Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

EUth Report Summary

Project ID: 649594
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EUth (EUth - Tools and Tips for Digital and Mobile Youth Participation in and across Europe)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-02-29

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

More than ever before Europe and its member states need active democratic citizens who are engaged in shaping their environment, feel being part of a common undertaking and help creating a livable European future. Young people take a special role in this process as they are the ones most affected by future-directed political decisions. Yet their interest in politics is rather low as is their trust in political institutions in general and in European institutions in particular.
This is the starting point for the EUth project and also its main goal: EUth aims for increasing the trust of European youth in European political institutions by fostering youth eParticipation as a democratic innovation which enables new communication patterns between politics or administrations and young people.

1. This leads to the operative goal to develop digital solutions for youth eParticipation. In EUth two technical partners who are dedicated to public participation software for years (Liquid Democracy and Alfstore) merge and adapt their proven products to provide an enhanced infrastructure for youth eParticipation. The result will be a platform that offers modular building bricks for participation processes like features for discussion and commenting, voting and mobile polling as well as collaborative text writing and more.

Yet democratic innovation is not only a technical issue. Catering young peoples’ communication habits won’t make them becoming active citizens unless there is a bigger change happening on the side of decision makers like politicians, administrations or organizations. Their intrinsic motivation to truly let young people have a say is crucial for successfully increasing trust and engagement. This paradigm change actually has already started on many levels. However, manifold barriers still exist – mostly concerns connected to a lack of knowledge: How should such a participation process be designed, which of the technical offers are actually useful in our case? How should we communicate with the young people online? What about data protection and privacy? Etc.

2. To support administrations and youth organizations in overcoming these obstacles two partners with outstanding consultancy experience for public participation (nexus institute and Danish Board of Technology) develop in EUth a project planning tool for designing local participation projects and interactive guidelines for successful youth eParticipation, enabling even lay people to set up participatory projects.

Participation features, project planning tool and guidelines will be available on the online platform as the EUth-systems toolkit.

3. A methodological goal of EUth is to provide user-adapted tools and thus follow a user-centric agile development. Hence, the technical components are developed iteratively, adapting itself to the results of the Living Lab, which consists of a managing partner who is professional in designing and executing participatory projects (Missions Publiques) and 5 pilots:
• The City of Paris
• The French Federation of Community Centers
• AEGEE - European Students' Forum (partner AEGEE)
• A cross-border partnership between Italy and Slovenia (partners ISIS and Heart of Slovenia)
• The Region Heart of Slovenia

4. Finally EUth aims at creating a sustainable impact through a dedicated dissemination and deployment strategy, realized by two partners with prominent networks to youth organizations all over Europe (IJAB and ERYICA). This strategy contains besides a series of classical dissemination activities an Open Call for administrations and youth organizations to use EUth -systems for running local participation projects. 10 projects will be chosen to receive a subcontracting of 10.000€, software trainings and planning consultancy from the partners. This will make the EUth platform a lively space and, increase public participation in 10 municipalities and make them spread their experiences and good practice within the European networks.

These goals are also reflected in the workpackage structure (see image 1).

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"EUth is working in three main steps which are defined by the three iterations/releases of the software: First release in month 12, second release in month 23, third release in month 30.
The reporting period (month 1 to month 12) thus covers the work carried out to prepare and execute the first release (available on www.opin.me) as well as usage of the platform in the Living Lab and the marketing of the platform.

Software development
Rationale for the first year: With the first release the basis is developed in the form of the online platform (WP 2 EUth-applications) the other two components (the project planning tool in WP 3 EUth-methods and the guidelines in WP 4 EUth -services) are first developed in terms of content and will technically be integrated into the platform later when they are ready to use (month 30):
• WP 2 EUth-applications: release of the platform www.opin.me in 5 languages. Available participation features: idea collection, incl. functionalities for commenting and voting; collaborative text writing, incl. functionalities for commenting and voting; mobile polling. Registration and user management system for several user roles, e.g. participants and administrators.
• WP 3 EUth-methods: Basic DST Database setup: Analysis of 43 online participative processes led to the definition of four distinctive types of participative processes and the identification of dominant designs, i.e. the combination of tools / methods, for each type. Nine variables that influence the setup of participative processes were identified. Expert workshop on the combination of online and offline participative methods (see deliverable D3.2).
• WP 4 EUth -services: target group analysis and mapping initiators of online/digital youth participation and their projects; Stakeholder workshop on barriers and demands; Cross-European expert workshop on privacy and data protection; Guidelines for complying with privacy and data protection regulation.

Living Lab
Rationale for the first year: Work with the pilots in order to prepare them to go live at the same time as the platform launch, using the firstly released software. Year one is also the occasion to set up the evaluation framework and the communication structure of the living lab.
• WP 5 Management Living Lab: set up a relevant communication structure; support the pilots in their local project setup; create an evaluation framework; collect and forward the pilots’ feedback into other WPs
• WP 6 Students Participation: During year one AEGEE has prepared to use opin.me for their Agora in May 2016 and in seven Local Antennae
• WP 7 Youth Empowerment: During the first year, the Conseil Parisien de la Jeunesse (Youth Council of Paris) and the French Federation of community centers have designed the precise plan for their pilot
• WP 8 European Young Citizens Participation: Partners in the cross-border region and in Heart of Slovenia have prepared the setting up of their pilot by engaging all relevant parties. A first step has been to recruit young aspiring to become Young Community Managers to acquire the competences and work to build up a community of lay young people from the scratch. An analysis of the young population and the policy context has been undertaken in the pilot areas, together with a first appraisal of their expectations and needs through an online survey and focus groups, the recruitment of the YCMs and the design of the vocational master program.

Marketing and Deployment (WP 9)
Rationale for the first year: Focus on establishing a network of stakeholders and multipliers and creating tools for dissemination.
•project website Euth.net has been started, 4 blog articles published, 2468 visitors.
•Social media: Facebook page (facebook.com/euth.net) had 447 followers and 48 posts; Twitter - 29 tweets, 95 followers. Facebook group “eparticipation” had 110 members, “ePartizipation” (german-speaking) – 1179 members.
•Visual identity of EUth has been created, brand-book of toolbox OPIN launched. (See as an example of OPIN visuals the logo in image 2)
•Marketing materials produced and distributed to all partners: roll-ups and flyers (see images "Brochure page 1-8").
• 1st Animation video has been produced and can be viewed on opin.me or euth.net.
• EUth has been visible in various events: 1019 participants in 15 marketing workshops; 1383 participants in 15 presentations during different events have been learning about EUth.

Management (WP 1)
• Monitoring and day-to-day management of the project
• 2 project meetings, 9 full consortium webmeetings
• All deliverables submitted
• Ethical Appraisal: Great effort has been given to privacy and data protection in EUth – with regard to the software as well as the research carried out in the project. Accordingly means are designed and approved by several independent experts (see “Ethical Appraisal” above as well as task 4.4 and D4.1) making OPIN a safe place for young people."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Innovative software solutions:
• OPIN offers digital youth participation projects a digital home: OPIN does not only provide participation features – it enables registered projects to digitalize the whole process from introduction and background information to the actual participation phase to the presentation of participation results and impact on the respective decision at stake, fostering transparency and coherence.
• Innovative technology: OPIN works mobile first, is embeddable and includes mobile applications.
• Quality participation by design: OPIN offers only proven modules for public participation and automatically embeds those in a coherent participation framework to make sure that basic preconditions of successful public participation are fulfilled.
• Combination of online and face-to-face participation: OPIN will enable to host multi-tier participation projects which encompass also face-to-face participation methods.
• Multilinguality: OPIN is already available in 5 languages. At least 2 languages will follow, enabling at least 16 countries to use their native language on OPIN. Crowd-based translation will allow for more languages to be integrated throughout the EUth project.

Empower even lay people to become initiators of youth eParticipation projects:
• Support project planning: According to entered user data a digital decision-support-tool will automatically choose among and combine the features of OPIN with other online- and offline-participatory methods, thus creating a well-functioning, harmonic participation concept according to the initiator’s needs.
• Tips to overcome barriers: Interactive guidelines will make it easy to put the automatically designed processes into practice. They include practical advice as well as best-practice examples on how to deal with tasks like community management, privacy online etc.
• Almost no-cost solution: The provided project-planning tool and the guidelines will lower costs for eParticipation projects as consultancy can be reduced. This is extremely important for the field of youth participation which is characterized by a chronic lack of resources.

Incite actual youth eParticipation:
• The pilot projects in EUth do not only help to develop user-approved tools, they in fact are also foster local youth participation in France, Italy, Slovenia and among students all over Europe. Beyond our expectations the cross-border-pilot (WP 8) has already spread and incited the Heart of Slovenia to start a regional youth participation project.
• Open Call: 10 municipalities or youth organizations will use OPIN in 2017 to run local youth eParticipation projects. However, the Open Call will attract many more applicants who might in the future use OPIN without being subcontracted in EUth.
• Additionally 3 organizations that are not involved in EUth have already requested to use OPIN for local youth eParticipation projects.

Sustainable impact:
• Creation of network of eParticipation professionals: In various workshops and through active dissemination a network has been established which will also in the future help to exchange and collaborate on the topic.
• OPIN will be available for youth eParticipation also after the termination of EUth. Currently the planning goes for setting up a network of participation consultants who offer countryspecific support in using OPIN for local youth eParticipation projects.

Related information

Record Number: 190148 / Last updated on: 2016-11-08
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