutions such as parliaments, and many of them do not or cannot participate in elections. The limited political participation of migrant youth can be considered to be due to both the lack of appropriate channels for their engagement as well as the lack of awareness of civic opportunities and obligations available for them.
The inclusion of the voice of the youth and their concerns in formal politics is important. Although young people may not be interested in political processes, they are certainly interested in the topics discussed. Young migrants have strong feelings and opinions on key social issues such as inclusion, education, the environment and unemployment. Excluding the voice of young people from decision-making may accelerate significant frustration and, in extreme cases, destabilise democratisation.
The possibility of influencing issues and the possibility of promoting common good are important incentives for youth. Thus, political engagement should be understood as a multidimensional process that also recognises other channels and forms of participation. Young people need more alternative forms for participating – that encourage the creation of a wider range of non-institutionalised ways of expressing opinions and initiating activities which are not yet contemplated in representative democracy and institutionalised structures.
The ACCESS project was implemented in partnership with eleven partners from five EU Member States, including municipalities and youth organisations. The project was managed by IOM Helsinki with support from IOM offices in Bucharest, Madrid, Marseille and Prague.
In Helsinki, ACCESS Youth Teams implemented various activities which connected like-minded youth together to make an impact on policies and address the challenges faced by our communities. The teams organized consultative meetings with EU parliamentarians where they raised issues such as youth social exclusion and marginalization, youth unemployment and migrant youth challenges in the school environment. These youth teams suggested concrete actions to support free-of-charge leisure activities for unprivileged youths. Their recommendation given to parliamentarians was to prevent social exclusion of migrant youth by including different actors such as the public, non-governmental organisations, and, above all, the youth and their families themselves, in tackling and identifying the multifaceted causes and forms of exclusion.
Youth unemployment is a common concern across European countries and particularly among migrant youth. ACCESS Youth Teams introduced and recommended the “anonymous job-search model” to prevent discrimination during governmental recruitment processes. Concerns related to the school environment were advocated through preventive actions against discrimination and bullying in schools, and by introducing a specific “Racism-button”- an online platform that anyone can use anonymously to report discrimination in primary schools.
Furthermore, ACCESS youth are selected to represent the voice of the youth in municipal advisory groups in order to address challenges faced by migrant youth. Their active involvement throughout the project has increased their self-confidence in expressing their opinions more openly. The hard work done by these Youth Teams has helped them create a unique platform for future youth to get involved and take part in the planning, implementation and evaluation of current policies and plans across Finland.
In Spain, ACCESS young migrants have carried out various activities in areas of interest to them. Four working groups have been created in the following topics: active participation of young people, political participation, entrepreneurship and leisure and non-formal education. The objectives of these four groups have been to encourage the participation of young immigrants in each of these areas through better knowledge of existing channels and services of the city of Barcelona (ACCESS partner city), and discuss how to improve this channels and enhance participation.
To improve knowledge about the political reality of Barcelona, a training on participation channels has taken place, as well as visits to the City Hall. Young people have also been invited to various events related to youth participation and entrepreneurship organized by the Department of Youth from the City Council.
Regarding the promotion and awareness of the importance of participating, there have been various events in the City Council, with other young people, and in Consulates, leisure groups and among immigrant associations, in which the project was presented and where debate was facilitated to learn about the importance of participating. Youngsters have also opened new channels of communication as a Web page and a twitter account, which allow young people to be aware of actions carried out in the City, disseminate participation activities they organize, and learn more about different forms of participation, in order to join them.
The project has also helped to create synergies with other European and local projects. As networks have been created with social organizations, labour groups and forums, it has allowed youth groups to make dissemination of their activities, take active part on existing groups and therefore ensure that youth’s voice and opinions are taken into consideration.
In Cluj Napoca, ACCESS youth teams implemented various activities directed towards enhancing knowledge and raised understanding of the opportunities and responsibilities of migrant youth on local, national and EU-wide levels and to provide equal opportunities for migrant youth to participate in the society through non-traditional channels.
The teams have built MOSAICO, the Latin American association that aims to address the challenges faced by the Latin American migrants in Romania and to promote political and civic participation of Latin American youth residing in Romania.
The youth teams organized consultative meetings with members of the national parliament where they raised issues such as youth unemployment, migrant youth challenges and lack of information and understanding of the opportunities and responsibilities of migrant youth on local level. Their recommendation given to parliamentarians was to get together prospective employers and employees (migrant youth) to discuss the advantages of hiring young people from outside EU.
In Prague, the ACCESS youth teams, which operated under the leadership of the project peer advisors, were involved in many various activities. The mutual aim of such activities was especially to define and address problems and challenges which are met by their communities and also to make effort to impact contemporary municipal and political developments. All teams held regular meetings to discuss their priorities and to set specific goals for their activities within the framework of ACCESS. Further they took part or organised important meetings of various working groups, regional platforms, conferences or meetings of pupils´ parliments (e.g. meeting of National Working Group, meeting of Pupils´Parliment of City Coucil of Prague 14, Youth training, session of Regional Consultancy Platform with its topic „Support of Activisation and Participation of Migrants in Public Life of the Capital City of Prague, conference „Chalenges of International Migration“ etc.).
The topics specifically addressed by the ACCESS youth teams include the following areas:
- Objective picture of foreigners in local media – e.g. through magazines or web sites of each city councel, stories of migrants, their projects, success in their cariers, stories about their culture etc.;
- Importance of non-formal education – relevance of education not only in appointed institutions for active participance of the migrant youth into political and citizenship activities (e.g. creative workshops)
- Sports in Prague city areas (not only) for migrant youth – enhancement of sports offer, utilization of more hall (e.g. gyms and playgrounds belonging to schools), spreading information free of charge
- Park at the main railway station Hlavní nádraží in Prague – to add ash trays at the entrance to the main building, arrange cleaning/renovation of glass stairways, require active presence of police in the park, to eliminate presence of drug addicts and homeless persons in the public park
- How to help to decrease old stereotypes – perception of foreigners by majority society, safety of the capital city as a place of life of foreigners, hostility of local population, segregation of migrant youth.
Active involvement of migrant youth during the project had a very positive impact on raising their self-confidence, well formulating and expressing their opinion more openly as well as on ability of public presentation.
By addressing specific goals, by communication with media and participance in several media programmes dealing with the topic of migration and active political and civic participance of especially young migrants, by active communication with Prague municipality (especially with Prague 14) as well as by participance in important meetings, sessions and conferences of both youth organisations and municipalities representatives, the ACCESS youth teams have proven that the migrant youth is interested in civic and political activities in the Czech society, that they are capable of formulating their opinion and actively participate in decision making process. It is evident that the project ACCESS has demonstrated in the Czech Republic that the voice of migrant youth can be very strong and that it should be listened to.
In order to support and enhance active youth civic engagement, peer advisors organized several activities in Marseille. They met on a regular basis to discuss topics such as citizenship, youth and participatory democracy, not limiting the political participation of young migrants to participation in the electoral process, but also building a more inclusive approach promoting their participation in various decision-making processes. The purpose of these meetings was to elaborate new models for active civic participation at the local, national and European levels.
Some issues have been highlighted on several occasions. Pusillanimity seemed to be a recurring problem in actions aiming to encourage young migrants’ participation in the decision-making process, and the consequences that this had on youth’s contributions to society have been discussed at length. It has also been noted that communication between youth and local, regional and national stakeholders could greatly benefit from additional support.
Several interactive meetings were organized between youth and political stakeholders, with the purpose to enable young migrants to become active political citizens by contributing to the decision-making process, and by encouraging the development of new youth policies.
The youth provided recommendations to the representatives of the City of Marseille through a set of concrete proposals to help politicians identify and better understand a number of important local issues. Furthermore, an emphasis was made on the necessity to promote the exchange of good practices and policies between European countries, in order to share knowledge about the civic engagement of young migrants and young people from a migrant background.
The youth teams hope to contribute to the development of a sense of citizenship and political involvement amongst young people in Marseille, regardless of their social or geographical backgrounds.