Decision making – youth active participation

Written by Ksenija Martinovic
Montenegro, September 2016

Everyone wants to be asked when the big decisions should be made. Even if it’s a small one decision, such as „should I wear this or that“ sometimes it requires consultation and involvement of our surrounding.Then why around the half percent of the population, people who are under 30, are often excluded from decision making process?

Shouldn't we, as young people, have a chance to raise our voice in issues that direct concern us? Shouldn’t we be able to participate in decision-making process?
Yeah, I know that one part of the world still struggle with getting the basic needs and rights, but what is happening in the countries where social-economic conditions meets the basic needs and rights, which are led by democratic values? Even researches and studies indicated the positive contribution of the youth to the various organization and its functioning. Youth bring energy, fresh perspectives, knowledge of young people, and a sense of community in more diverse ways.

And indeed, today, adults, our governments and other stakeholders started including youth. This inclusion often seems like ceremonial as “youth should be seen”. However, let’s say that we got enormous progress. But in order to get the real positive outcomes, it is needed harder work.
We have legislative support, recognition of youth as a category, law support for initiatives led by youth, national strategies and so on. Now it is our turn. Let’s take it. First of all, we should know enough about the system – how it works, and how we can influence it. This will help us in finding the right approach model and with the right information we are unstopped. Secondly, we should point out the problems and possible solutions, and raise our voice. Third, we should get support from our surrounding - friends, peers, etc. By getting support you could create a team and together start working on the issues that direct influence you.

I am sure that right now there are numerous issues in which you are interested in and you want to take part. Anyway, if its affect you, you should be involved. That’s how democracy works. So let’s try it now. Start with the steps and don’t give up on the first obstacle – be persistent! Any initiative could be very challenging and it will take time.

At the end, decision-makers maybe do not include you(th) in the decision-making process. Therefore, do not wait for invitation - tell them what you are thinking anyway. Does it hurt? No. Does it make you feel better? Yes. Is that going to change anything? Maybe not, but at least you should try. You done the minimum and sometimes the biggest changes are made by voice raising.