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Mobilising youth for democracy: our projects ahead of elections

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Mobilising youth for democracy: our projects ahead of elections


Youth participation in democracy is crucial for ensuring a vibrant, representative, and forward-thinking political landscape. In the upcoming European elections, the involvement of young voters is more important than ever, especially as in several countries voters from the age of 16 will take to the ballot. More than six in ten (64%) young EU citizens express their intention to vote in the upcoming European elections (Eurobarometer survey on “Youth and Democracy”, 2024). Encouraging the remaining 36% of young Europeans to become active in shaping their societies is precisely why Democracy International has been focusing on in the run-up to the European elections!

By Anne Hardt.

The preparation meeting for the third edition of the Democracy Camp showcased the enthusiasm and dedication of young Europeans toward democratic engagement. Delegates from ten European countries demonstrated a strong interest in shaping their societies, reflecting the hopeful trend that many young Europeans believe their vote matters. Participants actively absorbed insights from workshops, panels, and other sessions, using this knowledge to shape the upcoming Democracy Camp 2024. Spirited discussions and collaborative efforts led to innovative ideas and strategies, highlighting their keen interest in intersectionality, sustainability, and broader democratic topics. This dynamic exchange set a robust foundation for the camp, reaffirming our commitment to empowering the next generation of changemakers.

The school project engages students in a dynamic, two-part workshop aimed at boosting EU election awareness and turnout. Pupils from five schools in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) region of Germany learn about the significance of the EU elections from Young European Professionals and then compete in a creative challenge to inform and motivate their peers to vote. Schools were selected in particular in the constituencies where voter turnout was the lowest in the last elections. The creative competition focuses on reaching the most people, especially first-time voters, and employs both online and offline strategies. Actions are judged based on reach and creativity, with evaluations including post-election surveys by the Science Campus NRW. This exciting initiative not only educates young people on the EU but empowers them to actively participate in the democratic process.

Within the YEUF project, young changemakers in each EU country mobilise their peers in workshops on European challenges and issues. From visits to several youth democracy festivals, dialogues on migration, EU Election 101 workshops and info sessions to EuroTrivia quizzes - Our changemakers have been impressively active. Democracy International also hosted the Youth Democracy Festival in Dusseldorf to raise awareness for the YEUF activities in Germany with 100+ participants. Throughout the project, changemakers could meet and learn from another at different training events such as the Charlemagne Youth Prize Ceremony in Aachen or the final transnational YEUF event at this year’s Global Forum!

We’re also assisting voters every step of the way! With our eurVote eurFuture campaign, we are spanning 10 EU countries: Germany, Estonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, France, Poland, Latvia, and Romania. The election awareness campaign boasts a diverse array of communication materials tailored to each country’s unique context. From engaging "how-to vote" videos featuring all you need to know voting instructions, to informational flyers, to self-pledging "I'm voting" stickers, and eye-catching bookmarks, we're equipping citizens with the information they need to be ready to cast their vote, while reminding them to keep the elections on their calendars every step of the way. You may have already come across our social media work: with our “What Europe Does for You” we’re bringing everyday issues and important EU achievements to the forefront.  

But we're not stopping there – we're taking our campaign to the streets, meeting people face-to-face at infostands equipped with live helpdesks for the election. Additionally, our digital helpdesk, manned by our 10 partner organizations acting as 10 contact points, ensures that citizens have access to voter assistance wherever they may be. More info here and enter a chance to win a series of prizes including an interrail ticket here!



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