The Maltese government wanted to introduce the new youth policy. Writing a political strategy is a complex process taking place in existing political framing. So how do can you open up a complex and, at times, contested political process like this for youth to participate in.
The first step is to understand the object youth policy and how it drafted. In the case of the Maltese youth policy, three things needed to be considered: The policy document was already well-developed in 2020 and comprehensive with regards to its strategic goals. Significant changes were unlikely at that point in the process.
Nevertheless, it lacked specific proposals for actions. Hence, there was little room for participation with regards to strategic goals, but a real need for ideas for the implementation.
So how did the Agenzija Zghazagh manage to gather 150 reviews and concrete suggestions for actions to the youth policy?
The key was a twofold complementary approach:
Agenzija Zghazagh organised three offline focus groups with the help of existing contacts to schools and youth organisations to collect ideas for specific actions and spread information about the project. The text review tool (LINK) on OPIN made it possible to comment on the strategy and add ideas for activities online.With this module it is possible to divide long texts into small, consumable bites. Each text section can be commented on and discussed. This makes it easier to agree on specific content and stay on topic.
Agenzija Zghzagh created a dedicated project for each strategic goal. The projects started one after another to keep the focus on one strategic goal at the time. As a result of the participation, the youth policy and the planned actions reflect the needs and interests of young people more strongly because young people were involved in generating ideas on how to implement the proposed planned actions. Approaching youth through focus groups, social media channels and direct conversations was the basis for online participation.
The results of the project were presented in person to the Maltese Minister for Inclusion and
Social Wellbeing Hon. Julia Farrugia Portelli:
“During the public consolation process, the young people submitted over 150 reviews about the youth policy. The next is to include these ideas in the final youth policy document. We are bound to continue promoting the young people’s ideas.”
But the work has just started. The policy awaits implementation. Youth can participate in this
through offered consultations every three months.