Osallisuus nyt! Participation now!

Our International training seminar “Osallisuus nyt! Participation now! – Respecting Diversity, Discovering Equality, Celebrating Participation” took place from 23rd till 30th of May 2018 in Turku, Finland.

Within this theme we looked at the need for rethinking concepts for participation in the present political and economic climate and how the current youth work practice and conditions in local communities offer genuine participation in diversity for the empowerment of young people.

This activity was hosted by two Finnish e.p.a network partners from Turku; Turun ensi- ja turvakoti ry and Globaalinuoret ry.

The activity searched for ways to support youth and community initiatives in disadvantaged communities in their efforts to respect and include the participation needs of young people from different backgrounds by creating equal access, opportunities and welcoming climate.

This one-week seminar is a mix of theoretical, interactive and practical sessions, working with methods of playful non-formal learning and always in a spirit of intercultural learning and mutual understanding, stressing the contributions of young participants from 24 countries.

“All crazy – all equal”

In an educational center “Kunstenniemi”, embraced by green forests and the blue Baltic Sea, a group of 30 youth activist and youth workers from 22 countries gather together for a workshop to learn about Human Rights and Participation.

In the beginning of the workshop the participants receive a task to translate the sentence “all different, all equal” in their mother tongue. The slogan of the former Human Rights campaign of Council of Europe still brings together important aspects of the seminar topic “participation in diversity”. Now it is the turn of three Arabic-speaking participants to present their translation. Moad from Malta holds the paper in the air, Tasnim from Tunisia starts to read. Her reading soon changes over to laughing: ”We forgot one letter in the word “different”. Now it means “all crazy, all equal!”. Soon the slogan becomes the playful motto of the seminar.

Indeed, many of the participants often feel “crazy” when trying to continue their important projects under very challenging circumstances in their disadvantaged areas and regions. And exactly therefore the training week was so meaningful. It was a valuable opportunity to learn with and from each other and to be filled up with energy and motivation when seeing that there are people in other countries with similar visions of youth participation and of solidary civil society. “Maybe we are crazy but we are in a very good company,” Moad summarizes.

The intensive programme with interactive and playful workshops supported both the process of growing together as a group and the work on the topic “Participation, Diversity, Equality”. During the week these three big words from the project title became more and more connected as a lively concept. The question of “a part of what?” received a central role in this debate. We learnt that in some languages the word participation can be translated in two ways; as well as the meaning of being active and participate but also to belonging to and being a part of something. And this made sense for us! To increase and improve youth participation, young people need to be clear enough of what they are a part of – and feel sincerely respected in their efforts and belonging. This is where the work of youth and civil society organisations starts, by creating a climate and trust for this process.


Preparatory Work

Jonna from e.p.a. interviews the preparation team of the Finland Seminar in February in Turku:

Omar, Tatu, Tuuli and Konstantina – You are now together in Finland as a project team preparing the international training seminar Osallisuus nyt! Participation now!, Respecting diversity, discovering equality, celebrating participation” which takes place later in the year in May in Turku. How are you now in the last day of your meeting?

Tatu: We are getting everything together very nicely. We had some challenges with logistic but they are clarified now. I feel very enthusiastic.

Konstantina:. I feel excited! The days went so quickly and were so creative. It was a real pleasure to participate in the organising of this seminar. I feel really calm and I look forward!

Omar: I am also delighted and very satisfied with the topic and methods of the workshops.

Tuuli: This is my first experience with e.p.a. and I feel very happy! Our time together has gone very fast but we have been very productive.

“Participation now!” What is the activity in May exactly about?

Tatu: We will discuss about participation in diversity. How to respect the needs of different young people? How to create a good climate, which enables the equal participation of all young people?

Konstantina: And we will do that all using many playful non-formal methods and developing new practices, which can be shared with others.

Omar and Konstantina: For both of you this is your first time in Finland. What has been the biggest surprise or a nicest thing for you so far?

Omar: Sauna! I love it! And Tatu and Tuuli have been such nice hosts!

Konstantina: I agree! And I like the city itself and the nature in Kunstenniemi, where our seminar takes place. I am curious to see, how the landscape will be so different in May, when the spring comes.

What would you like to show to the participants about Finland? What can they look forward to experiencing?

Tatu: The Finnish nature! We had found a really nice venue for the seminar, which brings together all best parts of Finland. And by the way Omar, of course we have a sauna there too!

Tuuli: The town of Turku is beautiful too, where we will spend the last two days of our seminar. And there are many nice organisations and good people working in the field of youth, we can look forward to meeting them. You are cordially welcome to Turku in May!

Programme of our seminar

Leaflet of our seminar


This project is funded by
the European Youth Foundation
of the Council of Europe