With its "Connecting You(th)" project, the P&V Foundation aims to overcome social divisions among young people. The project consists of two parts: a call for projects and a youth forum. This project, which was carried out with the support of the National Lottery, is an opportunity for twenty young people aged between 16 and 23, from different backgrounds and from all over Belgium, to gain experience in active citizenship.
Our Youth Forum consists of a heterogeneous group of Belgian young people aged between 17 and 23 who did not know each other beforehand. They differ in terms of education, migration background, place of residence, interests and hobbies, etc.
On the one hand, we want to enable this diverse group of 20 young people from all over Belgium to understand the regional and local realities of our country, let them identify the breaking points and try to find solutions for them. In other words, to empower young people and let them become an actor in the social debate. On the other hand, we want to bring the good practices from the call for projects that effectively bridge gaps and/or foster social cohesion to the attention of policy makers and the general public, during our final conference and through further dissemination.
During two preparatory weekends, the young people of the Youth Forum were trained and coached to fully fulfil their role as members of the Youth Forum. For that aim, they were given sessions on citizenship, which gaps there are in society, how to debate without conflict, how to look at a problem through different glasses, ... The youngsters got to know each other better through fun and cultural activities. They had the chance to meet academics, social entrepreneurs and coaches. All these people and workshops provided the young people with tools to be a member of the Youth Forum.
Following the selection and implementation of the projects in the call for projects (from February 2022), it is time to move on to evaluation and reflection. This first stage starts in Ghent, Flanders. On the programme of the Youth Forum: workshops on the evaluation of projects and scenarios for the future of society, visits to projects, and fun activities!
The weekend started with a visit to Ghent Basketball, where youngsters from the Youth Forum were able to play against Ghent youngsters. The non-profit organisation Touché, with coach Wesley, came to talk about how to help make the world positively aggressive. The youngsters also learned about the obstacles and achievements of organisations such as iDrops that that aim to build bridges between neurodiverse and neurotypical young people. They were enthusiastic about the cultural projects of the youngsters of De Kazematten and the encouners between the youngsters of LEJO and the young scouts of FOS. Finally, a visit to the S.M.A.K. opened up a new world for them, that of contemporary art.
The next step will take place from 3 to 5 February in Namur for the visit of a number of projects supported in the Walloon region, the lessons learned of the projects already visited, and the preparation of the final conference on 19 April 2023.
Project supported by the National Lottery