During March, the U.S. Embassy Youth Council held a training session focused on youth participation in local decision making. In the context of local democracy it is essential for every citizen to be informed and engaged in public discussions of the issues associated with them. In order for this to happen, the links between institutions and citizens should be established to absorb the real contribution and participation of citizens.

Young people are very important agents of change in society. Because of the potential energy, ideas and dynamics, working with young people to empower them is a constant target of any public policy or development organization to improve democracy.

 The first meeting of the training was focused on:

  • Understanding the concept of “Right of Participation”
  • The definition of “youth participation”;
  • Why participate? Benefits of participation: for the young people, community, and democracy;
  • The participation of young people in local life and decision-making;
  • The challenges of youth participation in local decision making.

The interactive training method was through a combination of theoretical presentations by coach Klodjana Thartori, exercise group work and presentations from the working groups, case studies, panel discussions and reflections.

The second meeting was held at the Municipality of Tirana where they were introduced to the specific work in the field of local government, and discussed concrete opportunities for youth engagement in local decision making.