PRISMA online tools showcase

Using the Internet for Youth Engagement

How can we make use of the internet to make it possible for youth to express themselves? This is a question that has been underlying several of the projects of Linking Europe. Several ideas were tried out within the project work. An idea Linking Europe is working on, is that broadening engagement through the internet might improve the democratic quality of social debates. First of all, it could lower the threshold for social groups that traditionally did not do so. This could be the case when one’s social-economic limits your access to traditional media, or that your way of communication is not the mainstream way. Secondly, the internet harbours the potential to provide more perspectives by overcoming geographical distances. The PRISMA project is Linking Europe's way to engage with the question on the utility of the internet directly. Several socially engaged Dutch youth organizations were asked to provide input for this online showcase of internet tools. In this way, we can make the use of online tools lively and inspiring.

Platforms for Creative Writing

[tabs] [tab title="Usage"] Blogging has developed fast. Online journals are found in all kinds of communities on a vast amount of topics. Its tools have therefore been developed extensively and we can definitely use these tools to make youth engagement possible. The main use of blogs is to make it easy for youth to express themselves, hence providing youth with a platform for creative writing. [/tab] [tab title="How to implement"] Wordpress is an important software for both de Twintiger and Hitching Europe. These writing platforms run on this freely downloadable software. In the first place, you will need to use the blogging tools to develop a site on which you can start writing. You can either ask a tech-savvy person to do this, or you can try it out yourself on www.wordpress.com. Furthermore, you will need to teach your peers how to add their own articles. At our trainings, we often provide some written information on this (example guide), but it is always easiest to just show how it works. Not all participants will want to do this slightly technical part, so when running a creative writing platform, it is always best to appoint some editors that make sure that articles are done in time and then add the articles to the site. [/tab] [/tabs]

De Twintiger is an online coming of age platform where people in their twenties describe how they are developing. What kind of expectations do they have for themselves or from society? But also what occupies them, what are their doubts, hopes, fears and thoughts?

The tools de Twintiger uses is Wordpress for the website to publish the articles. Facebook in order to distribute the articles and to create a public. Twitter in order to generate public to the website and address an issue or company such as #CharlieHebdo or @NS. We also use Pinterest, however we’re not that active there.

526 Facebook likes
88 Followers on Twitter
500-1000 visitors/week
Find us on: www.dewtintiger.nl!

Hitching Europe is an exciting and adventurous trip across Europe from the Netherlands to Bulgaria. Youths aged 18-28 years participate so that they can gather as many pictures and stories as possible about the people they meet on the way to Bulgaria. All this is done by hitchhiking: making chance encounters possible and lowering the threshold for a good conversation. The project took place in the summers of 2013 and 2014.

Stories acquired through interviews on the road are written up in blog posts, published on the NGO website. Family, friends and others interested can follow the Hitching Europe Facebook page, where updates are published by participants on the road. Comments can be given both on the website and Facebook page.

Video Workshops

[tabs] [tab title="Usage"] Video is a communicative means. Ideas can be expressed, information explained, points of view exchanged. The utility can be broad, but to use video as a tool for self-advocacy and youth engagement, it is necessary to involve youth in the development of the message of the videos and the editing of materials. [/tab] [tab title="How to implement"] Editing video materials can be quite time consuming and still requires some knowledge of editing software. To make the use of video successful in a project, it seems necessary that a workshop is given, so that youth participants can learn how to formulate a goal for a video, collect adequate material and edit it into an appealing whole. After a video is made, there are many publishing channels, through which videos can easily be embedded into other websites or social media. Some of the most well-known are Youtube and Vimeo. [/tab] [/tabs]

RebelTV is a TV series produced by youth of the municipality of Sluis. Since the communities in the municipality are geographically further apart from each other than in most municipalities, the project was started to increase social cohesion in the area.

The items are made by young program makers, who gain a training in video editing from a local broadcasting network. They choose their own topics and get equipment to make their own items.

TV items are continuously uploaded on the Youtube channel and shared on the community's Facebook Page.

Free2choose is an educational debate programme on conflicting human rights that was designed to encourage young people to think about the crucial importance of fundamental rights.

In Free2choose-create, young people make their own films about dilemmas that arise within their own communities. The films are mainly short mini-documentaries, and serve as a point of departure for a debate on human rights.

Find information on the seminars and several video productions on the Youtube channel.

The Memory Walk Sarajevo was an educational film workshop on monuments for youth from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Experiences were shared through Facebook and Youtube, through which short film clips were published. The project was organized by the Anne Frank Stichting and Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Bosnia)

During the workshop, photos were shared on Facebook and after the workshop articles and follow-up activities were shared by the participants amongst each other. The participants still share articles when they spot monuments. As the film clips are published on Youtube, they are shared with a broader audience.

One of the videos produced (Sarajevo Roses) was watched more than 700 times.
Facebook page (236 likes)

Workflow Integration

The internet can enhance your possibilities in working together. There are many communicative tools, that make long distance communication easier. There are tools developed specifically to write documents together. The development of online tools, has changed the day-to-day working routines of most organizations. Most organizations have adopted those tools that are beneficial to their work. The way this works differs from organization to organization, which is why we showcase a few examples in which online tools definitely enhance collaboration.

The Youth Food Movement is a youth organization of slow food that envisions a good, clean and fair food system. In the Netherlands the movement has a national office and local voluntary groups (YFM Amsterdam, YFM Rotterdam, YFM Fryslan, etc.). Internationally the YFM is connected to the Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN). The YFM NL and its local groups organize many events, including the YFM Academy, the Food Film Festival. Bigger events encompass campaigns, while smaller events are also organized, such as dinners, workshops and excursions.

Online tools are very important for the operation of the movement. Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo and of course websites are used to communicate events to the outside world. Facebook groups are also used for communication between the national YFM NL, the local YFMs and the international network. Many local YFM groups use their own Facebook group to communicate with each other about the organization of events. The people working at the office of YFM NL use the internal communication tools Slack, Trello and Dropbox, where all important files are stored. Skype is very important for the people working for SFYN. These online tools provide flexibility; people can work together where they and with who they want (with people from another place in the Netherlands, or with people in other parts of the world). And the tools for outside communication inform and attract people to join the movement.

While it is difficult to imagine the YFM without online tools, it remains important to meet offline to inspire and motivate each other and to let people feel that they are part of a bigger movement.

The YFM Academy communicates about the program on their own website (and they do a lot of live tweeting as well)
Facebook pages of the local YFM groups
Online videos

In 2012, the Our Future Network exchange for students between Kosovo, Serbia and the Netherlands took the form of an international research project. Three groups consisting of participants with mixed nationalities did comparative research on the topics of youth participation, multiculturalism and gender relations.

The indispensible tools used in the project were
Skype: intensive usage to debate the research progress and to work together on texts,
Google Docs: to write the research reports together
Dropbox: for file sharing.
The research could not have been done without some face-to-face meetings, however. Before and after the main writing process, trainings were given in Pristina and Belgrade to create a planning trajectory and to prepare presentations of the research.

Research book, circulation 300
Downloadable research book
Presentation of the work in three countries
Blog posts on research topics

The name of the foundation literally translates to “Improve the World”. Verbeter de Wereld aims to contribute to the participant’s own drive to make a difference in the world. This is done by discovering one’s own best talents and best side. It is a call to ourselves to keep believing in good, to keep looking at how things can be better, which next step can be taken – neither pessimistic, nor naïve. Let’s look at how it can be done.

Someone working at the foundation calls their ways “old school”, but nonetheless several online tools have become part of their daily work.
Dropbox and Google Drive are important for the working routines of the foundation. The website of the foundation is the main tool for participants to sign up.
Facebook, website and word-of-mouth are all essential for reaching out.

Web Platforms

The internet is in itself a range of possibilities. Where tools do not yet exist, they can always be created. This is a time consuming process and technically more advanced. However, if it facilitates your goals, it can be very rewarding. In the projects on display, each unique issue to be tackled is addressed with its own tools. One of the more well known developments has been the creation of crowdfunding possibilities, increasing the outreach possibilities of projects in development. In this showcase, we can see that tools can be developed for specific target groups.

The Battle is a competition for youth to assemble as many signatures as possible for the citizen initiative ‘Sign against Nuclear Arms’. The winner can become Peace Ambassador for global nuclear disarmament and wins a study trip to Japan. The Ambassador will use (online and offline) media and organize speeches and events to spread insight in nuclear disarmament.

PAX created a competition website, essential for the implementation of the event. It was the main site for gaining participants, as well as showing an overview of the competition as it went along. Another important aspect of the Battle was the possibility for online signatures as well as signatures on paper, creating a versatility of methods used by the participants. Not only did participants attend congresses or other popular real life events, social media were heavily used to spread the campaign.

1400+ signatures for the campaign
Visibility and promotion of nuclear disarmament at a political congress and other social gatherings
Attention of various (local) media

Try Before You Get The Job! hosts a community of talented graduates who want to create their own career path. We help young, ambitious people keeping their talent in motion and show them exciting opportunities within the startup scene.

We use Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and our own website. We use mostly Facebook to keep our community lively.

Journalist Sara-May Leeflang has started an investigative project on the theme of Doubt (in Dutch: “de Twijfelende Twintiger”). She writes: “This is an ode to the doubt, developing within a group of young graduates who think that they know what they want, but for several reasons do not get there. Doubt is an obstacle, but also a motivator to do something extra with every step along the road.”

To get the project started, the crowdsourcing platform of VersPers is being used. Those interested in the journalist’s work, or in the thematic of the project, are invited to invest in the multimedia development of the project and to participate in “effective doubting” through the tips of the project manager. Those funding the project will be invited to a debate on the theme with other Doubters.

The crowdfunding project is still ongoing.

PRISMA project

This online showcase was developed in the context of the PRISMA project and presented at the PRISMA seminar in Cluj-Napoca, Romania and at the meeting with participants of Our Matters in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The purpose of Linking Europe’s participation in the project is to improve our skills in utilizing the internet for youth engagement.

PRISMA European Network consists of youth oriented organisations focusing on developing qualitative youth work activities with a European dimension. Linking Europe participated in the PRISMA project in 2014-2015, organized by GEYC and financed by Erasmus+. The project consisted of a training on social media in project management in Bucharest in December 2014 and a seminar in April 2015 in Cluj-Napoca, European Youth Capital of 2015.

Thanks to the organizations and individuals that provided input for this showcase:

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