Sweet 16, Never been ... to Vote!

Dingli Local Council

Title: Sweet 16, Never been … to Vote!
Organization: Dingli Local Council
Activity Dates: 01/11/2009 – 01/07/2010
Partner Group: Malta, Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey
Number of Maltese Participants: 0
Country: Malta

The project focused mostly on two of the priorities of the Youth in Action Programme: those of “promoting young people’s active citizenship” in general and enhancing their “European citizenship”. These were achieved by making young people deal actively with the democratic issue of the voting age limit. The promotion of cooperation ultimately started materialising the minute the participants had all the youths brought together in Malta.

This project had a number of objectives, such as increasing awareness on European citizenship and what this really means by giving them the opportunity to speak. The project allowed the youths to actually feel like European citizens, and to promote the importance of citizenship education within the youth segment by speaking about lowering the voting age. This generated awareness with their youth counterparts and the general public and thus this project created citizenship education. This project also generated awareness on the importance of politics and voting.

With regards to the theme and the interest and needs of the participants, youths were given the opportunity to be part of such a democratic process and to actively see what is happening within their own respective countries. They were also given the opportunity to discuss with their counterparts from other countries. Having youths under the age of 18 was vital and it proved to be successful as they gave their views and thus allowed the others to understand how they feel within this democratic process.

Lastly, when dealing with the issue of social and personal development of the participants, this objective was reached, as for many it was their first experience in such a project, and therefore their participation in such a multicultural environment allowed them to experience new things, open their minds on new concepts, and also to create new relationships on an international level. Therefore this project did achieve this, and this was felt and seen on the last day in the final ceremony where youths were presented with a certificate of participation. Participants claimed that the project contained a very important learning process. “We feel that after achieving this project and seeing it to its completion, we have the courage and are definitely interested in writing other projects in the immediate future.”

Ultimately, this will once again create a circle and benefit the local community both on a short term and long term basis. This relationship in itself contributes significantly towards the participation of young people in democratic affairs!

Target group: The project was mostly directed towards people between 16 to 18 years, but the project included also people of age 19 to 25 years as well.

About the beneficiary: The Local Council for Dingli, which is a small town situated in the north-west of Malta with a population of around 4,000 inhabitants. It is the most rural area on the whole island, being a locality having one of the biggest numbers of people working in the rural sector.