Map participants

Map your young participants 

In this phase of the project you should also put some thought into who exactly the participants should be. In order to make this decision you should map the following:

  • Who has a – direct or indirect – stake in the decisions to be made? 
  • Who will be – directly or indirectly – affected by the decisions to be made? 

Another highly important issue to consider is whether the group of young participants should be representative of all young people in, let’s say, your municipality. Having a representatively balanced group of young people participating in your project will make the results more politically legitimate. In most cases, decision-makers are more likely to take your results seriously if you are able to say that they represent the voices of young people in their municipality. Representativeness is an important building block in democracy. However, aiming for representativeness puts demands on your recruitment process. More on this later!*   

Furthermore, you want to “have the young at the heart of what you are doing”. Therefore, you have to get a clear picture of who the young participants are. The better you know the young participants, the easier it will be for you to prepare and implement a project that truly appeals to them. It might sound rather straightforward, but experience shows that initiators of youth participation projects sometimes forget that young people are not a homogeneous group. No, there are many different kinds of young people, and therefore different efforts are potentially needed to capture their attention. To put it simply, 15-year-olds generally have other interests than young people in their late twenties. In sum, targeted efforts are highly needed in order to succeed with your initiative!   

*Have a look at the tip Recruit the young participants