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Ways young people can participate in democratic processes

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

It is important that young people participate in democratic processes for a democracy to be effective. Young people are best placed to contribute to possible solutions to the challenges they face in society. The views of young people need to be represented, particularly when decisions being made will affect them and their future.

Young people can participate in democratic processes:

1. In school

2. In the community

3. In the wider world

In school

Participating in class discussions and debates

This helps young people grow in confidence and gives them a voice and an opportunity to share opinions and challenge beliefs. This is upholding Article 12 of the UNCRC as it provides an opportunity for young people to express their views on a topic.

Supporting the School Council

Young people who are interested in becoming a member of the school council can be nominated for election. Pupils get an opportunity to vote for the person that they would like to see represent their views in the school council. Being involved in the school council means that young people can make decisions about their school and even help to influence changes within the school.

Filling in Student Evaluations

Young people may fill in questionnaires, surveys, interviews about their lessons and learning experiences. These can be used to obtain pupil's views and can influence decision making on learning experiences, teaching approaches and topics taught.

In the community

Being part of youth and community groups e.g. Northern Ireland Youth Forum

Being a part of this allows young people to raise and discuss issues that are important to them. They can bring their concerns to elected representatives at the Northern Ireland Assembly and these could help to bring about changes in the local community.

Being involved in the local Youth Club

When a member of the youth club, young people can participate actively in their community and work for the benefit of all the people in their community. This helps them to be active citizens where they live.

In the wider world

Playing a role and taking an interest in global issues

Young people can take action to address global issues such as poverty, homelessness, hunger, lack of clean water and environmental issues. They can do this:

- by volunteering with a global NGO

- raising awareness of the issues by organising fundraising events and social media campaigns.

Young people can help peers and adults understand what is happening in other parts of the world and bring about change on these issues.

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