Adding extra meaning: exercises in democracy with ADD

Monday 26 June 2023

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Youth and public participation are not always a happy pair, especially in small local settings. The distance sometimes seems unbridgeable: local institutions are not interested in the needs of younger voters and constituents; they are increasingly alienated from democratic life. With ADD we want to shorten this distance!

ADD – Something Meaningful is a project dedicated to the world of youth and local institutions that will involve partners from six European countries and as many small municipalities. It will be an opportunity to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of decision-making processes, but also a way to bring the actors of public life closer together and to make democratic mechanisms more inclusive.

ADD aims first and foremost to analyze the state of democratic structures in small towns and the degree to which young men and women are involved in public life. The study of local contexts will specifically look at youth participation in city decisions and political strategies, how younger citizens and citizens can put forward proposals, discuss policy issues with institutions and thus participate in public debate. We will highlight already widespread good practices and entrenched critical issues in the relationship between institutions, girls and boys, and associations in the youth sector.

In the following steps, the IDEATHON method, developed to broaden participation and increase the fluidity of decision-making processes, will be introduced and tested. IDEATHON is an innovative method of consultation and development of policy actions with which we hope to strengthen relations between different actors in civil society. In the final stages of the project, a manual for its application and other content for its dissemination will be created, based on the experiences gained throughout the project. Contact channels will also be developed with youth associations and local institutions that took part in the project.

At all stages of ADD’s development, discussions with partners to best adapt the methodology to the local context will be crucial, and work with youth workers with whom we will activate an ongoing and purposeful discussion will be crucial. Our goal, in fact, is to foster the creation of permanent mechanisms of mutual collaboration: we want to launch good, lasting and widespread practices. Ample space will be given to monitoring and feedback mechanisms, continuous and direct communication with the partners and associations involved, both through the organization of national and international meetings and through remote communication. The important thing is not to arrive first, but to arrive all together!

For more information on ADD – Something Meaningful and the IDEATHON method, contact Mario Badagliacca:

About the project

ADD – Strengthening youth engagement through local involvement is a project funded by DG EAC, Erasmus+: Key Action 2, Strategic Partnership in the field of VET.


For further information

Read more about ADD.

Contact Mario Badagliacca: