It is time to be #MakingChange!
How do the problems in our societies in Europe make you feel?
Confused, overwhelmed, angry, indifferent, powerless? Are you thinking – why should I care at all? And what impact would my actions have anyway? Well, good news is that they can have a tremendous impact! Think about Greta Thunberg – the Swedish climate activist who has been the inspiration for youth climate strikes in Europe and across the world. Think about a small group of students who have survived the Parkland shooting in Florida, US. They have created a „Never Again” campaign and organised a huge March for Our Lives in Washington in 2018, one of the biggest youth-attended marches since the Vietnam War protests in the 1960s.
Your idea, your vision for your country or the world, your determination to pursue it matters! It can inspire others and make them join you or even help create an entire movement!
There are so many problems today
and many others
There are so many of them and they are so complex that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.
What worries EU residents the most?
(Standard Eurobarometer 91, 2019)
But aren’t these things that young people are especially worried about?
Young people aged 15-24 are more likely than general population to worry about:
(Standard Eurobarometer 91, 2019)
It seems that young people respond faster to the problems of a changing world (such as climate change) and often focus on problems that affect them directly.
Extremists often target our fears. So they will also talk about the economic crises, the lack of prospects for young people, and even about climate change.
To learn about radicalization and extremism, watch our video tutorial.
Check our video tutorial to learn how to identify and deconstruct extremist narrations.
So, there are two key issues:
So what’s the difference?
You can also watch the movie “The wave” from 2008, which explains it.
So how to make a change using democracy for good?
First of all, you need to choose the topic you want to address.
You can choose a lot of different issues, just look around and think about what interests you. It could be about your neighborhood, school or social media.
Everywhere you are!
The pollution of your river
Maybe kids don’t have a clean playground?
Or you just want to stand against radicalisation?
If you need inspiration, listen to the experiences of these young people and see what they have achieved.
Meet Malcolm Asher who makes hospitals more youth friendly
Meet Gladys Gitau who set up the local newspaper.
Meet Dario Riccobono who challenged the local mafia
Meet Eli Beer who deals with first aid
Okay, I've already chosen the topic, but how to do it?
Letter to the mayor
For instance, you can write a letter to the mayor and point out the problem you are interested in. You can call upon him to take specific action in the letter. If you want your letter to have more power, collect signatures from your friends and people affected by this problem. In some cases, you might need to address the letter to another authority that is responsible for the problem you have chosen.
Remember that instead of proposing solutions, you may simply ask what has been done in a given case.
You have the right to know what the city hall has done in a case that interests you.
Use the power of social media
Share your message or articles concerning your chosen problem with your friends!
You can check the reliability of the article you want to share with our Share Wisely tool:
You can also organize a happening or an assembly
Please note that in some cases you might need to report your event to the City Hall or the police.
Join an NGO
You can also – like many of our heroes – join an NGO that deals with your chosen problem.
You can organize a meeting with a decision maker or an expert and lead the debate
Just find a place for your meeting, invite the right person, come up with a scenario and promote your event.
You can also get involved in the work of a youth council in your city or town
Municipal youth councils act as consultative/advisory bodies to the “adult” councils. They are a great platform to get your point across – they get to work with the local decision makers on an everyday basis!
Looking for even more inspiration?
Meet the European Youth Parliament, where young meet with their peers from other countries to discuss the most pressing issues we face în our societies and put their heads together to find solutions!
Find out more about the No Hate Speech Movement, one of the largest youth initiatives în Europe, led by the Council of Europe.
Get inspired by the activities of Ashoka Fellows - the largest network of social innovators.
Read their guide on how to talk about the change you want to make in a way that would make others want to listen.
Check out the European Youth Portal to discover the possibilities for short- and long-term volunteering in Europe.
And if you want to:
Curious to understand how change happens?
If you are looking for sources of inspiration to promote initiatives aiming at achieving a positive change in your community, you must have surely made your own research on the Internet.
There are indeed plenty of websites and blogs which provide expert and peer advice on how to start your grassroot movement and promote your initiatives both online and offline, and the BRAVE project is no exception!
Nonetheless, you might feel sometimes that these advice are too theoretical and would hardly be applicable to your own context.
This is why we collected 5 inspiring stories of successful youth-led change!
Whether promoted by a single person or a group of people, through social media channels or peaceful demonstrations, addressing local issues or nationwide challenges, these stories have one thing in common: they are promoted by young people without any special status or privilege and, despite that…they are a success!
We collected details and testimonies of these initiatives, the challenges they wanted to address and the actions promoted to achieve change, and we hope that by reading them you will find the inspiration and motivation you need to make your own change!
Perspectives & Context
How you can make a change - experiences of young people from Dąbrowa Górnicza (Poland)
Engage with the story of young people from Dąbrowa Górnicza (Poland) who organized the Empathy Festival to prevent discrimination and radicalisation.
#DoOneBraveThing: social change
We’ve talked to four young activists from Poland and asked them what “social change” means to them, what drives them and which way they decided to take to in order reach their goals.
Tune in to hear the stories from:
- Julia Kelsz, who co-founded think-do tank Ważne Sprawy;
- Hela Gil, activist working with Wolontariat Równości (Volunteer for Equality);
- Grzegorz Chodkowski, who’s worked to establish a Municipal Youth Council in his hometown of Kamienna Góra;
- Piotr Nowak, executive director of the Polish National Youth Council.