5 Takeaways from the International Inclusion Youth Event
By Aisling Maloney, Irish Delegate
Twenty-four youth delegates from twelve National Youth Councils throughout Europe came together in Dublin recently for an international youth event where they could share best practices on inclusion within their organisations. Over the weekend, we were fortunate to be joined by Fidelma Joyce from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, MEP Maria Walsh, and UN Youth Delegate Mohammad Naeem. Through training activities, brainstorming sessions, and workshops on inclusion in youth participation, we also developed a report with recommendations which we later shared at a European Youth Forum event. Here are some things that we learned from the weekend!
1. We All Have Our Own Story
Nobody has the exact same journey as someone else, and that’s amazing! By learning from each other’s stories and experiences, we can broaden our own understanding of the world and develop our ability to take action on the issues which are affecting young people across Europe. The weekend gave our young people the chance to come together in a safe, welcoming space where they could talk to each other about their journeys and why they believe inclusion is central in the work that they do.
2. Collaboration is Essential!
The outcomes of the weekend wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and enthusiasm of every young person and youth worker who attended the event. There are many issues that young people are facing here in Ireland which we have experience in dealing with and can share our knowledge and best practices on. Likewise, there are many countries around Europe that are facing issues which we haven’t yet come across. By coming together, we can learn from each other and figure out the best ways in which we can ensure that inclusion is at the centre of the work that we do.
3. The Importance of Intersectionality
The weekend really highlighted how different areas of inclusion can intertwine with one another. If we want to truly understand these issues, then we need to take a multifaceted approach to inclusion and look at how factors such as accessibility, gender, geography, socio-economic status, religion and ethnical background can impact one another. They can play a huge role in how a young person participates and engages with a topic or activity, so we need to understand them if we want to support that young person to the best of our ability.
MEP Maria Walsh meets International Inclusion Youth Event participants.
4. Communication is Key
One topic that we talked about quite a bit was dissemination (the spreading of information). Over the weekend, we realised that if we want to ensure inclusion within our work, then we need to make our communication accessible as well. To do this, we need to understand our audience and consider both their needs and preferences. By doing so, we can then develop clear, concise, and engaging content that shows our message on platforms such as social media, websites, newsletters and more.
5. Inclusion is a Marathon, not a Sprint
This is a quote from the workshop on inclusion which we facilitated at the European Youth Forum event which really sums up the overall message of the weekend. Drastic changes won’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take small steps in a long journey. We are planting the seeds today in the hope that someday, young people from different backgrounds will have the opportunity to thrive in whichever paths they choose.