Municipal Youth Strategy

Definition of a municipality youth strategy

Process of youth strategy development


Definition of a municipality youth strategy

Strategija prema mladima u nekim je državama zakonska obaveza. Tako je, naprimjer, Savezna Republika Njemačka u svojoj 8. knjizi Socijalnog zakona[1] na državnoj razini propisala donošenje strategije prema mladima i na nižim razinama vlasti. Zakon o pomoći djeci i mladima[2], koji se nalazi u ovoj 8. knjizi, definira strategiju prema mladima kao „sredstvo za sustavno, inovativno i time ka budućnosti usmjereno oblikovanje i razvijanje oblasti brige o mladima s ciljem da se očuvaju ili stvore pozitivni uvjeti života za mlade ljude i njihove porodice“[3], te na vrijeme osigura dovoljna i potrebna, kvalitativna i kvantitativna ponuda za mlade“[4].

Pod strategijom prema mladima podrazumijevamo razvoj dugoročnih planova koji će dovesti do rješenja složenih zadataka pomoći mladima. U to ubrajamo: kvantitativnu i kvalitativnu analizu stanja i potreba, analizu društvenog prostora i ciljne grupe, kritičko vrjednovanje trenutne situacije, konkretne prijedloge za poboljšanje ponude za mlade, postavljanje prioriteta te evaluaciju. Općinska strategija prema mladima nije samo zadatak općinskih organa i ustanova koje nude aktivnosti i pomoć za mlade (savjetovališta, centri, domovi, udruženja i sl.) već i političkih struktura (općinsko vijeće i komisija za mlade), ali i onih kojih se plan djelovanja tiče (mladi, roditelji, vijeće roditelja i sl.).[5]

Kao politički proces strategija prema mladima jeste pokazatelj spremnosti općine za donošenje promjena u kojima će sudjelovati svi oni kojih se tiče ova tematika, pa i neovisnih stručnjaka/inja i znanstvenika/ca.

Učesnici/e u izradi strategije prema mladima:

-              općinski organi (službenik/ca za mlade, službe, općinsko vijeće i dr.)

-              javne ustanove (škole, vrtići, policija, centar za socijalni rad, dom zdravlja, biro za zapošljavanje, savjetovališta i dr.)

-              omladinska udruženja

-              pojedinci (mladi, roditelji)

-              stručnjaci/kinje 

Ne radi se o zadatku koji ima svoj svršetak, već o neprestanom procesu između općinskih službenika/ca koje planiraju (prije svih službenik/ca za mlade), nadležnih vladinih i nevladinih ustanova, te organa koji donose političke odluke.[6] Osim toga, strategija prema mladima služi i kao sredstvo upravljanja ponudom za mlade. Ako je cilj planiranja priprema za donošenje političkih odluka za rad s mladima, radi se o strateškom planiranju. Ako se planiranjem želi upravljati procesom neke konkretne aktivnosti, možemo govoriti o operativnom planiranjem. Strateško planiranje djelovanja za mlade bavi se cjelokupnim koncepcijama, postavlja temeljne prioritete i stoga se može još nazvati i razvojnim planiranjem, naprimjer: zakonsko reguliranje djelovanja za mlade, uspostavljanje tijela za mlade, određivanje kriterija za dodjelu sredstava za udruženja i sl. Operativno planiranje je planiranje svakodnevnice ili planiranje aktivnosti, naprimjer: godišnji plan aktivnosti (djelovanja) za mlade, otvaranje novog omladinskog centra ili savjetovališta.[7]

Svi elementi i preporuke dokumenta strategije prema mladima temelje se na dokumentima koji su obavezujući za BiH:

  1. Evropska povelja Vijeća Evrope o sudjelovanju mladih u životu na lokalnoj i regionalnoj razini;
  2. Bijela knjiga Evropske komisije;
  3. 11 indikatora omladinske politike Vijeća Evrope i Evropskog omladinskog foruma;
  4. A NAROČITO: Zakon o omladinskom organizovanju Republike Srpske, Zakon o mladima FBiH i dr.

_____________________________________

[1] Sozialgesetzbuch (SGB) VIII

[2] Kinder- und Jugendhilfegesetz (KJHG)

[3] Čl. 1. KJHG-a

[4] Čl. 79. KJHG-a

[5] prema: E. Jordan, R. Schone, Handbuch Jugendhilfeplanung, 2. izd., Münster, VOTUM, 2000, 57. str.

[6] prema: D. Kreft, J. Mielenz: Wörterbuch Soziale Arbeit, 4. izd., Weinheim, 1996, 320. str.

[7] prema: B. W. Nikles, Planungsverantwortung und Planung in der Jugendhilfe. Eine Einführung, Stuttgart, 1995, 12-13. str.

Process of youth strategy development

Remarks for working groups prior to initiating the course of action
Meetings of a coordinating body and working groups
Strategy's component elements
Working groups documents
Working groups actionsactions
Proposal for the composition of a coordinating body and working groups
Youth Strategy under the Youth Law of FBiH
Fill-out sheet forms

Remarks for working groups prior to initiating the course of action

1. Motivation

Prior to embarking on a local youth strategy initiation process, ask yourself whether you are motivated enough to participate in the course of its development, adoption and consequently enforcement (implementation). If you are not, consider the possibility of finding a replacement, or even better, of becoming more familiar with the tasks that are ahead to realize that young people in your municipality really need the support and contribution that you can provide. Gather information from other municipalities that have already commenced this process.

2. Applicability of a strategy

Your municipality does not need a youth strategy which does not correspond to the needs and problems of the young people who live there. During the process of writing a strategy, it is therefore of utmost importance to focus on the information you have obtained from young people upon conducting a survey of problems and needs (questionnaires, interviews, round table discussions and the like). Activities that you want to propose must be directed towards finding a solution to problems and must be applicable in your municipality. The strategy you cannot apply is useless and worthless. And certainly, you do not want to spend your time on developing something that will not eventually be put into practice.

3. Alignment between objectives, problems, solutions and activities

Whenever we engage in an activity it is essential to set an objective to know why we have been carrying this activity out. The same goes for a youth strategy. Hence, set the objective at the very beginning: What does your community want to achieve by implementing all activities incorporated in the strategy? You should always closely relate to the objective so that you would not go astray.

In order to solve the problems and meet the needs of young people, prior to determining activities to be undertaken, it is important to define concrete solutions that will lead you to the objective. For each need and problem provide a realistic solution, and then come up with activities (measures) that lead to these solutions. In this way, you will be confident that your actions are really efficient in solving the problem, and that they are designed to come to solutions and reach the objective you have already set.


4. Realistic cost estimates

We all would want to anticipate a great amount of money to improve the status of young people in our municipalities. Unfortunately, as you know, the funds that we can extract from the municipal budgets are limited and are not so enormous. Consequently, we have to make realistic activity cost estimates, and bring forth cost-effective activities to address the problems, yet meet the needs. Examples and experiences show that strategies with high budgets (compared to the state of affairs in a municipality) never prove to be applicable and usable. Reflect deeply on the amount that your municipality is able to allocate for the strategy implementation and adhere to it. Moreover, think about the activities which may cover several levels of government or an international organisation.

5. Realistic range of activities

A research on the status of youth in your municipality has probably indicated that young people have been facing many problems and that they have the needs that municipalities, and even higher levels of government, have not met yet. No matter how eager you are to incorporate into your strategy as many activities for coping with the problems as possible, make sure that the capacities (personnel, space, circumstances and the like) you have at your disposal are enough for carrying them out. It would be foolish to expect to find solutions to all those problems young people have been dealing with in your municipality. Thus, focus on essential and indispensable problems and needs. Youth strategy development is not a final document. It is a planning process that is constantly upgraded and supported. During a later planning phase, you can add activities that could not be immediately included in the strategy.

6. Collaboration: Experiences and assistance from others

Youth strategy is a document which sets out the problems and deficits in a municipality. In order to find out what we have failed to accomplish, it is important to determine what activities are already being carried out in our municipality (e.g. associations, international organisations, higher levels of government and the like). Look for the assistance from other municipalities that have already implemented certain programs and activities. If it is expensive to conduct particular activities, consider the possibility of initiating a joint implementation with the neighbouring municipalities or establishing cooperation with higher levels of government. You are highly recommended to become active and start joining organisations that deal with the strategic planning in Bosnia and Herzegovina (e.g. UNDP, World Bank and the like). Inclusion of economic sectors is also desirable.

Working groups documents

Meetings of a coordinating body and working groups

A coordinating body and working groups for municipal youth strategy development are proposed by the Associate Expert on Youth Issues, in cooperation with youth representatives, and are approved by the Mayor.

A coordinating body consists of the presidents of youth strategy development working groups. A coordinating body meets so that its representatives could share information and steer the process towards reaching the objective, and obtain the necessary instructions and guidelines for working groups. It also compiles final plans related to individual areas into one document which it supplements with suggestions made by citizens, especially by young people.

Working groups consist of the representatives of municipal authorities, public services, institutions, youth associations, councillors, and if deemed necessary, other persons and experts may occasionally be included. These representatives are not obliged to be present in each working group.

The task of working groups is to develop a draft youth strategy proposal for particular areas. Each working group is assigned one area and it meets independently of other working groups. At these meetings, the working group members introduce concrete proposals that are consistent with the observations indicated above. 

Intervals between meetings should not be too long so that ideas, positive atmosphere and motivation would not fade.

Strategy's component elements

A youth strategy should consist of:

A.         Introduction

B.         Action plan for each area of concern

C.         Summary

Introduction to a strategy

Apart from coordinating the work of a coordinating body, a youth officer should be the person who will pursue efforts to write an introduction to a strategy.

Introduction to a strategy should include the following:

1.         Purpose

2.         Analysis of the current state of affairs

3.         Approach to a problem solving

4.         General description of the current status of youth

1. Purpose

In order to provide adequate grounds for writing a strategy and its subsequent implementation, it is necessary, before anything else, to express benevolence towards young people in our community. It is essential to show that young people symbolise the potential of our society, including even our community, and that the future depends on them. We must emphasise the fact that the vision of our municipality is to make itself appealing to its youth and allow them to live life of a better quality. Take a look at the direction you want to follow in relation to education (both formal and non-formal), employment, housing, ecology, etc. Make young people believe that your municipality is really pursuing higher standards and better social environment. Keep positive attitude about this topic.

2. Analysis of the current state of affairs

Just before we address youth issues, let us analyse and describe the current state of affairs in our municipality. Indicate the mechanisms necessary for youth policy implementation your municipality has already developed and the phase they are currently undergoing. Specify how many youth associations, centres and other youth clubs there are, who is in charge of dealing with young people, what the focus of their work is and the like. Deal with everything that has been offered to young people in the municipality.

3. Approach to a problem solving

In order to support the writing of a youth strategy, but also to explain how we identified the problems and the needs, including the proposed solutions, let us make the readers familiar with a strategy adoption process: Start with the idea about how to conduct a research, then describe the research related activities (surveys, interviews, round table discussions and the like), and proceed with all subsequent activities (e.g. creation of coordinating bodies and working groups, their work, proposal to a Council, public hearings and the like), and complete the final process of adopting a strategy. Note even that a strategy is a document which is subject to changes and amendments, in accordance with the needs and concerns of young people which may come up or are resolved ahead of time. Conclude this part with the need for adopting a strategy as the best way to approach problem solving and meeting the needs of the young people in your municipality in a planned and systematic fashion.

4. General description of the current status of youth

In your general description of the current status of youth include information obtained from a conducted research and do not go too deep in the field of concern to individual working groups. You should focus more on general problems and the needs of individual persons. Try to focus on your community and not on presenting random problems from the whole country (for example: Since the issue of unemployment is present throughout BiH, even in our municipality ...).

Working groups documents

Working groups should prepare the following:

  1. Analysis of the state of affairs
  2. Youth problems in the area of ​​interest to the working group
  3. Classification of problems according to their importance and urgency
  4. Action plan for the area of interest to the working group

1. Analysis of the state of affairs

Indicate, at the very beginning, the current state of affairs in the municipality, concerning the area of interest to your working body.

When looking for solutions to the problems, in order to keep the current state of affairs, i.e. the resources we already have at our disposal, in our mind, it is necessary to gather information about the resources that are related to your working group. Therefore, a working group on sport and culture will be collecting the following information: the number of associations, services and institutions operating in the field of sport and culture, the number of the existing sports fields and those undergoing a construction phase, the number of sporting and cultural events, the number of funds which are being spent, human resources, the number of users, a future tendency (e.g. if the trend towards sporting and cultural activities is on the rise or fall), including additional pieces of information if they are relevant to this respective area.

It is desirable to use tables if possible in order to make the presented data user-friendly.


2. Youth problems in the area of interest to the working group

Elicit all the needs and problems related to your working group, from a conducted research. Moreover, list even the remaining ones if you think they have not been covered by the research results but which are present in your municipality. Since you are dealing with the activities related to this area, you have enough information about the situation on the field. Problems should be clearly and precisely defined, for example:

- Young people (94% of girls and 90% of boys surveyed) spend most of their free time watching television.


- 87% of the young respondents believe that their chance to participate within a governmental authority is zero or small.


- 75% of the respondents are not socially engaged, and 61% believe that when joined, young people can best determine their needs and concerns.

If the problem is not taken from the research, you can define it in the same way, only without specifying a percentage.


3. Classification of problems according to their importance and urgency

The following step is to sort the needs and the problems in a table (see below) according to their urgency and importance. The document that you are developing will be available to the broader public, thus briefly explain your sorting pattern so that those who will be reading the strategy can understand your decision.

Give a detailed explanation of the problems you have identified as important and urgent. Describe a (possible) cause of problems and shortcomings, by linking them, if possible, with demographics research data.

4. Action plan for the area of interest to the working group

The action plan represents a table in which the mentioned problems, desired results, activities, time frame, costs and persons responsible for their implementation (see below) are displayed.

Finally, you can (e.g. in the form of footnotes) indicate additional explanations and remarks about the table.

Youth Strategy under the Youth Law of FBiH

The Youth Law prescribes the youth strategy development, adoption, implementation and the corresponding monitoring at all levels of FBiH government, including the municipal level.

Let us highlight articles of the Youth Law of FBiH concerning a youth strategy and youth programmes as part of the strategy.

Article 4

Definition

''Youth strategy'' means the document of government institutions on programme approach to youth activities, including defined youth problems and needs, strategic orientation, strategic aims and measures for the implementation of strategic goals.

Let us interpret Article 4 at the level of local context:

"Document of governmental authority": The municipal authority has the obligation to develop, adopt and monitor implementation of this document.

- "with a programme based approach to young people's actions": A youth strategy shall incorporate developed programmes for each area, such as education, health, employment, social care, active participation of youth in society, youth leisure (culture, sports, arts ...) and the like.

- "includes defined problems and needs of young people": Upon developing documents it is important to rely on the problems and needs of young people, which have been identified in the course of a previously conducted survey.

- "includes strategic courses of action": Municipal authority shall determine the strategic orientation of youth that shall be followed in all areas of administrative authority.

- "includes goals of the strategy": Goals of the strategy are the goals we strive to reach during the enforcement of the strategy to solve problems and meet the needs of youth identified in the course of a conducted research.

- "includes measures for the realisation of the goals of the strategy": We have indicated that the strategy contains a programme based approach to youth. In order to achieve the goals, it is necessary for each programme that is for the field to define clear measures and activities that will directly affect the resolution of problems and fulfilment of young people's needs.

Article 6

All government levels in the Federation shall, in compliance with their competences, hold public debates and consultations with the participation of representatives from youth councils in the process of adoption of [ ... ] a youth strategy.

Article 14

Municipal, city and cantonal authorities shall independently ensure minimum measures related to youth work and youth activity plans, as well as mechanisms and capacities that include:

 

[…] establishing a competent working body for drafting, update and monitoring of implementation of local and cantonal youth strategies, which shall also include representatives from youth councils or youth associations;

research or research support with the aim of adoption of a youth strategy;

Article 25

The youth strategy […] shall be defined, adopted and implemented based on research on youth needs and problems.

Article 26

The youth programme as referred to in Paragraph 2 of Article 25 shall define: 

-     programme goals that have to be specific, adequate, measurable, achievable and suitable for monitoring;

-       programme implementation activities;

-       institutions in charge of programme implementation;

-       general financial, material, spatial and other requirements for programme implementation;

-       youth needs and problems identified based on expert research;

-       manner of motivating youth for voluntary participation in youth sector activities;

-       supervision and monitoring of success of programme implementation.

Article 38

A youth council shall directly participate in the process of drafting and implementation of youth strategies at the relevant level with the aim of contributing to the adoption and implementation of youth policy and youth programmes that meet youth needs and issues in the best possible way.

Article 40

A legal person will be punished with a fine varying between BAM 1,500.00 and 15,000.00 if:

[...] government bodies do not ensure minimum measures for youth work and youth activities, and mechanisms and capacities for the purposes of this law, in compliance with Article 14 [...];

The legal person defined as responsible will also be punished [...] with a fine varying between BAM 200.00 and 3,000.00.

A physical person shall also be punished [...] with a fine varying between BAM 150.00 and 1,500.00.

We have already indicated that Article 14 defines a youth strategy as one of the measures municipal authorities are obliged to ensure.

Article 42 

The competent authorities of the Federation, cantons and municipalities shall have the right to expand the definition of the youth age [...] up to 35 years of age in case of youth programmes related to employment, housing, education, IT and communication technologies, foreign language study, additional training or re-training, and other issues when the authorities consider it necessary.

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